What Ian Browne Did On His Winter Vacation
Baseball writer does not have much spare time in the offseason.
There was very little doubt, back in 2003, when Ian Browne was shopping around for a house in West Roxbury, that he would go for the one he ended up buying. As a beat writer, covering the Red Sox for the Major League Baseball Website MLB.com, he noticed there was a Little League field just behind his back yard.
What were your thoughts when you saw that?
When I was I kid growing up in Cohasset, I used to go to the Little League field even when I wasn’t playing. I just love being around baseball. So as soon as I saw the field here I knew we had to buy the house.
Did you want to play ball when you grew up?
I played third base. I was a hard worker, and made the all star team one year. But I knew I wasn’t good enough to play professionally. My dream was to be a play by play guy. I used to listen to Johnny Most with the Celtics, and Ned Martin with the Red Sox. I was always doing my own play by play of the game. But as I got into school, the writing started coming naturally to me. I was always good at writing and I loved sports. So I ended up combining them.
How did you get involved with MLB.com?
I was working at CBS SportsLine in New York, covering pretty much every sport. But in 2001 I was one of 90 who were laid off. I got a job as a national writer at MLB.com, and at the end of 2001 they asked me if I wanted to move back to Boston and cover the Red Sox. It’s always been my dream. So I did that in 2002.
What do you do when the season is over?
Last year, when the Red Sox didn’t make the playoffs, I helped cover the division series – Tampa Bay against Texas. Then I covered the Yankees against Texas. But I didn’t do the World Series because my kids hate it when I miss Halloween.
What happens to you when there’s no baseball to write about?
I go from this person who’s traveling and never home and working odd hours to this person who’s home all the time. So it’s waking up with my kids, getting them to school, picking them up, doing the shuttle thing to swimming practice, all of that. But when the off season starts, the Red Sox begin with free agency and trades. So I write 12 months a year. I’m in charge of redsox.com, and we need fresh content all the time.
Do you watch sports all year?
With the Red Sox, my passion is writing about the Red Sox. But you don’t have the fan emotions that much. You can’t ride the ups and downs. You’re just looking for the good story. So when I’m sitting around the house, I’m into watching other sports. It’s more of the fan experience. I’m the biggest Celtics fan ever, and it’s pretty close with the Patriots. But I’m not a hockey guy.
Do you play Fantasy Baseball?
I’ve been involved with one team with a friend of mine since 1995, and I’ve been in one other league since 2006. I’m not that good at it, but it does help the job a little. It keeps you a little more up to date on players outside the Red Sox.
And now spring training is right around the corner.
Yeah, my life changes again on Feb. 9. That’s when I’ll get on the plane and go to Fort Myers. During baseball season I’m a second shifter. I leave for work at 2:30 in the afternoon for a 7:00 game, and I’m there till about midnight. But at spring training, everything’s early. You get to work by 8 in the morning and you’re done around 5.
So how many games will you cover this year?
Between home and on the road, the team plays 162 games. I cover about 120 of them, plus 90 percent of spring training, and the playoffs, if they happen.
Do you think the Sox will be in the playoffs?
Unless they get hurt, I don’t see any way they don’t make it. Either the Red Sox or Yankees will finish first and second, and whichever team finishes second will be the wild card.