Over the weekend not only was I lucky enough to be able to attend Winter Warm-Up for the first time, but I was able to attend as credentialed media. This meant I was able to sit in on all the interviews (and ask questions if I had been brave enough), meet some members of the Cardinals and St. Louis sports media (which was a great experience), and attend all the elements of Winter Warm-Up. I was able to do this entirely because Daniel Shoptaw, perhaps better known as C70 on Twitter and at Cardinals Conclave, passed my info on to the Cardinals. I think you all will particularly enjoy his Exit Interview series he does at the end of every year where he evaluates how members of the Cardinals organization have done each season. He does great work and is a wonderful person and I would not have had this opportunity without him!
I was very excited about being able to access the media room, but also quite nervous as well. Of course I immediately got lost — since this was my first time with media access I did not know where I was supposed to go, so instead of going through the media entrance I went through the regular admission gate and walked around the Winter Warm-up vender area. There were some neat things — I could have gotten my picture taken in the virtual reality thing, they had a vender giving away Hi-Chew, a vender with a bunch of bobbleheads for sale and I of course had to sneak a peek, and the team store had some cool t-shirts for $10 that I grabbed. I was on a mission to find the media room though, so I marched on and eventually found my way there.
I was worried about getting in the way of the professionals, but everyone was immediately so nice. I saw Kyle Reis, the excellent prospect writer for Birds on the Black (you can follow him on Twitter @kyler416) that I have wanted to meet for awhile and sat next to him. He was so kind and really helped me navigate the weekend, which I extremely appreciate. I was able to meet Benjamin Hochman from the St. Louis Post Dispatch. I believe John and I had him the Viva El Birdos podcast years ago, but I was able to introduce myself in person and he was extremely nice. I had met Jeff Jones of the Belleville News Democrat before so I was glad to see a familiar face and he helped me out with the WiFi. My nerves were not completely settled, but it was such a friendly environment and it was a joy to watch everyone work in their element.
Someone I was really looking forward to seeing work was Katie Woo from The Athletic. She immediately had such a great presence when she began covering the Cardinals for the Athletic back in 2019 and that definitely translates in person as well. She does great work as we all know — that is why she is the NSMA Missouri Sportwriter of the Year — and in part I think that is a natural talent and charisma, but also solid preparation and knowledge of the sport and industry.
MISSOURI— NSMA Sports Media (@NSMASportsMedia) January 9, 2023
SPORTSCASTER OF THE YEAR
SPORTSWRITER OF THE YEAR@katiejwoo
As far as actual baseball content, I was able to record John Mozeliak, Tink Hence, Michael McGreevy, Connor Thomas, Brendan Donovan, Oli Mármol, Ryan Helsey, Drew VerHagen, Willson Contreras, Bill DeWitt Jr. and Bill DeWitt III, Jack Flaherty, Miles Mikolas, Jordan Walker, and Paul DeJong. I also have little bit from Nolan Arenado, but I unfortunately had to leave early on Sunday and missed Adam Wainwright and Paul Goldschmidt, about which I am extremely disappointed. A few themes I noticed in these interviews were:
- Jack Flaherty’s return
- The emergence of Tink Hence, Masyn Winn, and Jordan Walker
- The adjustments to the new rules
- Adam Wainwright’s final year
Throughout the week I plan on digging into all these further and I would like to perhaps write up the full transcripts to some of these interviews — like Mozeliak and the DeWitts, particularly — if that is something that would be of interest to anyone let me know in the comments!
The weekend was an experience I will treasure and if I am asked back next year I hope to have taken what I have learned and cover it even better for you all. Thank you all for reading and supporting Viva El Birdos by reading — without you I would not have been able to do this either!