There was one problem coming into my 10-week internship with the Dawson Springs Progress: I didn't like baseball, and I was being asked to cover the Tradewater Pirates, a summer collegiate baseball program in town.
So much has changed in just a few weeks.
The Progress, a weekly, allowed me to start a blog (http://trapirates.wordpress.com) about the team, and it instantly took off. So did a new interest in baseball for me. The Pirates play 48 games during the summer — that's before the playoffs — and already over halfway in, I can't believe it's almost over.
I Tweet the games for parents to follow, update every day, add notes before games and list the lineups. In print, I've also written a weekly column and designed the sports pages.
The community has embraced the coverage, as have the parents of players who come from more than 15 different states to play in Dawson Springs. All in all, the experience has been a little better than I expected walking into a town of 3,000 people as a Louisville, Ky., native.
It seems like everybody knows everybody in Dawson Springs, which has a Dairy Queen, a few locally owned restaurants (Miss Becky's Place being the best), a couple gas stations and one four-way stop. The town is also the home of Riverside Park, a reconstruction of a former Pittsburgh Pirates training site from the early 1900s.
It's safe to say that Riverside — which has all-wooden bleachers, gravel-floored dugouts and a sense of baseball purity I've never witnessed — has been a good place to cover Tradewater baseball this summer.
My experience at the Progress has me hoping to cover baseball again next summer. Or really any sport. It's still what I want to do, and I feel like I've expanded my knowledge of beat reporting on anything by covering baseball nearly every day and blogging to a small but interested community.
I've covered things besides the Pirates — like the premiere of an independent film, a city council meeting and a charity bicycle ride for example. But baseball is what brought me here, and in leaving, it's what I want to do.
Surprising for someone who fell asleep thinking about baseball just a few months ago.