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San Diego State University, Leadership Starts Here
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Alumni at a luncheon

Joining the Major Leagues

January 15, 2016

Joining the Major Leagues The Braves finally seemed secure with their 8-5 eighth-inning lead against the Marlins.

There were five ties or lead changes in the first five innings, but lefty reliever Andrew McKirahan had eighth-inning duty. He’d been solid since returning from his performance-enhancing-drug suspension.

So my lead was safe, I reasoned, and now I could fine-tune the rest of my 22-inch gamer.

But then McKirahan walked his first batter, Ichiro Suzuki.

Then Adeiny Hechavarria beat out a sacrifice bunt on a defensive miscommunication.

“Oh gosh,” I thought. “It’s going to be one of those innings.”

It was. Five minutes and five batters later, Miami had tied it at 8-8.

Delete, delete, delete, delete, delete. Goodbye, lead.

Earlier that day Ray Cox and Thomas Stinson, two of my editors at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, joked that this game ought to be a blowout already decided in the sixth inning.

“Just watch. It won’t be decided until the very end,” I responded.

Looks like I was right.

I was totally prepared for this, though. During my summer internship with the AJC I primarily served as a Braves beat reporter, aggressively covering the team with pregame notes, pregame features, sidebars, off-day stories, breaking news, immediate web gamers and minor league check-ins.

But tonight I was a one-man band, so I was writing the in-depth gamer along with the immediate web gamer.

My fingers rested millimeters above my keyboard in the bottom of the eighth, ready to crank out a new lead and details about the game’s hero.

Enter Atlanta’s Eury Perez, who singled in the game-winning run with two outs.

All right, it’s go time.

I had four outs to finish my 22 inches. My fingers darted from keyboard to game notes and back. I could hear all my colleagues in the press box frantically typing right along with me and I couldn’t help but crack a smile.

Here I was, a young reporter taking on the entire Braves beat during one of the more hectic home games of the season. I was having the time of my life. I was experiencing exactly what I imagined when I first learned how to be a reporter from professors like Alane Lockwood at San Diego State.

That last out came within seconds, it seemed, and I filed all my content and hustled down to the clubhouse for quotes.

When I returned to my laptop, I noticed a new email from Ray, my head editor.

This email didn’t have any content. Just a five-word subject line.

“Welcome to the major leagues.”

Matt Bain (journalism senior, expected graduation May 2016)
Photo Credit: Kendall Tramell