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Tuesday, May 7, 2013

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: MEREDITH MARAKOVITS

I’ve had my share of memorable baseball experiences in my life. I have met some great players and seen some games that I will never forget and I get to write about them. Now I've been able to talk to someone who is very influential and I get to share that too. I have really admired all of the personalities on the YES Network. They know the game and they share a lot of the same memories that we do. They are people I look to day in and day out for all things Yankee related. Recently, I got to spend some time getting to know the woman who we see on our television every game.

We know Meredith Marakovits best for all of her pre-game and post-game reports, but she has more stories to share than just player updates. Any aspiring writer knows that when you are just starting out, you will take any opportunity you can get. Meredith has taken all kinds of freelance writing gigs, and did some radio broadcasting before finally making her way to New York. There are many talented reporters out there, but after talking to Meredith, I have a new found respect for the work she has done and feel fortunate enough to be able to share that all with you. I’m so glad she had the time to talk with us at Bleeding Yankee Blue so we could share that with all of you, so here it is, another great exclusive. It's a pleasure to share this...

BYB: Tell me about the first day at YES and working with the Yankees?


Meredith Marakovits: I’ve had a great welcoming from all of the players and the organization. The Yankees welcomed me with open arms and I looked forward to the opportunity. I came from a great organization when I worked with the Philadelphia 76ers. I was actually still with the 76ers during my first week with YES and I was flying a lot back and forth between Baltimore, Philly and New York. After a week like that, you learn to expect the unexpected. My first job with the Yankees was down in Spring Training during 2010 for ESPN Radio. The first series was played against the Rays and we were swept, so the first questions were a little tough following a rough series. I wouldn’t have drawn it up that way though because it worked out.

BYB: How much different are the Yankee fans compared to other fans around Major League baseball?
 
Meredith Marakovits: They are pretty different because they expect perfection all the time. Fans for other teams are content to just contend for the World Series, but Yankee fans expect excellence, and anything short of a World Series win is a failure. The fans want to hear more, and they expect answers when players don’t perform well. They have a higher focus on what is going on. Yankee fans are a passionate fan base and they want a good product to watch year in and year out.

BYB: Have you ever been star-struck by anyone you have ever interviewed? If so who was it and why?

Meredith Marakovits:  I don’t know that I have been star-struck because I have been doing this a long time. Since my college days I have interviewed more people. I am sure I will look back 10-15 years and say “Oh my god, I had the opportunity to interview Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera, the greatest closer of all time. I can’t believe I got to do that!” I hope I get to do more of that.

BYB: Did you ever think you would be doing what you’re doing now? How did you get your start?

Meredith Marakovits: I did, I actually told my parents that when I was in High School. I had the idea this was what I wanted to do. My parents said they wanted me to have a backup plan because it is such a tough industry but I told them the day I have a backup plan is the day I believe I won’t be able to do this. I did major in marketing, but my mentality was always to do this. I did an internship where I worked for Fox Sports in LA for 3 months. After that I went back to Philly and begged people for any opportunity to edit packages and shoot. I also worked covering local sports doing a 30 minute show for High School sports. I found jobs during my junior and senior year and eventually did live interviews. I eventually worked for the Philadelphia Phillies AA affiliate then New York where I covered the Scranton Wilkes-Barre team. That job helped me form relations with guys in the minors so by the time got the majors I had the connection with them.


BYB: We asked this to Jack Curry, Pete Caldera and Ian O’Connor and we need to know, what advice would you give an aspiring journalist, in my case, a female writer who wants to follow in your footsteps?

Meredith Marakovits: It sounds simple and cliché, but no job is too small. The path you take makes you appreciate the success that you finally do get when you reach your goal. You need experience, so get your name out there. Make the mistakes on the small scale so when you get to the big stage you have the experience. This industry is very subjective, some people will love you and others won’t. No matter what, always have confidence to push through and persevere. My advice for females is just to remember that sometimes people will look at you differently. It’s not right or wrong, just be mindful of it and just be confident in what you do.


BYB: You can only have 1 answer. What is your favorite sports memory; Yankee related or not and why is it so important to you?

Meredith Marakovits: I am probably going to get crushed for admitting this, but I would say it was when the Phillies won the 2008 World Series. They were not the best team, but they put it all together and they had the chemistry. The feeling in the city was incredible. I remember the parade well because so many people took off from work to be there. I am fortunate that I had the opportunity to cover it. It was neat to see the city get so involved.

BYB: Who was your favorite athlete growing up and why?
 
Meredith Marakovits: I was active in sports growing up. I loved Dan Marino and the Miami Dolphins. I also loved the Charlotte Hornets so I was a big fan of Alonzo Mourning. When Alonzo Morning got hurt, it was devastating for me. I also followed the 76ers so I loved Charles Barkley too, I still have an old picture of him.

(In Photo: Vernon Wells)
BYB: Which New York Yankee is easiest to approach and always gives you a good soundbite?

Meredith Marakovits: They are a very professional clubhouse so they are all pretty easy to approach. I must say that I am pleasantly surprised by Vernon Wells because he always has a smile on his face. Everyone has treated me very well in there. Robinson Cano is pretty easy too. It depends on your approach. They get it here, they know that the fans want to hear from them.

BYB: If you could sit down and have a pint of beer or cup of coffee with 3 people, 1 baseball related, 1 basketball related and any other person in politics or other, who would they be and why? 

Meredith Marakovits: Basketball – Charles Barkley because he is unfiltered. He seems like a fun guy to have a drink with.  Baseball – Jackie Robinson because I want hear his reflections and his story. I want to hear how the game has evolved and what he thinks about it now. President Obama – who wouldn’t want to sit down with the commander in chief?

BYB: On that rare off day, what are you doing?

Meredith Marakovits: It’s probably not as exciting as you think. I’m either sleeping or unpacking since I am usually coming home from a road trip. I’m also running errands and paying bills. When I can, I like to take a trip, see friends, or go out to a nice dinner.

BYB: Finally, have you ever read Bleeding Yankee Blue? If so, what do you think… and remember, we love the work you do... :)

Meredith Marakovits: I have read it before. I have been mentioned in the past and I thank you for the kind words. I like the outside opinion and fan perspective. After hanging with beat writers it’s cool to hear another point of view. The more educated opinions that you can have out there is good.

Meredith, thank you so much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to talk to me. It’s been great having you in our living room every night, but it is even better to talk to you and learn more about you. There are a lot of great female sports reporters out there, and as demanding as the industry is, you make it look so easy! Thanks for keeping all of us so informed.





--Jeana Bellezza, BYB Writer and Editor
Twitter: @NyPrincessJ


 

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