Joe knows sportswriting

Joe Torre has pointed out repeatedly in recent days that he understands we have a tough job right now, finding ways to fill space in the paper at what even Joe admitted is a “boring” period of camp. Things should liven up considerably in the next couple of days, though, as the position players arrive and things start to take off. As great as Dodgertown is, one of the things that makes it tough from a writer’s perspective, especially early in camp, is that it is so spread out that you can’t possibly monitor everything that is going on on every field. When I covered the Reds a few years ago, their entire spring-training facility, stadium and all, was confined to a single plot of land about one mile by one-half mile over on the Gulf Coast in Sarasota. There was nothing special or charming about it. The back fields consisted of one of those four-diamond, cloverleaf setups. But while it was all very antiseptic, it was easy to simply climb the stairs to the second-floor observation deck in the middle and observe the goings-on of all four fields. Here, there are a lot of places we need to be at various times, and some of those are nowhere near each other. What I generally try to do during the workout is hang out near the area where pitchers are throwing side sessions (they call it the old strings area, for reasons you might already know and that I’m not going to take the time to get into if you don’t). That’s also where most of the coaches and front-office officials can be found, and a lot of my job is simply chatting up those folks, building relationships with them and culling whatever information I possibly can. I admit that I don’t spend a lot of time watching PFP over on Field 2 or bunting practice in the indoor cages, but somehow, I don’t think I’m missing much.

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