Dodger fans are well familiar with the Big Swing Podcast. A few months ago I wrote about Ross Stripling and Cooper Surles podcast. It continues to grow in both content and guests. This week’s episode was no exception, as they had 6-time Emmy winner, Alanna Rizzo.
On Wednesday’s pod we have @sportsnetla host, @alannarizzo! We talk to Alanna about the in’s & outs of her job, her elite skill of avoiding the Gatorade baths, women in sports, the Dodgers, & her new foundation @guidrysguardian! Click the link in our bio to subscribe. pic.twitter.com/6xv5fQzetm
— Big Swing Podcast (@bigswingpodcast) September 4, 2019
She is an anchor and reporter for Sports Net LA. Moreover, she is the founder and president of Guidry’s Guardian, which I will touch on later. This particular podcast episode was nearly 80 minutes long, so I cannot parse the whole podcast. I do however, want to touch on a few segments that I thought were particularly poignant and exciting.
She’s A Professional
Coop and (friend of the show) Ross Stripling discussed with Alanna the quality of SNLA’s content. Alanna touched on her reasoning for working so hard and taking her job so seriously.
“A lot of fans will unfortunately never be able to make it out to Dodger stadium. We take it for granted because we’re there 81 games a year and travel with you guys. For a lot of fans, what we put on the air is the closest they will ever get to you guys (The Dodgers). We’re fortunate to be able to bring that to life for them.”
I found this particularly touching as a follower of the Dodgers who has gone to only 5 home Dodger games in the last 3 years. It is one thing to say this as lip service, but Alanna really means it when she says it. She went on to really drive home a point that I believe all Dodger fans feel in their heart.
“We have to think about what we do as a release and a relief for people. There are moms and dads out there working 2 or 3 jobs to make ends meet, and we are their release. We are their break from reality, and their opportunity to forget about all of the bad that’s going on in their life. What we’re able to do is bring some personality to who you guys are and let them know that you’re not just baseball players, you’re human beings.”
That clocks things pretty well, I would imagine, for a large portion of the Dodger family. At the end of the day, sports are a children’s game we put our hearts into. For her to truly take her job that seriously really impressed me. It’s not that people don’t think anyone on the SNLA crew doesn’t take their job seriously. Think about your own job. Every single one of us has either had days, or had jobs, where the effort is truly phoned in. To truly take your job as seriously as Alanna described is something that really put a smile on my face.
Chicken Strip Appreciates Dodger Fans
On the same topic, Ross Stripling also had a quote that I truly appreciated in terms of self awareness and appreciating the fans.
“The one way I’ve thought about it is, for instance, a game not too long ago I think we were getting stomped at home, which doesn’t happen very often. I was thinking there’s probably a dad here who has saved up all year, brought his son or daughter to this ONE game, and we just got stomped. You don’t think about how actually awesome, and what an experience it is to get to go to Dodger stadium. Like you said we get to take it for granted because we’re there every day.”
Ross Stripling has absolutely no requirement to acknowledge this. When you’re a professional MLB player, working hard and putting 100% effort is just part of the craft. It’s above and beyond to acknowledge that on a day that feels like a ‘Tuesday’ to a professional athlete, he recognizes that at every game, there are fans who probably very rarely go to see a Dodger game. I truly appreciated this sentiment on a personal level.
Social Media And All of Its Quirks
As a person who is very active on Twitter, I looked forward to this part of the podcast. I am well aware of the reputation of Alanna Rizzo for blocking twitter users with a quick trigger. What I found listening to Alanna, is that she doesn’t have time for people who decide to be belligerent. As for social media and its effect, Alanna was candid.
“Social media can be such a wonderful too, but it can also be the devil…There’s a lot of negativity that stems from that too. But again, when you see the power that social media has for good, that can be really compelling as well, but there’s a very fine line, and I do block people quite a bit.”
Cooper asked Alanna what inspired her to block people on Twitter, and her answer was gold.
