Wednesday, February 27, 2013

"I've Got A Story And I'm Trying To Tell It Right"

In 2006 SNY was launched and all of a sudden there was Mets coverage out the wazoo, well at least compared to what was there before.  One of the new programs was Kids Clubhouse, a magazine show for kids to learn about the Mets and go behind-the-scenes of many aspects of baseball.  At the time Amanda Cole was the host and every fiber of my being wanted to be in her shoes.

Kids Clubhouse went beyond Mets games.  The episode in Cooperstown lead to a family vacation and a visit to the kids area because I just had to see that room after Amanda made it look so cool.  I wanted to be the one interviewing players and telling David Wright I played "8th base in 3rd grade."  I even remember the bloopers because the second that show started I knew it was what I wanted to do.

Then in 2007, Kevin Burkhardt joined Mets broadcasts.  He took over the role of field reporter and brought all kinds of stories and reports on Mets players and history to the broadcast.  Every time the broadcast would "Check in with Kevin" I knew I wanted to listen.  Every time I found myself wishing I could have been the one to do the research and tell people the anecdotes and information.

That's how I knew I wanted to somehow be the one getting the story.  I wanted to be the one exploring every ballpark and giving the "virtual tour."  I wanted to be the one interviewing Joe Smith on the subway.  I wanted to be sitting in the room listening to press conferences and writing the types of stories Kevin Burkhardt tells.

Writers at the Daily News, and New York Post also took note of Kevin and, for once, he became the story.  Kevin Burkhardt worked his way up to SNY.  And once he got to SNY he never stopped working and he became way more than the regular on-field reporter.

Kevin Burkhardt brings the fans closer to the game than more than anybody else can.  He explains everything from how players started playing baseball to what starting pitchers do between starts.  He shows us the best parts of each road ballpark and the parts of Citi Field fans don't get to see on their own.  He does it all and somehow manages to be so casual with his "back to you, Gare."

Any fan that has met him will tell you he's a class act.  Heck, the fact that a reporter has fans has to say something.  The first time I met him I could only utter "thank you" about 3847 times after taking a picture and he somehow didn't hold that against me during future encounters.  He goes out of his way to talk to fans at games and he always seems genuinely interested in what you have to say.  He's either a really good actor or he actually is one of the coolest people ever.

Lest we forget that he reads every twitter mention he gets and replies to most of them (even the ridiculous ones from me).  Kevin clearly knows how important it is to interact with your audience and it makes every report he does even better.  Who wouldn't like to think they influenced some aspect of their team's coverage (even if it's the ridiculousness that become the influence)?

In the tight-knit Mets community Kevin Burkhardt is one of the biggest celebrities yet he somehow manages to make the "little people" feel important.

Kevin Burkhardt is the best in the business at what he does.  Everything he brings to a broadcast is something I wish I can one day bring to Mets fans and readers.  If I can be half as successful a journalist as Mr. Burkhardt I'll know I did something right.

Kids Clubhouse and Amanda Cole inspired a 6th grader to find her dream.  Kevin Burkhardt kept that dream alive and continues to keep it alive with every report he gives.

Let's Go Mets!

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