Sunday, April 7, 2024

A New First For This Media Man

BY SCOTT MORGANROTH

In a year where everything I write is likely heading to the second part of “Lessons From The Microphone,” what happened on Saturday April 6, 2024 at Chase Stadium was a First For Me.

During the pandemic in 2020, when I started covering the Miami Marlins, I used to kick myself in the rear-end because I regretted not taking Spanish in High School or College. The Media Availability was broken down into two parts, English and Spanish.

I’m thinking, geez, how much good information am I missing because I don’t understand Spanish?

Well if I had another reason to satirize myself for this very reason, then my return to covering Inter-Miami Football Club of MLS topped the Marlins act. It wasn’t even close to the first time.

It’s one thing to be shut out because there isn’t enough time to ask the newsmaker a question. 

On this night, I was shut out for a much different reason. 

Senior Manager of Communications Rafael Cabrera is one of the fairest people that I’ve ever worked with. 

Due to medical reasons, I wasn’t around this team but what made my return on April 6th, Cabrera and VP of Communications Molly Dreska welcomed Myself and photographer Candy Ebling back with open arms. It’s always nice to be where you are wanted!

What has changed since I covered the team?

There has been a lot of roster turnover, a coaching change and more importantly, Inter-Miami landed Soccer Legend Lionel Messi. 

They’re able to charge their fans more money because of this generational player. They’re making a lot of money off concessions and merchandise sales. The team will be moving into their new soccer specific stadium that holds 25,000 in Miami at the start of the 2025 season. Also, landing Chase as a sponsor is huge.

Messi made his return to the line-up after spending time on the injured list due to a hamstring injury.

He made his return during the second half vs the Colorado Rapids, a match that turned out to be a 2-2 draw.

Messi’s impact was felt immediately as he scored a goal just 12 minutes into his return as Inter-Miami tied the contest 1-1. He would be involved in the go ahead goal that gave the team a 2-1 lead.

Colorado scored a goal late in the game and came out of South Florida with some points.

Inter-Miami’s record is now 3-2-3 (12 points) in the Eastern Conference while Colorado is 2-2-3 (nine points) in the Western Conference.

But back to the post-game interview with Coach Gerardo Martino.

Inter-Miami beat writer Michelle Kaufman, also, a professor at the University of Miami, brought a lot of her students to cover the game. What she told he students was something I was unaware of.

The entire Press Conference was going to be in Spanish and the Zoom Availability was going to be translated in English.

As I kept attempting to get a question but getting shunned by my colleagues, I’m thinking, I wanted to ask the coach a question about his squad facing Colorado for the first time, how did they prepare and train for this opponent? That opportunity never came.

Afterwards, I asked Cabrera about this and he told me what had taken place and then I quipped with him, I guess after being away for a year and a half, things have changed. We both smiled and took a picture together. It was a light-hearted moment with a guy that’s one of the nicest people in our business.

This guy has a tough job especially since Messi has arrived. 

Inter-Miami is getting with tons of publicity, and media credential requests that it could never have imagined. 

I can only imagine how many e-mails that he’s unable to return these days. But he takes it all in stride and makes the best of it.

As for myself, to have an All-Spanish Press Conference, I couldn’t have ever anticipated that I would ever see in my lifetime. But it goes to show you that when you cover events in the field, anything can happen. And boy did it on this night.

There were two fans that ran on the field to meet Messi, and were arrested and taken into custody. On our way out, Messi had a police escort to leave Chase Stadium.

As for myself, this reminded me of Spring Training and I’ll know this the next time. If this happens again, I’ll have a Plan B so in case this happens again, I’ll be better prepared for it.

In the meantime, it was great to laugh at myself for not taking Spanish in school because when you live in South Florida, you’re in deep trouble without it.

During past press conferences when both languages were used with a player that didn’t know English, Cabrera was there to bail me out. There was no bailing out or an English question to be asked. 

I did accomplish one thing. This will be another story for part two, of “Lessons From The Microphone.”

It’s not all that bad.

I took everything in stride and as a result, the lesson to be learned is turn a negative into a positive.

The coaches Spanish Press Conference is also in this story so check it out.

Who knows what the next First For This Media Man will be. Stay tuned.

Scott Morganroth can be reached at southfloridatribune@gamil.com and you can find him on X @TribuneSouth.

If you want to see his broadcasts, the there is no cost to subscribe to the South Florida Tribune YouTube Channel.

Also, his book, “Lessons From The Microphone” is available at Amazon, Kindle and Barnes & Noble.


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