Area girl on mission to interview MLB stars


Interviews with Yankees’ star outfielder Curtis Granderson, the Tampa Bay Devil Rays’ ace pitcher David Price and Miami Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton are major “gets” for most sports reporters. 

But 12-year-old Haley Smilow takes her meetings with Major League Baseball (MLB) stars in stride.

“I don’t get nervous easily, so I wasn’t that nervous,” the Riverdale resident said of her first interview, with Mr. Price. “I was just more shocked about certain things, to see how everything is behind the scenes and see how baseball players really are.”

Since she was 9-years-old, Haley and her family have trekked throughout the country on a mission to visit every MLB stadium. Along the way, she has interviewed 15 pro ballplayers, regularly getting write-ups printed in outlets including Sports Illustrated Kids and Baseball Youth.

So far, the Smilow family has visited 22 of the 30 MLB stadiums. On their most recent trip, they drove to Cincinnati and Pittsburg, then flew to Dallas and parts of Florida.

Such an undertaking is not unheard of among families of baseball fanatics. 

However, in her journalistic work, Haley is overcoming the dyslexia she was diagnosed with as a toddler.

“This has been a really good way to help with her writing and — I don’t know about self-esteem, because she has good self-esteem — and just be more articulate,” said Haley’s mother, Jill Smilow.

In Haley’s process, she said she spends about a week researching her interviewee and taking notes. After that, she devotes a day or two to writing up her questions. Once the interview is done, she transcribes the questions and answers and usually sends them to publications. Haley’s father, who also has dyslexia, helps throughout the process.

“My writing has definitely gotten better,” Haley said. “But it’s also with school and stuff that it gets better, because they help with strategies, too.”

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