HOUSTON -- Thirteen-year-old Chevy Play Ball reporter Jayla Montgomery hopes to be a television reporter someday, and, given how comfortable she is in front of a camera, it's a safe bet she has a future in this business.Montgomery, a four-year member of the New Orleans Youth Academy who plays softball
HOUSTON -- Thirteen-year-old Chevy Play Ball reporter Jayla Montgomery hopes to be a television reporter someday, and, given how comfortable she is in front of a camera, it's a safe bet she has a future in this business.
Montgomery, a four-year member of the New Orleans Youth Academy who plays softball and loves the Dodgers, is completely at ease as both the interviewer and interviewee. She was a special guest at Minute Maid Park as the featured kid reporter before the Yankees-Astros MLB Network Showcase Game on Tuesday. She bantered around with Kevin Millar on the remote set of "Intentional Talk," chatted with Astros second baseman Jose Altuve and got a clear taste of what a day in the life of a baseball reporter is all about.
"I just see baseball players as people who made it where they're trying to get to, and where they wanted to get to, when they were kids," Montgomery said, just before joining Millar on the "Intentional Talk" set. "I'm a kid, and I want to get there, too. To be able to interview [ballplayers] is very exciting. I can't wait to do it."
Montgomery has already gotten an early start chasing her career aspirations. In addition to softball, Montgomery participates in several vocational programs in her hometown of New Orleans, including Sports Law, Jr. Broadcast Program, Entrepreneur Program and Science of Baseball STEM Program.
Montgomery also took part in a Youth Academy focus group Q&A on how youth engage in sports, how they follow baseball and the state of diversity in sports, as well as at the Academy.
Montgomery's warmup with kid-at-heart Millar was good practice for the rest of the day. The two joked on the set about Montgomery's hometown New Orleans Saints, and he teased her for being a fan of not only the Dodgers, but also the Yankees -- Millar's arch-nemesis during his time with the Red Sox.
"He's a really cool guy," Montgomery said of Millar. "He's funny. He can relate to kids, and it was really nice working with him."
After their segment, Millar commended Montgomery for her poise and maturity.
"She was asking the right questions and really wants to do well," Millar said. "She's going to be great. She's ready to host the show tonight."
Following her "IT" debut, Montgomery sat with MLB Network analyst Tom Verducci while she interviewed Altuve. She asked the reigning American League Most Valuable Player Award winner what he'd be doing for a living if he wasn't a baseball player.
"He said he would be a soccer player, because he loves sports and it's just so much fun," Montgomery said.
Montgomery wasn't just on-camera during her experience as the Chevy Play Ball Reporter. She also witnessed what it's like to be a beat writer, covering a team from batting practice right up to first pitch.
Montgomery even hopped into the middle of Yankees manager Aaron Boone's "media scrum" -- the 15-minute session before every game when the manager fields questions from reporters. For teams like the Yankees, those scrums are often three rows deep and involve dozens of reporters.
"This has been an excellent experience," Montgomery said. "I love doing this. I'm doing what I love, and I get to be around people who do this every day."
Before retreating to her seats to watch the game with her mother, Montgomery got a quick tour of the Minute Maid Park press box and met Astros television announcers Geoff Blum and Todd Kalas.
"I have to warn you," Blum said. "This job is awesome."
Montgomery probably already knew that, but it can't hurt to receive a little reassurance from the pros.
"I'd watch people on TV and I said, 'Whoa. That's what I want to do,'" Montgomery said. "That's what I want people to do when I'm on TV."
Alyson Footer is a national correspondent for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter @alysonfooter.