This just in: 14-year-old scoops up job as reporter


June 19, 1994|By Steven Kivinski | Steven Kivinski,Contributing Writer

Like most of the sportswriters who cover the Orioles, Ashanti Woods arrives at Camden Yards roughly two hours before game time.

Like many of his colleagues, Woods heads directly to the clubhouse -- pen, notebook and tape recorder in hand -- where he conducts pre-game interviews.

Woods' collection of facts, quotes and commentary can found within the pages of Outside Pitch, an independent, twice-monthly publication sold at newsstands and by vendors outside Oriole Park.

Not a bad gig for a 14-year-old who will enter ninth grade at Poly in the fall.

"I like to write, and I love seeing my name in print," said Woods, who is the magazine's first Kid Correspondent. "My friends are all jealous, and they're always telling me how lucky I am. I still can't believe I have this job, and I take it very seriously."

Woods, an honors student at Roland Park Elementary-Middle School, has interviewed players Harold Baines, Jeffrey Hammonds and Alan Mills. All the major-leaguers have been cooperative, and Woods has taken a special liking to Mills.

"I like Mills the best because he was the first one I interviewed and I feel like I have a closer bond with him," said Woods, who aspires to become a journalist and/or an airplane pilot. "I was nervous and I stuttered a couple times on my questions and my stomach was a little queasy, but he [Mills] told me to relax and it went well."

Outside Pitch editor David Hill, who greets Woods when he arrives at the ballpark and accompanies him in the clubhouse, has noticed the relationship between Woods and Mills and has seen Woods grow more comfortable and confident with each visit to the park.

"Ashanti has done a great job," Hill said. "For a new writer going in there not knowing any of the players, it can be fairly intimidating even for a grown-up. But, Alan Mills kind of took him under his wing and introduced him to a lot of the players, which has made it a lot easier. The players all like him, and they enjoy seeing a new, young face in the crowd."

Woods enjoys being there.

"The first time I went into the dugout and looked out at the grass and the field and the stands, I couldn't believe where I was," said Woods, who attends the opening game of each home series.

"It's a wonderful feeling to be around the players, and I've learned that they're just like you and me."

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