BY SCOTT MORGANROTH
As a member of the media during the pandemic, my occupation has been turned upside down with the lack of direct access to the newsmakers.
The emergence of Zoom and other teleconference technology made you feel like you had to sit in a classroom and raise your hand if you had a comment or a question. One can only wonder whether this indirect access will be permanent in many instances.
During the summer, my photographer/videographer Candy Ebling and I had the opportunity to go to four Minor League Cities.
Our goal was to do as many remote videos to put on the South Florida Tribune. We did get several videos.
The majority of them occurred with fledgling young broadcasters trying to make it to MLB one day. There were members of the media and team communication personnel that also did videos with us.
As Gene Hackman once said in Hoosiers, “Let’s See What Hand I’ve Been Dealt.”
Three of these trips failed to produce players, managers or coaches.
But the fourth trip took a page from the song title by Vanessa Williams which was “Save The Best For Last” and in a big way!
When people go to Daytona Beach, FL., it’s generally there to see NASCAR Events, take tours of the Daytona International Speedway and visit the Motor Sports Hall of Fame. They also hang out on the beach and motor vehicles are allowed.
Since I’m a Baseball Person, I had another reason to go to this incredible city.
That would be on Friday, August 13 as the Daytona Tortugas hosted the Jupiter Hammerheads (Miami Marlins).
The Daytona Tortugas used to be a member of the Florida State League and currently play in Low-Class A as an affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds. They play at Historic Jackie Robinson Park, just minutes away from the beach. The venue has paraphernalia of Robinson, a statue of Jackie and plaques for this iconic individual.
This is a city that loves it’s baseball and has supported it for years! It’s a bucket list item if you’re a baseball junky!
The main reason we went to Daytona was to do a series of videos about a team that was nearly contracted because MLB was looking to scale down the minor leagues.
Thankfully, the Tortugas were saved and the Charlotte Stone Crabs (Tampa Bay Rays) were eliminated.
Going into this trip, we had low expectations of who we were going to talk to based on what has occurred all summer.
Could Daytona Beach Tortugas Media Relations Coordinator, Justin Rocke do what the others failed and give us the opportunity to gain some top notch content?
YES, YES, YES, YES!
The first person that Rocke delivered was former MLB Shortstop Dick Schofield, who played in the Big Leagues from 1983-1996.
We joked around in our video that as a member of the California Angels, he hit a walk-off grand slam homer against Detroit to give the Angels a 13-12 victory and culminate an eight-run rally in the bottom of the ninth inning.
We had a great time talking about baseball on all levels.
Schofield is one of the Tortugas coaches and the son of former MLB Player Ducky Schofield and the uncle of former outfielder Jayson Werth.
If there was ever a time when we had some good luck, this was it.
Rocke moved swiftly and delivered Tortugas Co-owner Bob Fregolle Jr.
Fregolle Jr. happened to be in town when we were there and once again, Justin wasted no time making this situation happen.
As it turned out, Fregolle Jr. is from Metro Detroit and with us being Michiganders, we knew a lot of the same people. It’s a small world.
The obvious storyline was that Fregolle Jr. was instrumental in convincing Daytona Beach to make upgrades to Jackie Robinson Ballpark and as a result, they remain in the baseball business.
The third interview was even easier to get as it was Rocke’s turn.
It was neat talking about his various stops broadcasting baseball along with other sports, in addition to the announcers he thinks favorably about. Rocke is just a tremendous individual and did such great work that we got all of these interviews by 4:30 ET.
But there was only one problem.
We had to get a hotel because we accomplished so much quickly.
Rocke and Fregolle Jr. took what was a problem and moved quickly to make sure it wasn’t a problem!
Fregolle Jr. called around the area and we landed at the Holiday Inn on Daytona Beach.
What was even better was we paid just $75.00 and got a room that overlooked the beach.
We got so much accomplished that we’ve decided to schedule another trip over Labor Day Weekend.
We also added the Tortugas as a Media Distribution Partner so we can promote their players in Social Media.
I joked around with Rocke that you delivered everybody so there is one more individual to talk to, Tortugas GM Jim Jaworski. He also played a role in keeping the Tortugas on the field.
This is a trip that we’re looking forward to.
But on this trip, during a frustrating period of trying to come up with quality content, at least the title of the story, “Normalcy Existed With The Daytona Tortugas “ was extremely gratifying!
The Tortugas defeated the Hammerheads, 3-0.
Also, it was neat to hang out with a team associated with the Cincinnati Reds since I covered their Florida State League Affiliate, the Tampa Tarpons from 1984-86.
Scott Morganroth can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and you can follow him on Twitter @TribuneSouth. Also, to see his broadcasts, subscribe to The South Florida Tribune You Tube Channel for free.