I went to school at the University of Miami, where I double majored in sport administration and journalism. During my last semester I took a sports reporting class, which was every bit as amazing as you'd imagine it to be. The professor that teaches the class is a sports writer for the Miami Herald (Michelle Kaufman. Look her up, she's awesome), which means she has all sorts of connections in the sports world, which means she gets her classes some really cool assignments. Not only did we cover Miami Hurricanes teams for class assignments, but we also covered a Miami Heat game, the Sony Open tennis tournament, and a Miami Marlins game.
At the Marlins game, someone from the PR department spoke with our class about getting jobs in the industry, and that talk completely freaked me out. At that point I was still looking for a job after graduation, and hadn't had any interviews or anything, so I was already in panic mode. As we made our way up to the press box to get settled in for the game, it felt like there was an elephant sitting on my chest. But lo and behold, when I opened my laptop, I discovered I had an email from someone at USA Volleyball; they wanted to interview me for the post-grad internship I'd applied for.
Needless to say, I was over the moon. The rest of that evening was fantastic: the Marlins won, I kicked butt on my story, and all was well.
In fact, I did so well on that story that when MLB.com needed a writer to cover a Cubs vs. Marlins series a few weeks later, the job ended up in my lap. Seriously. And funnily enough, the first game I covered was on the same day as my USA Volleyball job interview. Both were entirely awesome, but I'm surprised I didn't develop an ulcer from the stress.
Not long after, I found myself back at Marlins Park yet again, this time as a spectator with my friend Christina. They were playing the Mets, and Christina (who covers the Marlins for all sorts of news outlets) was friendly with the Mets' new catcher, John Buck, from the time he spent with the Marlins. The Mets had acquired Buck in the same trade that sent R.A. Dickey to the Blue Jays, which I was still completely bitter about. Long story short, Christina had told him about my bitterness, he joked that he'd have to prove his worth to me, and then went on an unbelievable hitting tear. So we went to this game in an attempt to introduce me to John Buck. Christina caught his attention while he was warming up in the outfield, and we actually did chat briefly! He pointed out that I wasn't wearing a Mets shirt -- the only one I had with me in Miami was Dickey's, and it would've just been too painful -- and said he guessed he'd just have to do more! (And he did. Got a few big hits in that game, if I remember correctly. LOL, the dude was magical, I swear.)
Anyway, while we were at the game, I checked my phone and noticed that I had a missed call and voicemail from a number with the Colorado Springs area code. It had to be USA Volleyball. Internally, I cursed a massive blue streak and put my phone away; if it was bad news, I didn't want to get upset in a public place. And it's not like I'd be returning their call from a baseball game either way!
As soon as I got home that afternoon, I listened to that voicemail. It was USA Volleyball offering me the internship. And I sat down on the floor and cried a little bit.
So, baseball may not be why this is my favorite baseball memory (ironic), but I will always associate my volleyball internship (and, therefore, the start of my career) with baseball. And I've definitely got some really good juju going on in Marlins Park. :)