Yesterday, Center Field celebrated its fifth birthday.
They grow up so fast.
I’m not one for a lot of self-congratulatory stuff, but five years is a big deal, and I just wanted to thank our writers and readers who have made this possible.
I’ve only been around for about three-and-a-half years of our existence, but I’m darn proud of what this site has accomplished. From our founding in 2018 to now, we’ve put out all sorts of quality professional-grade journalism, from breaking news stories to features to opinion pieces.
When the site’s founders, Marco Schaden and Matt Rzodkiewicz, conceptualized Center Field, along with faculty advisor Leander Schaerlaeckens, Marist athletics was essentially a news desert. The Marist Circle did not have a sports department, and the severely understaffed Poughkeepsie Journal had neither the will nor the resources to cover Marist sports.
What did that mean? There was no one around to cover the athletic department. Did that mean that it was running around and breaking rules all over the place? Evidently not, but for the first time in a while, there were reporters to hold it accountable.
And I think we’ve done a pretty good job of that. What I’ve prided my tenure as editor-in-chief on is fairness. We’re not here to take potshots; we’re here to report on relevant, newsworthy stories.
If a team, coach, or athlete has a great story, then it’s our job to tell it. If the athletic department is doing something commendable, it should be commended.
Most of our feature stories attempt to humanize the athletes and coaches here in a way that shouldn’t be taken for granted. Sometimes, we get too caught up in the box score to remember that, at the end of the day, we’re all just people.
I think the site’s deputy editor-in-chief (and a close friend), Ricardo Martinez, has done an outstanding job with his “Beyond the Lines” series. As we like to say in our meetings, “be like Ricardo.”
A look at our idea wall in Lowell Thomas 141 will tell you that we have more ideas like this in the works.
But there is also the other side of the coin. And rightly or wrongly, that one seems to get a lot more attention.
I won’t dwell on those for too long, but stories we’ve done on topics like domestic violence, racism, and sexual assault would have been swept under the rug. Inevitably, some stories ruffle feathers and hurt feelings, but our job is to get the reporting right, and we’ve done that in every instance.
To me, it feels like some of our critics could do with learning the definition of journalism.
I’m not entirely sure what the future holds for Center Field, but I think that’s exciting. There are some changes on the horizon but not ones that will impact our coverage of Marist athletics.
In five more years, I hope the editor-in-chief writes a letter similar to this one. Center Field means the world to me, and I’m hoping I’m not exaggerating when I say that a lot of our staff feel the same way.
When I walked into LT 141 for the first time in the fall of 2019, I was just some shy kid looking to get involved with something to get out of my dorm room.
I found something much more than that. I found friendships that will last way beyond Marist College. I found a staff of writers that were passionate about their craft. I found something I loved.
The list of “thank yous” could be a whole other letter itself. But I want everyone who has ever been involved with Center Field to know that your contribution means something. From the people who got us off the ground to the shy freshmen who will eventually become leaders in a few years.
So, if you don’t mind, we’ll take a moment or two to look back and enjoy our success from the last five years. But then we’ll get back out there and do what we do best. Cover Marist athletics.
Editor-in-Chief, Center Field
Edited by Dan Aulbach