Northeast Times

Seidman’s stock rising quickly for CSN Philly

Having just turned 25, Corey Seidman, who grew up in the Northeast, writes for CSN Philly and hosts ‘Phillies Nation’ on local television.

TV time: North­east nat­ive and G.W. grad Corey Seidman is seen dur­ing a re­cent ap­pear­ance on “Philly Sports Talk,” which airs weeknights on CSN. PHOTO COUR­TESY OF COREY SEIDMAN

If your cable pro­vider is a Com­cast Sports­Net car­ri­er, then odds are you’ve seen Corey Seidman on your tele­vi­sion screen.

While he’s not an ath­lete play­ing in pro­fes­sion­al sports con­tests that the net­work airs, Seidman has done the next best thing for most young boys who grow up sports fans: he be­came a journ­al­ist. 

Seidman’s name and face have been all over CSN and its web­site all by the tender age of 25, as he’s skill­fully man­aged to leap in­to the cut­throat Philly sports me­dia one lilypad at a time. Like most in the busi­ness, the 2007 George Wash­ing­ton gradu­ate star­ted at the bot­tom as an in­tern and worked his way up, though his speedy pro­gress and evol­u­tion to his cur­rent point have been stag­ger­ing.

“Like a lot of kids, I played base­ball, but I loved the game in a dif­fer­ent way than a lot of my friends,” Seidman said dur­ing a re­cent phone con­ver­sa­tion. “I was the guy who played base­ball video games and kept his own stat­ist­ics. I al­ways en­joyed the ‘nerdy as­pect’ of the game grow­ing up.”

As a young­ster, Seidman was pre­dis­posed to the ex­cite­ment of the sports me­dia in­dustry. His fath­er, Randy, is a loc­al award-win­ning sports tele­vi­sion pro­du­cer, and would take Corey and his older broth­er, Eric, to some of his work as­sign­ments when they were grow­ing up. Corey said some of his earli­est sport­ing memor­ies were at­tend­ing Trenton Thun­der games at the age of 12; but in­stead of watch­ing the games from the stands, he’d be in the press box along­side his dad, chart­ing stat­ist­ic­al pat­terns such as three-ball counts and first-pitch strikes. 

“I was 12, so I wasn’t get­ting paid,” he said. “But it got my head in­to the game and al­lowed me to see what the busi­ness was like at an early age. It also taught me how to con­duct my­self as a pro­fes­sion­al. As a res­ult, I did stuff in col­lege to make my­self known to the people who would end up hir­ing me. My dad was a hu­mong­ous in­flu­ence on my life, as far as my de­sire to get in­to the in­dustry went.”

Seidman ar­rived on Penn State’s cam­pus in 2007 with as­pir­a­tions to be­come a sportswriter and landed an in­tern­ship with CSN­Philly.com fol­low­ing his sopho­more year. The ex­per­i­ence ini­tially turned him off, and he re­turned to school and switched his ma­jor to polit­ic­al sci­ence, ex­press­ing a de­sire to be a sports agent or a law­yer and stay away from what he deemed “a dy­ing in­dustry.”

Seidman even went as far as work­ing a seni­or co-op at the At­tor­ney Gen­er­al’s of­fice in Wash­ing­ton and made a de­pos­it for Drexel Law School be­fore chan­ging course again. He said the job mar­ket was no bet­ter for as­pir­ing law­yers, and, tak­ing long-term over­all ca­reer sat­is­fac­tion and ful­fill­ment levels in­to ac­count, Seidman called an aud­ible and re-shif­ted his fo­cus back to sports journ­al­ism.

“I figured that the job mar­ket was scary either way, so I might as well fol­low my pas­sion,” he said. “If I was only go­ing to be a law­yer for the money, then I knew I’d be un­happy. The way I al­ways look at it now is, I might not make as much as a law­yer does, but I en­joy it every day. A lot of my friends drive fancy cars to a job they hate; for me, what I do doesn’t even feel like work.”

Seidman got back in touch with his CSN Philly boss, and even­tu­ally, a part-time job opened up. He star­ted out just read­ing oth­er writers’ copy, grunt work he didn’t mind since he was al­ways the per­son his friends asked to proofread their pa­pers in school. 

