Women’s History Month: Jessica Quiroli (MiLB Writer)
Added by Gregg Snyder on March 8, 2012.
Double G Sports takes you to the baseball side of sports in our celebration of Women in Sports during Women’s History Month. Jessica Quiroli is a minor league baseball writer that has covered a variety of teams and players throughout her career so far. She has been covering minor league baseball for eight years, working for Baseball Digest, and also has her own blog, Heels on the Field. She’s also written for Pinstripes Plus and Ultimate Athlete Magazine, among others.
Despite being very busy with spring training now in full swing, Jessica was kind enough to talk to us and answer some question…
When did you realize sports journalism was a career path you wanted to take?
Once I began writing about baseball for small publications, I quickly became enraptured by that and the journalism industry. I was utterly captivated by all of it.
You are pretty active on the social media platforms, particularly Twitter. Is it important to you to keep in touch with your fans/followers in that way?
I’d have to be on an ego trip to consider my readers fans. As sports writers, our function is to report the facts and tell interesting stories. We’re an extension of an industry. Players have fans. No one is wearing my jersey. If I didn’t keep in touch with readers, I’d be failing to connect with people who care about what I do and value it. I’m not interested in people getting to know me that well, but I want them to trust my reporting and enjoy what I’ve written. So there’s going to be a little bit of them getting to know me being on Twitter.
A lot has been made recently about some new rules for wardrobe in clubhouses and press areas. Many believe it was mostly directed at women. What are your thoughts?
I’ve talked quite a lot about this. I think what’s really happened is it unleashed our frustrations. Women in the industry have had to deal with sexism and sexual harassment. We’ve dealt with it as graciously as possible. I think most of us wondered where the crackdown on that was. I also found it ridiculous that male colleagues were commenting on appropriate behavior. They’re the same guys who curse in the press box and make comments about women’s bodies, specifically women they work with. There’s no shame. It stirred a lof of feelings. The fact that men believe they have any right to question us based on how we look or our clothing is the issue. They don’t. The flip side is, I’ve never believed you can wear just anything. I thought it was odd that belly shirts were mentioned. I’ve never seen a female baseball reporter wear one. But we’ve seen it in the NFL, so you do the math. The dress code is perceived as a way to stop ‘incidents.’ And those incidents involved women.
A minor league baseball press box is where Jessica feels most at home.
Do you think female sports reporters are respected enough?
I think the reaction to Erin Andrews being sexually violated answers that question. Men and women proved their sexism and their closed-minded attitudes toward women in this industry. People were talking about it in terms of whether she deserves what happened to her. It’s still difficult for me not to get angry thinking about that. She’s a fighter. And she’s had to be. The positive of that was that I truly think it gave women a platform to speak our minds and gather our courage. I was proud of so many women, and men, for that matter. But I lost a lot of respect for many women in the industry when some of their comments became public. How could you not defend a woman who’d had a crime committed against her? So it taught me that we have to be tough, stand up for one another, and keep on working.
What are you currently working on? Will we see you at any Trenton Thunder games this season?
I’ll most likely be doing more coverage of the Eastern League again. I don’t know when my job status will change because I’m always seeking new opportunities. Right now, I’m getting ready for spring training coverage.
Are you where you want to be in your career? Or do you have any further aspirations and goals?
I’m going to keep being a minor league baseball writer as long as the work is there. I enjoy writing about baseball for high school kids, which I’ve done for several years for Junior Baseball. And writing about high school sports has also been a great experience. I’d be happy to do more of that. But the minors are where my heart lives. And I think it’s where I excel.
Looking back on your career so far, is there any particular interview that stands out as your favorite? How about any single event that you’ve covered?
John Kruk was a lot of fun to interview. Of major league guys I’ve interviewed through the years…Brad Lidge is extremely generous and genuine. In the minors, I’ve had the benefit of dealing with some great managers. [Trenton Thunder's] Tony Franklin is a gem. [Former Reading Phillies manager] Mark Parent was never one to hold back. He’s a straight-shooter. My conversations with [former Binghamton Mets manager] Wally Backman were always interesting.
What advice can you give to those interested in becoming a sports reporter, female in particular?
I’d tell the girls not to take any shit. I’ve had to learn to just be confident and get on with it. I’ve had the benefit of meeting a lot of great people in baseball that have been generous with their time and don’t have any weird trip. But I’ve dealt with the flip side, and being around people who are extremely selfish, hypocritical, and disloyal. People I’ve learned to steer clear of. That’s any business. Baseball is so competitive, but you don’t have to be driven by that to the point of being unkind or overly aggressive or gossiping about colleagues. Don’t do that. Be respectful of veterans and get to know the ones who are friendly and professional. And when young writers come in, be welcoming and encouraging. Keep your mind centered on why you chose to do this and stay focused on that as much as you can. Never stop working on your craft and learning. If you pursue excellence, you’ll succeed. If you pursue anything else or any less than that, you’ll fail yourself.
Jessica in the dugout doing some photography during a Trenton Thunder game.
You can follow Jessica on Twitter at @heelsonthefield
Previous Women’s History Month Interviews: