Chance of a lifetime: Journalism major interns at ESPN Boston, hooks on as Red Sox beat writer

by Samuel Evers / Beacon Staff • February 20, 2014

1392880849 photo  6 .jpg
Kyle Brasseur (right) sits in the Red Sox dugout.
Courtesy of Kyle Brasseur.
Kyle Brasseur (right) sits in the Red Sox dugout.
Courtesy of Kyle Brasseur.

Most of the 250,000 college students in the Boston area saw the Red Sox’ improbable run to the World series on a television screen, enduring every rant Fox commentator Tim McCarver could rattle off as the team redefined clutch hitting seemingly every game.

Senior journalism major Kyle Brasseur is not most college students.

Jarrod Saltalamacchia’s Game 2 walk-off single against the Detroit Tigers in the American League Championship Series, David Ortiz and Shane Victorino’s late inning grand slams — Brasseur was there live for it all.  

Big name reporters like former Boston Globe writers Gordon Edes and Jackie McMullen, who are both now with ESPN, sat comfortably in the first row of the Fenway Park press box, watching Koji Uehara strike out Matt Carpenter to clinch the World Series, while Brasseur was tucked away in the makeshift media section of the right field grandstand, jotting down the sounds of victory available only to those in attendance.

“It’s funny sitting with the fans,” said Brasseur, who relocated due to the crowded volume of media box. “We always had drunk guys coming over and asking us what we were doing.”  

Brasseur was, however, still allowed field access for the post-game ceremony, and described the entire night as surreal. He said he could hardly contain his jubilation at his retail job the next morning.  

“I got up at five the next morning to go work [at City Sports],” Brasseur said with a grin. “Everyone was buying the gear, talking about where they were, and I didn’t want to sound bragadocious, but I was on the field hanging with the owners.” 

The chance to be involved firsthand in a piece of Boston sports history that hadn’t happened in nearly a century — the Red Sox clinched their 2004 and 2007 World Series victories away, in Denver and St. Louis — was all made possible by an internship Brasseur obtained as a Red Sox beat writer for ESPN Boston the previous summer. 

But for the journalism major from Acushnet, Mass., the chance to cover his local professional baseball team was part of a dream that started four years ago.

“In 2010, I went to my first game at Fenway,” Brasseur said. “After that game on the drive home, I told myself I want to do this for a living, cover baseball. Something about it screamed to me and stuck in my head — the drama and the little things that came with the game.”

That fall, he enrolled at Emerson, and two years later he completed an internship at the Society for American Baseball Research. Then, along with two friends, he began producing a documentary on the Red Sox during his junior year. 

“As head of the journalism aspect [of the documentary], we put something together that we were really proud of,” Brasseur said. “When we had the premiere on campus, we invited local media and only two people showed up: Steve Buckley, who was in the film, and Gordon Edes.”  

Edes, the chief Red Sox beat reporter at  ESPN Boston, whose niece currently attends Emerson, was impressed by the film and approached Brasseur about applying for the internship. 

Everything fell in line from there. On June 5, the network’s newest intern was thrown into the sports reporting world during a game against the Texas Rangers.

“There were nights when I asked Kyle to do everything but write my story for me,” said Edes, who has covered the Red Sox for 15 years. “As the season went on,  Kyle’s writing improved steadily, and I grew to trust him implicitly with any assignment I gave him.” 

As Edes’ assistant, Brasseur described his job as gathering the elements the award-winning journalist couldn’t get to.

“It was unbelievable [working with Edes],” said Brasseur, who has since maintained a very close student-mentor relationship. “He’s so talented; writing comes so natural for him, it’s like watching art in progress. To have him read one of my pieces and approve it for [the website], that instills a lot of confidence in me.”  

Brasseur said he learned early on that the best quotes came from two of the lesser-known players, who would later become cult heroes during the playoffs.

“The best players, the ones you wanted to talk to, were always David Ross and Jonny Gomes,” Brasseur said. “Gomes always talks with passion, you can tell he’s being real, David Ross — he just never shuts up. My boss [David Lefort] would always email us to make sure we got quotes from Ross in particular.”  

When Brasseur’s dream of covering baseball came to a head, he said his father, Paul, who preferred his son pursue a job in engineering, was originally skeptical of the idea. 

Now, four years later, and coming from an experience as memorable and exciting as a baseball fan could imagine, the senior said his old man’s doubts have disappeared.

“It seemed like a pipedream at first,” Brasseur said, “but to actually put it all together, my dad, as a big sports fan, is so proud of what I’ve done, which is really nice for me.”

Brasseur, who admitted his long-term plans are still up in the air, was invited back and accepted an offer to cover the 2014 Red Sox in their quest to repeat as World Series championship. 

“There’s a reason why Kyle is coming back for another summer,” said Edes. “He has a steady-as-they-come personality, which is a great thing to have in what can be a very frenetic environment.”