‘BoniBlog – From Teacher to Practioner

By John Iaboni, Sports Media Canada special correspondent

When I first started in this business some 42 years ago, I could never resist the urge to come into the office and eagerly relay the information I’d uncovered.
Invariably, George (The Baron) Gross would say: “Don’t tell me about it, kid, write it!”
John Lott of The National Post has virtually gone from “telling” journalism students about what the job entails to actually getting out there and doing it.

John Lott, National Post

“I started working at The Post while I was teaching journalism at Centennial College,” says Lott. “It was as kind of backup baseball writer in 2000. Then gradually each year I started doing a little more until finally I took early retirement from teaching and started doing this as my main job.
“This will be my 11th year covering the Jays. I’ve been to Spring Training probably half of that time. We’re going to be here (Dunedin) for a week; then we’re coming back for the last week before going on to Houston (for two games to end Spring Training) and Arlington (where the Jays open 2010 on April 5). In Spring Training it’s just going to be me (covering the Jays) but during the season, Jeremy Sandler and I basically split the coverage.”
Everyone we’ve seen around baseball over the years has a story to relate about what the game means to that individual. While objectivity is paramount in his approach, Lott does unveil special feelings for baseball.
“I think for me I love the game, that’s where I come from,” he says. “I played as a rank amateur for a lot of years. When I started out in journalism I wanted to cover a Major League baseball team – and it only took me about 40 years to get there because I did a lot of other things in between.
“I just enjoy the game and I guess one of the odd things about it that struck me on my first day back in Spring Training this year was how much standing around we do, stalking guys, waiting for guys that you want to talk to and all that. But there’s nothing like the atmosphere of Spring Training especially when the weather turns warm. You have that renewed feeling. So yeah it’s very cool and of course for somebody who watched baseball and coached baseball at amateur levels I never cease to be amazed at the abilities and the skills of these players … it’s just amazing.”
When I approached John about an interview for this blog, he was, to put it bluntly, totally uncomfortable at being the one answering the queries. However, watching John in action as he went player to player, he was far more at ease asking the questions.
Well, John, you got through our session just fine. And what a story it is considering you’ve gone from teaching about the field of journalism to getting out into – and onto – the fields of baseball.