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.’ ” ••