Column: My trip to Phoenix to cover the D-backs

Throughout my career as a sports writer, I have covered a wide variety of different sports at the high school and collegiate level. While those experiences have proved valuable, getting the opportunity to attend a professional sporting event as a journalist was always on my to-do list.

I accomplished that goal last Sunday when I made the drive to Phoenix to cover the Arizona Diamondbacks’ game against the Washington Nationals.

The first step in the journey was getting approved for a credential by the D-backs Media Relations Department. I wasn’t sure how it would go considering Kingman isn’t necessarily on the Phoenix radar. Those doubts quickly vanished after I received an email with instructions on applying for a credential.

With that taken care of, I knew I was well on my way to achieving my goal.

On game day, I arrived at Chase Field around 10:30 a.m. and found the elevator to the press box. However, I made the rookie mistake of staying in the press box when I should have known everyone would be down in the clubhouse. Despite the error, I took advantage of the opportunity to wander around and take in the overall experience.

As first pitch neared, my excitement level increased as I looked forward to the game. Adding to the anticipation was the fact that I would see former San Diego State pitcher Stephen Strasburg on the mound for the Nationals.

Unfortunately, Strasburg was pulled from the game after two innings as a precaution. While other clubs usually disclose injury information, I quickly discovered that the Nationals don’t tell the media until after the game is over.

Nevertheless, I quickly shifted my focus back to the game and watched Washington’s bullpen hold off Arizona. As the game entered the ninth inning, I decided it was time to introduce myself to one of the members of the media relations department.

Luckily for me, I found the right person in Casey Wilcox, and he helped out tremendously. Not only did he provide courtesy photos we could use in the Miner, but he was also friendly.

Once the game was over, a 6-2 loss for the D-backs, I had the difficult task of getting quotes from both Arizona and Washington. I knew D-backs skipper Torey Lovullo was the most important, and I wanted to find out why Strasburg was pulled from the game. Luckily for me, I was able to attend Lovullo’s postgame press conference and then hurried down the tunnel to get information from Strasburg in the team’s locker room.

Prior to the Strasburg interview, I experienced the locker-room atmosphere that I had always wondered about. It was just as expected with loud music blaring over the speakers and half-clothed athletes packing up their stuff to catch a bus to the airport.

Overall, the entire experience will definitely help in my quest to become a better sports writer, and I plan to make a few more trips down to Phoenix to cover the D-backs.

On a side note, my friend, Sarah Feichtel, and her parents, Jennifer and Joe, made my trip down south feel more like home. Thanks for your hospitality – including the beer and homemade spaghetti.