On Wednesday, Aug. 31, four West Chester University students were invited to take part in the first-ever Phillies College Live Reporting from the Field & Press Box Experience at Citizens Bank Park during the Philadelphia Phillies-Washington Nationals gcitiame.
Phillies’ publicity assistant, Lauren Testa, with the help of Phillies’ intern, WCU’s Krissy Kaighn, invited and accompanied fellow WCU students, Nick Cardillo, Annie Margle and Samara Rosenfeld to join select college media students from local universities such as Rowan University, TCNJ University, LaSalle University and Temple University to experience live reporting in and off of the field.
Upon arrival, the group of students met with the host of Comcast’s W.B. Mason Behind the Pinstripes, Scott Palmer, in the Phillies Media Room. There, Palmer, who also acts as the Phillies’ Director of Public Affairs, gave the students essential advice on how to conduct interviews with on-field personnel. Some of his advice included the proper steps to take before stepping foot into the clubhouse, and more importantly, approaching the players or coaches.
“Remain flexible with time and prepare for deviation from your prepared questions. Listen. That’s when you get the best kind of interview,” Palmer advised.
With over 24 years of experience as a WPVI-6ABC sportscaster in Philadelphia, Palmer shared stories of the most memorable, shocking, and most challenging moments in his time as a reporter.
Students later met with the Greg Casterioto, Phillies’ Director of Baseball Communications, behind home plate where he discussed the club’s interactions with the media. Casterioto gave students insight about a day in the life as a member of the media at the ballpark.
Casterioto focused in on his role in regulating the interactions between the press and players. Casterioto also discussed his involvement and leadership in the key events within the baseball community, such as writing press releases and overseeing the Phillies’ social media outlets.
With Palmer’s media training and advice, students were given the opportunity to put the skills they learned into action on-field interviewing a Phillies’ catcher, Cameron Rupp, and coach/ manager Pete Mackanin during batting practice.
In the Q&A session, both Mackanin and Rupp mentioned that first baseman Ryan Howard serves as a mentor for many, whether they are new or experienced players.
“We have a great relationship on and off the field. What I’ll take away from him is how he handles himself, what he does for the community and the money he has donated to help kids that aren’t as fortunate as some.”
Rupp went on to further explain that Carlos Ruiz as well as Chase Utley made a huge impact on him professionally and personally.
“That was hard to see him [Utley] go last year. It felt like my dog died,” said Rupp.
Rupp is excited that he can follow suit and possibly be a mentor for upcoming players.
During dinner in the Press Room, Kenny Ayers, Phillies’ Baseball Communications Representative, accompanied students, where he taught the dos and don’ts of the Press Box.
Students joined members of the media from organizations such as MLB. com and Comcast Sportsnet in the Press Box, where students were given the opportunity to report live on the game.
The Phillies lost against the Nationals 1-2.
The prospective journalists from the Tri-state area returned to the Media Room to observe the post-game press conference with Pete Mackanin. Mackanin expressed his thoughts on the loss, the performance of players this season and possible improvements for the team in their coming games.
Samara Rosenfeld, president of West Chester University Studios, commented on her experience.
“It was amazing to speak with Pete Mackanin and Cam Rupp on the field. Overall, this was an awesome, professional experience that not many college students have the pleasure of taking part in.”
Annie Margle is a fourth-year student majoring in communication studies with a minor in Spanish. She can be reached at AM802063@wcupa.edu.