We have dozens of women covering pro and college sports for our team brands here at SB Nation. Meet one of those talented writers, Cristiana Caruso, who writes for our MLB Daily Dish.
Why are you so passionate about baseball? What led you to MLB Daily Dish?
Falling in love with baseball was something I was born into. I grew up taking the 4 Train to Yankees games with my dad, brother, and uncle. I remember sitting at my first game ever —which was a big deal to me because it was Beanie Baby Day, but ended up being David Wells’ perfect game — feeling so at peace and at home, that I had so much passion for this game to uncover and it was just circulating through my bloodstream. My love for the team and the game was so well-nourished by my own curiosity and my family’s willingness to field any and all of my questions. I also played baseball until I physically couldn’t anymore, spending an intangible number of hours in my backyard running drills and wishing to be the first woman to go pro in the MLB (I made myself a trading card, #noshame).
What has been your favorite experience writing for MLB Daily Dish?
The MLB Draft is my favorite time of year at MLB Daily Dish. I’ve had three drafts on staff here, and every year I become more and more proud of how the staff covers it. My favorite aspect is talking to the kids entering their draft — their lives could change in a split second, so getting to tell the story of how they got to a place in their sport where they could go pro is such an honor for me. It not only deepens the emotional side of the game but gives insider access to fans and reader who are diligently following along.
What are some of the unique challenges you’ve faced?
My experience isn’t limited to the fact that I write about baseball — women and non-cis men sports fans are often criticized both on and off of the internet about sports views and fandom. There’s a toxicity to comments like that which begin to negate a side of someone they hold very dear and personal, and as both a girl watching a game at a bar and a journalist I’ve felt that sting. As far as within my journalistic career, there’s always the lingering fear of no one taking you seriously. That’s something I’ve personally struggled with. I also had some stylistic boot camp I needed to endure. When I made to jump to sports writing, I was writing about fashion and culture, so integrating a completely different langue into my style gave me a learning curve.
How did you start writing for MLB Daily Dish?
By pure happenstance, I found a job listing for a writing position at MLB Daily Dish. A week later, Justin Bopp (then the managing editor) shot me an email to schedule a phone interview. Butterflies in my stomach isn’t even the right expression — they were dragons and I felt so nervous I thought I was burning from the inside out. Justin explained to me that he didn’t even read the sportswriting clip I’d sent, but rather Googled me and found a significantly more compelling story I’d written and that he was looking for that type of craftsmanship on the site. Two-and-a-half years later, and now I’m one of our writers and the social media manager. Life comes at you fast.
What women in the industry do you look up to?
Niki Noto Palmer, Kim Jones, and Jessica Mendoza all have a special place in my heart and are women I aspire to have a career like. When I was a budding sportswriter in college, I was given an assignment to interview a reporter I looked up to. I took a shot and reached out to Niki, who not only responded to me, but patiently and gracefully answered all of my questions while I kept her on the phone for nearly two hours. The experience meant a lot to me not only as a writer after a story, but as a woman in an male-dominated industry being told by a woman who already cut her teeth there that, “You can do anything the boys can and don’t you dare let them try to tell you otherwise.”