So I’m Moving…

by mikecouzens on February 9, 2011

“You’re doing what?”

“Moving where?”

I’m moving to Dayton, Ohio.

Starting in March, I’ll be doing play by play and media relations for the Dayton Dragons of the Midwest League.

I think that news came as a shock to a lot of people that I know—not because of what I’ll be doing, but rather where I’ll be going.

Downtown Dayton, Ohio

Lots of 20-something people have grandiose dreams of working in New York, L.A., or Chicago. Heck what about a beachfront environment like Miami or San Diego? Those are all fantastic places, I’m sure, but I’m really excited for where I’m headed—the Midwest.

I’ve only been to Ohio a few times in my life, and all of those trips have involved sports. I went three times over the last several years. Once to Athens, Ohio for a Syracuse-Ohio University women’s basketball game. The other two trips were to Cincinnati for a basketball game and then a football game—both Syracuse related.

Most of the people I know, are from the Northeast and stake a claim to cities like New York, Boston, or Philadelphia. Very rare is it that you hear someone proudly announce they’re from Katonah, Newton or Radnor. However, I am proud to say I’m from White Plains, New York.

Syracuse to New York to Dayton

One of the things I’m excited about is to be a part of a community in a city that counts everyone as a unique individual, rather than a number. Not to say I’m going to a place where everybody knows your name…but you get the point.

I really had a great time doing that in Syracuse over the past three and a half years. Whether it was showing up to the Dome and seeing the same security guard who I had become friends with as a freshman during my time as a manager for the basketball team, or walking out onto the field at Alliance Bank Stadium every day during baseball season and chatting up the grounds crew, there’s something to be said for familiarity. It makes everyone feel more comfortable, and makes relationships more open and genuine.

Carrier Dome - Alliance Bank Stadium

Soon I’ll be going to a city where nobody knows who I am, and it’s going to be a lot of fun.

One of the best parts, if not the best part, of journalism is getting to meet new people, hear new stories and see new places. Very few jobs even grant the opportunity to leave a desk during an 8-hour period, and this profession allows people to travel all over the world.

Part of what I’m doing to learn about where I’m going is reading—and lots of it. In addition to my daily news reading routine of my hometown paper, The Post-Standard from Syracuse and The New York Times, I’ve now added the Dayton Daily News. I also check out the local TV news stations to see what they’ve got going on too. I might have a GPS, but that only tells me where I’m headed, not anything about those places.

In addition, I’ve begun following a ton of new Twitter accounts like all of the local media outlets, and every other team in the Midwest League. I think it’s gonna take me a while to get used to that frog popping up on my feed.

Side Note: Doesn’t it weird you out when people change their picture on Twitter? It was difficult for me to change my own picture a few weeks back!

As for the baseball side of things, I’ve picked up a bunch of reading material.

My Gossip Girl collection is just out of the frame...

I’m currently entrenched in the Baseball America Prospect Handbook and The Machine by Joe Posnanski. I met Joe this past summer during the whole Stephen Strasburg tour while we were in Rochester. Having dinner with him, my then broadcast partner Jason Benetti, Washington Post photographer Jonathan Newton, and Post baseball writer Dave Sheinin was a real treat. It also led me to the conclusion that the Rochester Dinosaur BBQ is far superior to the Syracuse Dino. Sorry Salt City.

One of the most intriguing parts of working in baseball and working for a new team the immersion into that system. Last year working for the Syracuse Chiefs the task was learning about the Nationals, and this year working with the Dragons, it’s learning all about the Reds. Not just the Reds of today, but more importantly the Reds of tomorrow. Oh, and I can’t forget the Reds of yesterday as well.

Growing up as a Mets fan, I heard about it the team on the radio, and from my friends, and my family. It was easy to find out a lot about the team without having to do any research. But being from New York, you don’t run into many Reds fans. So now it’s part of my routine to make the Reds a part of my life. Twitter, blogs, newspapers, books—you name it and I’m on it. After all, I am going to Reds country. It’s important to know that some people think Joey Votto signed too short of a contract, and to be able to debate how long Billy Hamilton will stay in the minor leagues.

While I spent two summers on Cape Cod living and working there, and spent even more time in Syracuse, this experience will be different. I’d been to Cape Cod for every summer of my life and was familiar with it. Syracuse was my college town, where real life seems to be put on hold for four years, and so this will be fun, invigorating, and different. A new place, new people, new apartment, new team—but baseball will still be the same. People say college is where you come out of your shell a bit, and I agree. But you’re still tethered to where you came from and you still return home for ‘break.’ That’s not longer the case.

Few things excite me more than something new, and that’s what I see ahead of me.

Fifth Third Field in Dayton

As Bart Scott famously said: “Can’t wait!”

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I’d like to hear from you. You can reach me via the contact pageTwitter, or Facebook.

Thanks for stopping in.

Mike

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