I've been given credentials from Major League Baseball to be in the Miller Park press box as far as the Milwaukee Brewers go in this postseason.
That's an honor and a privilege I do not take lightly.
But just between our readers and me, I would like to make a little confession. I'm worried that maybe I don't belong there.
You see, for many of the games each year, I am fortunate enough to attend with my wife and our two sons, and we sit in our company's season ticket box seats behind home plate. There, I can yell and scream and celebrate every moon shot that Brewers sluggers Ryan Braun, Prince Fielder, Rickie Weeks and Corey Hart send into the Milwaukee skyline.
Like everyone else in the paid seats, I'm a fan, and I play the part.
It was not always that way. I began my journalism career as a sports writer. I quickly learned that my job was to be an objective reporter. My job was not to root for the home team. My job was to report what happened to the home team in a nonpartisan, straight-forward way.
Though it was difficult, I quickly learned to become a detached observer when it came to the athletes and the teams I was covering. It also greatly illustrated to me how professional sports, at the end of the day, is big business. BIG business.
Truth be told, those realizations took nearly all of the luster out of sports for me for a while, as I became somewhat jaded and cynical about sports and the role they play in our society.
Then fatherhood happened. Watching my sons play sports with the sheer joy that children bring to the playground rekindled something in me.
Today, I do my best to do my current job of objectively reporting news and providing analysis on the business and political beats for BizTimes.
But I confess that when it comes to sports, I am a homer. And I have had a particular blast watching the 2011 Milwaukee Brewers play baseball this year. I love their swagger, their camaraderie and their talents. I am a fan. When I go to their games, I can't help but recall all of the Brewers games I attended with my late father over the years. And those memories make me smile every time.
I was reminded of that in the very first inning of the Brewers' first playoff game last week. As the Arizona Diamondbacks' Willie Bloomquist rounded third base and headed for home, Braun fired a laser beam throw from leftfield. As the one-hopper bounced toward Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy, I blurted out, "Put it on him!" Lucroy did. I then realized I was standing in the middle of the press box, surrounded by professional, objective reporters.
After the game, which the Brewers won in typical thrilling fashion, as I walked out of the press box, I whispered to OnMilwaukee.com's Bobby Tanzilo, "It would be bad form to do a high five in the press box, wouldn't it?" He smiled and calmly presented his hand to do a discreet soft low five on the side, and we reverently walked out.
Sorry, fellas. I meant no harm. But go Brewers! Just don't tell the folks at Major League Baseball I said that, OK?
Steve Jagler is executive editor of BizTimes in Milwaukee and is past president of the Milwaukee Press Club. BizTimes provides news and operational insight for the owners and managers of privately held companies throughout southeastern Wisconsin.
Steve has won several journalism awards as a reporter, a columnist and an editor. He is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
When he is not pursuing the news, Steve enjoys spending time with his wife, Kristi, and their two sons, Justin and James. Steve can be reached at email@example.com.