Lights, camera, red indicator lights on!
And with that, the YES Network starts another Yankees show.
By the time Michael Kay starts the show and introduces one of his many broadcast sidekicks, one person has already worked hard despite not having been seen.
Meredith Marakovits has already shown her openness to the game and will provide insight, injury reports with knowledgeable banter with Kay (and his pal) from the dressing room leading up to the post-game report.
Not a bad showing for the former LaSalle University graduate and D-1 volleyball player.
“I played three years, but not my last year. I was injured, but they let me keep my scholarship,” says Marakovits. “My parents appreciated that.”
She has been a pre- and post-game reporter since opening day in March 2012. A piece of cake, right?
“My actual first day on the job and Mariano Rivera messed up a save,” she recalls with a smile. “Oh man I have to go to the greatest seamstress ever and I’ll be the first to ask a question. ‘Hello, my name is Meredith by the way, because of that botched rescue?’”
Awkward moments aside, Marakovits has also witnessed some historical moments up close.
How about watching Aaron Judge’s first Bronx Bomber home run or Derek Jeter and Andy Pettitte coming out to take the ball from Rivera for the last time?
“You get to see a lot of cool moments,” she emphasizes. “It’s my favorite part of the job.
“I did the last on-field interview when Derek was playing his last game at Yankee Stadium,” says the beaming Marakovits, “and I had a front-row seat.”
Your job has its ups and downs, but you can’t let it eat you up.
“There was a bit of a learning curve in how YES does things and what they expected of me,” she recalls, “but I can’t remember ever feeling uncomfortable.
“You almost have to have a closer mentality. Shake it off and have a short memory.”
Marakovits was there for someone still in his late thirties. The advantage for her was that she was already active in the New York market.
“I had worked for SNY. I had worked for ESPN Radio and FAN, so I wasn’t a total stranger to these guys, the team and the way people did business here,” she says. She has also covered minor league baseball.
Oddly enough, the Marakovits’ household wasn’t big when it came to baseball. It was basketball and the 76ers.
“When I became a part-time reporter for the Sixers,” she recalls, “it was crazy.”
This was an Andre Iguodala team and Doug Collins was the coach.
And that was before The Process.
“Which didn’t really work,” she emphasizes.
What has worked for Marakovits is being part of a talented succession.
When Suzyn Waldman transitioned from Yankee clubhouse reporter to radio color analyst, she was replaced by Kim Jones, who held the position from 2005 to 2012. Marakovits has been there ever since, as has Waldman, one of her closest friends.
Like a good fairy?
“I feel like I can’t call her mother. She would kill me,” says Marakovits. “She is one of my best friends and advocate. I don’t think she gets anywhere near the recognition she deserves for being a pioneer in this business. It’s the honest truth.”
Because of Waldman, Marakovits’ job isn’t as tiring.
“Because of people like her, I don’t have to deal with some of the things that she had to deal with early on,” she notes. “I don’t think enough women in the industry recognize or appreciate that.”
A Yankee TV reporter’s job isn’t just about sitting back and making kibbitz. Even in baseball there is a process.
“I come to a house [night] Game at 2:15 a.m.,” is how she describes the start of her working day. “I go through my notes for the game, do my hair and put on my makeup. The clubhouse opens at three. This is the window where I can start snapping Yankee players.
“The clubhouse is open from three to four. [Manager Aaron] Boone will speak at four. If I have to go to the opponent’s clubhouse afterwards, I’ll stop by there. When you take BP (punching drills) you never know who’s going to be hovering around. I talk to my producer, decide what we’re going to do for the pre-game show, and then go from there.
All you young reporters, get it? But wait, there’s more!
“Pregame will be 6:30, do a segment for the start of the game. The game starts and I hope to come in and talk to the guys,” she says.
The game ends and she’s back to work.
“We’ve been a bit lucky this year in the sense that we’ve had some games that lasted three hours,” she says. “After the game, it usually lasts 55 minutes or more. Probably finished after 11.”
Then there are the quick turnaround days.
“People don’t understand what these athletes have to go through over the course of the season,” she says. “We just have to broadcast it and they have to go out and play nine.
“I can imagine four times this year that we came in at five, six in the morning and then there’s a game.”
She’s not complaining because she’s on the front lines as the Yankees fight for their 28th world title.
“I’ve never covered a World Series and I really hope this is the year,” she says.
Their closeness to the Yankees makes them the eyes and ears of the fans.
“We’re in people’s living rooms for months and months and months every day,” she says. “It’s kind of a climax behind the curtain.”
She’s seen players develop and managers leave.
“I feel like Aaron Judge has become more of a speaker over the years,” she explains.
And she’s seen changes in the styles of the managers she’s covered – Joe Girardi and Aaron Boone.
“Any New York Yankees manager is going to be a little reticent,” she says, “but Boone seems a little more chilled than Joe.”
Even Covid-19 couldn’t slow her down.
Marakovits was well prepared when the pandemic hit. She set up her home in Clearwater, FL to do interviews and YouTube stuff. Her home became a studio with all the trimmings.
“I can’t tell you how many ring light links I’ve sent out,” she laughs. “I was one of the people best prepared to watch TV from home during the pandemic.”
And while she deals with many guys from the Yankees to YES Brass, she has a supporter in the TV show’s lead – Michael Kay.
“Michael was fantastic with me,” she admits. “I first met Michael in 2009 when he was covering the Phillies for an ESPN Radio affiliate at Citizens Bank Park. We met a few times before I got this job and he was always good to me.
“He’s always been a gentleman and he’s always been in my corner.”
Marakovits loves the job, but is there more to achieve?
“YES has been good to me and I’m enjoying my current role,” she admits, “but I always think there’s room for growth.
“What that looks like has yet to be determined.”
https://www.ocregister.com/2022/07/31/a-day-in-the-life-of-yes-clubhouse-reporter-meredith-marakovits/ A Day in the Life of YES Clubhouse Reporter Meredith Marakovits – Orange County Register