She’s Talkin’ Baseball! 11 Jul 14

 She’s Talkin’ Baseball!

Stories and Photos by Gordy Jones

Jamie Hersch doing an interview.

 

As Derek Jeter holds a press conference for several dozen media from around the world, you can see in this photo, Jamie Hersch is sitting by his side with a microphone in range.

 If you’ve watched a Twins game this year on Fox Sports North, you have probably seen a young woman with a sparkling smile, who gives reports and updates in between batters and innings. For a few moments, she might even have made you forget that the Twins were losing. In fact, if you watch FSN any time of the day or night lately, you might see this reporter interviewing a player, plugging an upcoming show, or even hosting a sports show. Her name is Jamie Hersch, and she’s from Champlin, Minnesota.

Jamie grew up loving sports — both watching and playing. She played tee-ball, high school softball, and everything in between.  While in high school she had an idea. She had her friend videotape her as she interviewed athletes before and after the games. They would then share the interviews with other students, and they soon became a hit. That’s how Jamie found her niche. Soon she applied to the Journalism School at USC, where she was accepted and got her degree.

Derek Jeter photo by Gordy Jones.

 

Derek Jeter photo by Gordy Jones.

Jamie is in her second year with FSN covering the Twins. She is a lot of fun and very relaxed — but hard-working and professional. She reminds me of a great hitter. Great hitters work extremely hard, putting in extra time behind-the-scenes.  But when the lights go on, they seem relaxed and make a difficult job look easy. Her interviews are smooth and informative. I can tell the players respect her and feel comfortable around her.  

Jamie and I sat down in the Twins’ dugout last week, and I began to ask her a few questions. Immediately I heard a few giggles coming from the guys. One of them said, “That’s different. He’s asking her questions.” We both laughed, and she replied to them: “A little role reversal here. I’m not used to answering questions.” 

I asked Jamie if being a woman is an advantage or disadvantage when trying to get an interview. “It can be a little of both, depending on how you look at it.” she replied. “There are times when some players might be more willing to talk to a woman…for better or worse. But there are times when you have to fight the preconceived notion that you are only here because you’re a woman, or because of your looks. I work really hard to let people know that I know what I’m talking about — I want to be informed and accurate. I know what I’m talking about!”

Derek Jeter photo by Gordy Jones.

 

Derek Jeter photo by Gordy Jones.

One visiting player didn’t know what he was talking about recently. After an interview, she thanked him for his time — and out of force of habit, he replied, “Sure, man!” They paused, looked at each other, and both laughed.

Her favorite assignments are covering athletes who make a difference in young people’s lives. She takes pride in a story that she did last winter when the East Ridge High School girls’ hockey team worked with kids on the Special Olympics team. She also likes covering the Twins on their many charity runs. 

Someday she’d like a big network job, but for now she says this job is the best.  “To have my parents tune in every night and watch me interview players of the same team they’re rooting for – the team they love. This truly is a dream job.”

She enjoys the traveling, too. She’ll tell you about bopping around Toronto, or her new favorite restaurant in New York; Becco. I believe that’s why I think she does her job so well: she’s loving life right now. Shhh — just don’t tell the Twins — her favorite sport is football.  

Derek Jeter photo by Gordy Jones.

 

Derek Jeter photo by Gordy Jones.

It was great seeing Derek Jeter last week at Target Field on his farewell tour. He really is a class act. He is not only a gifted athlete, but a philanthropist, always doing great things for children, and he treats everyone with respect. I have met hundreds of ballplayers over the years, and the guys who are extraordinary you can count on one hand. Not that the others aren’t good people. Ninety-nine percent of the people I’ve met in baseball are great! But there are only a few I consider “special.” I have met Derek Jeter a couple times, only for a few minutes, and you can tell he is “special”.  The moment he shakes your hand and gives you eye contact, you can tell he’s different.

Derek Jeter has been great for the Yankees, but more than that; great for baseball! Good luck!

Derek Jeter photo by Gordy Jones.

One of Derek’s future endeavors will be publishing children’s sports books. Maybe he’ll consider republishing “The Baseball Guy,” by someone named Gordy Jones