SAN DIEGO — There’s a lovely press box at Petco Park, one of the best in the majors. It’s right behind the plate, not too high up, and there’s plenty of room to work.
The folks who work there are nice, too. One of the security guards is a transplanted New Englander, and we always have a good conversation about the state of Boston teams.
But the press box is empty for the American League Championship Series. To further protect us from COVID-19, Major League Baseball has the writers sitting at tables in the upper deck.
The belief is that open air and extra space will help keep everybody safe.
There are far worse things than being outside in San Diego, so it’s perfectly fine with me. They even installed televisions so we can watch replays.
There usually would be several hundred media people at an LCS. There are maybe 15 of us this year.
The Tampa Bay Times and Houston Chronicle have reporters here covering their respective teams, but only one instead of four or five. The New York Times, Washington Post, and USA Today are here, too, along with some websites and the San Diego Union-Tribune.
We can’t talk to the players in person — every interview is done via Zoom — but you can see things you wouldn’t by watching on television. The stadium is so quiet without fans that you can hear players yelling from the dugouts.
In a way, it reminds me of being in high school and covering games for my hometown paper while sitting in a lawn chair behind the backstop. There are no distractions, just baseball.
Plus, I had a great view of Manuel Margot’s tumbling catch in the second inning that helped the Rays to a 4-2 victory in Game 2.
Game 3 is Tuesday night. It’ll be Ryan Yarbrough for the Rays vs. Jose Urquidy. The Rays have hit .207 in nine playoff games and struck out 95 times but have won seven times.
Peter Abraham is on site at the AL Championship Series in San Diego, before heading on to Texas for the World Series. Get his take on the experience by signing up for 108 Stitches, our MLB newsletter, in inboxes every weekday from now through the final pitch.