When I moved away from Minnesota after college, my dad always saved the Star Tribune’s baseball preview section for me, knowing I could appreciate the quality of the work. I used to wonder how they did it, coming up with rich stories, filling page after page with interesting information and packaging everything with some of the best layout design you’ll ever see in a newspaper. All this while churning out the regular section every day during March Madness.
I’m proud to be a part of it now. Our 2007 preview section hit the newsstands today (in our early Sunday editions), and I can’t urge you enough to find a hard copy. “Baseball without borders” is the theme, as we examine the globalization of Major League Baseball. I promise you’ll learn a lot by reading it because we sure learned a lot by writing it.
The process started with a January meeting at Dunn Bros. Our sports editor, Glen Crevier, had the global idea after being fascinated with the Red Sox pursuit of Daisuke Matsuzaka from Japan. MLB’s biggest story heading into 2007 is Dice-K mania. Combine that with the biggest story for the Twins — the ability of Morneau (Canada), Santana (Venezuela) and Mauer (USA) to repeat their success — and you can’t help but be struck by this international theme.
Our baseball editor, Dennis Brackin, turned that coffee shop idea session into reality. He leaned on La Velle and me to think about the section throughout spring training. As crunch time neared, Dennis threw out his back and had to coordinate our paper’s massive Tubby Smith coverage. But he kept barking orders and cranking out large chunks of copy himself.
Design whiz Chris Carr worked his magic, bringing the stories, photos and graphics to life over 16 pages. As writers, we tracked down sources all over the world. Souhan and Reusse lent their considerable baseball expertise, each handling a region of the globe.
My favorite part was the cover photo shoot with Santana, Morneau and Mauer. Our photographer, David Joles, is a real ace, and the players hammed it up pretty good, holding their respective flags, and showing all the pride they have for their countries. (At right, that’s Souhan, me and La Velle interspersed with The Big Three). As soon as I saw David’s photos, I knew this section would be a keeper. So, again, I invite you to pick it up. You’ll even learn how to say “Baseball without borders” in Dutch.