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LIFE in the Big Leagues

LIFE in the Big Leagues

by J.T. Crawford

When Ethan Morgan started playing t-ball as a child, he wasn’t all that enthused. It was just another activity inflicted upon him by his mom. What he’d yet to experience was the generational impact of America’s pastime. 

“My grandfather took me aside, and we started practicing every day. I started to learn the fundamentals of baseball. We’d watch Cardinals games on TV, and that helped me,” says Ethan, who is now 11. His uncle also provided some input when it came to the love of baseball. “He’s a Cubs fan,” adds Ethan. “He grew up watching WGN. I spent some time with him, watching the Cubs.” 

Ethan’s love for the sport grew, and he threw himself wholeheartedly in to play. “I wanted to one day be the star,” says Ethan, “but I came to the reality that it’s probably not going to happen. I set my standards a bit lower.”

Like with most young baseball fans, Ethan had only imagined himself as a player. Then, a seemingly random contest entry changed his trajectory. “A contest was posted on the MLB at Bat app,” says Ethan’s mom Jennifer. “The winner would get four tickets to the 2018 All-Star game and got to report for the MLB at the game.” Ethan created a one-minute video, pretending to interview players.” “He was in a suit, and we printed out players’ faces and put them on paper plates. He was behind a desk, and we were holding the players up. He asked them questions, and then he’d answer for the player. The whole family was able to get in and help on that.” Jennifer submitted his entry. Like with most contests, it came and went, and the majority of entrants, including Ethan, knew they didn’t win. Then, in March of 2019, Jennifer received an unexpected call from Major League Baseball.

“They decided they wanted a national reporter for the whole season,” says Jennifer. “They had gone through all those video submissions, narrowed it down, and chose Ethan.” He then became the first National Chevrolet Play Ball Reporter. Ethan reported for MLB Network, appearing on the Play Ball show every Saturday. MLB also sent Ethan and his family to games all over the country. “We went to the stadiums before they opened for games,” adds Jennifer, “which was really neat—to be there with the teams.” 

“It didn’t scare me too much,” says Ethan, recalling his first times in the studio and reporting in the field. Ethan had not considered a career in baseball via broadcasting, but after his first experience, a potential career path emerged. He found a way to be a part of baseball and be among his heroes.

Ethan, who says he had limited travel experience before 2019, quickly adapted to catching flights for work. He reported at games from New York to Cleveland to Denver to Omaha to Houston.

As a Cubs fan, a high point for Ethan was working at Wrigley. “Kyle Hendricks broke his bat at practice,” says Ethan, “and he gave it to me. And David Bote tossed a ball to me.” At the 2019 All-Star game, Ethan interviewed a long roster of the sport’s biggest stars. “That was one of the best experiences,” he says. “There were so many players. It was great having one-on-one access. Really, they are the nicest people.” He met over 100 players including Ken Griffey, Jr. He also met and interviewed legendary broadcaster Bob Costas. Ethan also gained access to the greatest baseball stadiums in the world. In Boston, for example, he got to go in the Green Monster, the famous left-field wall at Fenway Park. While there, he signed his name on the wall. 

At the end of the season, MLB invited Ethan to cover game one of the World Series in Houston, Texas. “We were a part of media day the day before,” he says. “The city was all decked out.”

After his experience, Ethan envisions a career in baseball—but not in the way he’d seen his career playing out before. “I want to play college baseball,” he says. “I’d like to then be a reporter of some sorts for MLB Network. Ultimately, my dream job would be to eventually work in management for the Chicago Cubs. I don’t know.” Ethan smiles. “Pitching coach, hitting coach, bench coach, water boy—anything.” In the meantime, be on the lookout for Ethan as he pursues every opportunity baseball brings his way, whether it’s on the field as a player or on the field as a reporter.

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