A Love Letter To Andrew Baggarly’s Newspaper Career

I sat at my school’s own newsroom, attempting to finish a news article for my journalism class in the morning. Because I write on a computer, I did have distractions open in Chrome tabs — one of which, of course, is twitter.

I refreshed the page to see Baggs’ last blog post with the San Jose Mercury News — something that made me tear up a tiny bit when I read it.

I went to college with the intention of studying journalism. My first year passed, I had done nothing related to journalism because I thought it wasn’t for me. I bounced around from major to major and minor to minor, but ended up settling on my original decision of majoring in English and minoring in journalism. Joining Aerys Sports also helped with that choice.

When I started writing about baseball anywhere, there was one writer I wanted to be. One writer whose stories and blog posts inspired me into becoming a sports journalist, but not losing my own voice in the print.

That was Andrew Baggarly.

Every night after a Giants game, I would eagerly await new Extra Baggs blog posts and reading the details that sometimes didn’t make it in the print edition. I laughed at the snark and appreciated the honesty about the team.

I pre-ordered “A Band of MiSFits” just like many Giants fans out there, but I squeed like a flailing fangirl seeing the Backstreet Boys for the first time in 1997 when I got my copy. To say I was a journalism fangirl might have been too subtle.

As I found myself diving deeper into the world of print journalism, I found myself being more intrigued by all the beats available. News, arts & entertainment, local events, sports — you name it, I’m interested.

But I still wanted to be a sports journalist somehow.

At the moment, I cover the arts and entertainment as an assistant editor for my school’s print newspaper. I go to a D-III school that doesn’t really put a lot of focus on their athletics program, so I opted to take a different beat.

“Why not try something different?” I thought to myself.

I’ve had a great time covering music and art, but I feel like I’m missing something when I write about a concert.

So I kept reading more sports articles and kept trying to find as much time as I could to write sports articles. My life was already revolving around journalism, so why not throw in some more of it?

Well, I started my fourth semester of college last month and attended my first journalism class ever. Needless to say, I found myself wanting to be a journalist even more once I graduate, even going so far as to looking up J-schools to apply to come senior year.

I even looked up summer internships with the Mercury News. (But let’s be honest here — the Merc is a good publication.)

I wanted so much to be a great, snarky beat writer like Baggs that that became my goal in life.

Tomorrow morning, my first news article is due in class. Today, I learned from my editor what -30- is. Coincidentally, -30- was part of Baggs’ lede in his final blog post with the Mercury News.

It’s an old custom in the newspaper business for reporters to insert a –30— at the end of every article.

The –30— was a symbol to the copy desk that the story had reached its end. When reporters began to file their stories electronically, the –30— let the desk know that the transmission was received in full. Believe me, it served its purpose many times when I filed game stories on a Radio Shack TRS-80. Those were unpredictable little beasts.

Now it’s time for me to place a –30— on my newspaper career.

It felt like the end of an era for me. When I saw that Baggs had changed his twitter handle from @extrabaggs to @CSNBaggs, it finally sunk in that he was no longer writing for print.

It was odd, to say the least.

While I look forward to Alex Pavlovic’s writing — as he is another journalist whom I admire — as well as Carl Steward’s writing, but I can’t help but feel a void in the San Francisco Giants beat. Sure, I know Baggs is with CSN now and he’ll still be churning out the snark while on the Giants beat there, though it’s a whole new medium.

But, as he said in his farewell, “Please support quality journalism in every form it takes.”

And I’ll be sure to do just that, Baggs.

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