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The love, journalism Show hit the road to Cincinnati for this week’s interview, where we caught up with MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian to talk about his sportswriting career and plenty more.
Bastian is in his 18th season on the professional baseball beat and to be quite honest he has one of the many journalism jobs I wanted when I was a kid, covering the Chicago Cubs.
It’s his “dream job” too.
We recorded at a downtown bar in early April during opening week of the brand new 2023 regular season and just a few hours following the postponement of a Cubs-Reds game due to rain. Bastian shared the story of his own path from playing youth baseball to becoming a baseball writer who chronicles one of the sport’s most popular franchises.
In our conversation, Bastian talked about what it’s like to spend an entire year reporting and writing on a single team, from spring training through 162 regular season games and a potentially tense series of post-season playoffs. That’s followed by the winter offseason when players and coaches frequently change cities. Then the whole cycle repeats itself.
Sportswriting has changed a bunch in the digital media age compared to when I was just breaking into the business in the late 90s, at the very end of the print era. Bastian explained how writing about a specific game’s outcome is no longer a top priority for the job. Instead, he often focuses on putting a game, a player, a coach or a moment into context via features and a newsletter.
Bastian described how he balances family life and stays healthy while spending so much time on the road with the Cubs. And he shared some of the advice he gives journalists getting started in their careers: seek criticism, read everything, say yes to assignments others turn down, show initiative and don’t be shy reaching out to people you want to meet.
The Michigan State University graduate watches lots of baseball and revealed a bit about what a beat writer sees on the field as a play develops that the casual fan may miss. Bastian also gave his early take on this season’s new rules, including the pitch clock and runner-on-base to start extra innings.
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