Seidman worked his way up quickly, tak­ing ad­vant­age of every op­por­tun­ity CSN threw his way, and now his byline is all over the web­site, mainly at­tached to Phil­lies stor­ies and columns. Of course, like many in the busi­ness, Seidman had a little luck come his way, too. While stand­ing in line a few years ago to au­di­tion for Who Wants to Be a Mil­lion­aire, he struck up a con­ver­sa­tion with a wo­man whose neph­ew had star­ted a web­site called Phil­lies Na­tion. He began to write for the web­site — for free in the early days — un­til the web­site’s founder, Bri­an Mi­chael, ap­proached Seidman and Pat Gal­len, the Phil­lies beat re­port­er for 97.5 The Fan­at­ic, to be the faces of a web-only TV show of the same name about the team.

The rights to the 30-minute pro­gram were later sold in 2011 to 2 Sports, the Le­high Val­ley net­work that airs the Phil­lies’ AA and AAA minor league af­fil­i­ate games. The show was later pitched to CSN and The Com­cast Net­work (TCN), who loved the idea: a dif­fer­ent brand of base­ball ana­lys­is that was more stat­ist­ic­ally driv­en.

“We don’t cri­ti­cize heav­ily, but we tell the truth,” Seidman said of his show. “There’s no fluff.”

Now, in ad­di­tion to be­ing fea­tured all over CSN’s web­site, Phil­lies Na­tion airs at 6 p.m. every Tues­day on TCN, then re-airs on both net­works throughout the week. It also fea­tures in­ter­views with re­lated ex­perts, as former Phil­lies Tommy Greene and Matt Stairs have served as re­cent guests on the pro­gram. He’s also ap­peared on “Philly Sports Talk,” a daily CSN roundtable dis­cus­sion pro­gram fea­tur­ing loc­al me­dia in­siders, and hosts a show on Phil­lies 24/7, a CBS-owned, Phil­lies-only ra­dio sta­tion that airs on HD Ra­dio 98.1 WOGL-HD4.

“My job right now is a per­fect blend of du­ties,” Seidman said. “I don’t cov­er a team on a daily basis, so I’m not a beat writer who’s nev­er home. And I know that any­time I have an idea, I have the con­fid­ence of my boss to write it.”

He writes mostly about the Phil­lies on CSN’s web­site, but has also covered the Eagles, Six­ers and loc­al col­lege bas­ket­ball teams. As far as ad­vice to as­pir­ing sports journ­al­ists, Seidman said it’s equal parts luck, hard work and ad­apt­ing to the in­dustry’s ever-evolving, di­git­ally-driv­en land­scape. Be­ing ver­sat­ile also helps. Seidman nev­er ma­jored in journ­al­ism or cre­at­ive writ­ing, but he had the pas­sion, wasn’t driv­en by get­ting rich and was nev­er lazy.

“It’s a tough field to get in­to, and you either have the pas­sion or you don’t,” he said. “There aren’t a whole lot of jobs, peri­od, so you either ad­apt or be­come ob­sol­ete. Don’t be lazy, put in the work and al­ways keep writ­ing. Put your­self out there. It might not be as luc­rat­ive as oth­er jobs, but you wake up and nev­er feel like you’re go­ing to work.”

Seidman’s bur­geon­ing ca­reer is still tak­ing shape, but he en­joys where he’s at. He looks up to guys like Mi­chael Barkann (loc­al) and Tom Ver­ducci (na­tion­al), ver­sat­ile, multi-plat­formed journ­al­ists who have pas­sion rooted in sports fan­dom while still be­ing able to ana­lyze ob­ject­ively. Seidman said he’s not us­ing this plat­form as a step­ping stone to ES­PN or any­where else; he loves where he is at the mo­ment, work­ing in “a sports-crazed mar­ket.”

“It’s been a com­bin­a­tion of op­por­tun­ity meet­ing luck,” he said. “I don’t like to spend time think­ing about what it means, but I do feel a strong sense of pride and con­tent­ment do­ing what I do at my age in such a big mar­ket. I get to leave work every day think­ing, ‘Wow, I’m real lucky, I have my dream job.’ ” ••

You can reach at emorrone@bsmphilly.com.

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