“People are crazy! That’s what inspired me to do it. On Twitter especially, the block and mute button are the greatest inventions ever. I don’t like to put up with people that are…I don’t mind if you want to have a discussion or a constructive criticism, or if you have something of value to say–even if it’s a critique on the team. That doesn’t bother me. I think you’re allowed to have your opinion. But when you start to get off color, or racist, or derogatory, or homophobic, or whatever it is, I have no tolerance for that.”
I related to this even more than I thought I would. On my own Twitter account, I do post my frustrations at times. I’ve never posted such frustrations as a comment to a professional, however. Alanna’s comment on the subject delineated a forgotten line of demarcation in the world of social media. We’re truly allowed to say anything we want, and in the era of Twitter, everyone takes advantage of this. When you tweet something at a professional however, they’re well within their prerogative to mute or block you. It’s easy to think somebody is overly sensitive, or liberal with the block button. It’s a lot harder to take a second look at your words over the internet and wonder, “is this a something I should really say to a stranger?”
On Being A Woman In Sports Media
I was really glad and proud that Cooper and Ross included a portion on this topic. This particular subject is always a relevant one, and a subject that deserves a lot more attention. In short, representation of women in media and especially in sports media is still lacking. Moreover, the kind of comments and reception the women who do work in sports media get can be disheartening at best, and downright hateful at worst. Alanna’s first words on the subject were particularly poignant.
“If you have a mother, a sister, if you happen to have a daughter, if you have any female friends, I think you should support women in the industry. It’s so important for men to support women in the industry, not just men.”
Personally, I don’t think a man needs a woman or young girl in his life to make important the topic of gender equality. It merely takes wanting to be a good person. Equality in all topics of life requires effort from both the privileged, and the under privileged. Nothing changes when only the marginalized speak out and fight for equality, it takes all of us. Alanna Rizzo also described her journey to where she is now. After all, nobody graduates from college and starts working for a professional team in a massive market (much to my chagrin!)
“I never felt that I was at a disadvantage, but I’ve also never felt that I was given preferential treatment. The thing that is important to me that I try to impart on other young women that want to do what I do is that you have to be prepared. You have to work your butt off, and you probably have to work twice as hard as your male counterparts to be taken seriously. For the most part, when somebody seems a female they’re automatically going to assume that they don’t know what the hell they’re talking about. It behooves you to really be prepared and do your research and do your
Any woman reading this most certainly relates to this quote. Nobody who is professional demands preferential treatment, merely equal opportunity. If you searched social media or merely asked women who enjoy sports the amount of times their fandom or knowledge isn’t taken seriously, you could probably write a novel on the subject. Alanna also delved into her journey starting in Wichita Falls, Texas, all the way to working for our boys in blue.
Guidry’s Guardian Foundation
Alanna adopted a 4-month old Dog from the humane society back in 2009. This experience changed her life. “I had a love for this dog I’d never felt before. I don’t cry, I’m not an emotional person, but Guidry really made me have feelings, which was a little weird for me,” said Alanna. Guidry, named after for Yankee southpaw, passed away July 26th. On the 4th of July, Alanna launched Guidry’s Guardian Foundation.
The goal of Guidry’s Guardian Foundation is to be the financial backing to help people adopt and or foster dogs from shelters and off the streets. According to the ASPCA, 670,000 dogs are euthanized per year in the USA. This cause helps people who want to adopt these dogs, but have trouble with the often hefty adoption fees, bring these dogs to a happy home. Guidry’s Guardian foundation doesn’t only help with the adoption fees. Many dogs in these shelters have health problems acquired from being on the streets. Guidry’s Guardian Foundation also helps with the cost of these medical procedures. This is a wonderful cause, very close to the heart for Alanna.
Listening to Alanna on The Big Swing just really drove home what was already apparent. She’s a consummate professional, who takes every part of her job seriously. There’s a lot to admire about her attitude, even if her propensity for blocking people might have personally victimized you or rubbed you the wrong way. We often appreciate (rightfully so) Joe Davis and Orel Hershiser. Alanna Rizzo deserves as much respect and appreciation as they do. She works hard at her job. The players trust her, which should say enough, and so do her colleagues. Go give this episode of the Big Swing Podcast a listen, it’s a good one!
Also adopt, don’t shop.