Adam Rubin graduated from Mepham High School in 1991. He is also a graduate from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. Since then, Rubin has become a household name in sports journalism. As a successful reporter and New York Mets beat writer at the New York Daily News, Rubin's name jumped into the spotlight after a 2009 press conference during which former Mets General Manager Omar Minaya falsely accussed Rubin of writing articles as a way to lobby for a position in the organization – something Rubin addressed shortly after the incident.
In 2010, Rubin left the Daily News for ESPN New York, where he is the featured Mets blogger.
Rubin took the time to sit down with Patch for a little Q&A about his life in journalism, and a few of his memories from Bellmore.
Q: What was your strongest subject in school while attending Mepham? Your favorite?
A: I was more mathematically inclined, so I would probably say the math courses. I enjoyed my experiences with a lot of the math teachers there. Paul Cohen was one of the teachers, John Masserella was another. … He was my teacher for a couple of years there. Definitely, I was more inclined in math, even though post-schooling I ended up in more of a written, journalism-type field.
Q: When did you realize you wanted to be in journalism/sports journalism?
A: It just kind of worked out that way. When I went to college, I went to Wharton, the business school at UPenn, and I joined the college paper there just more to kind of be involved in the sports department and be involved with sports and journalism. But I slowly got hooked by journalism, so when I started getting internships, I started getting internships in journalism rather than in the business field.
One of my first internships was the summer between my sophomore and my junior year of college. I wrote for a group of ‘would-be’ papers on the south shore of Long Island. It didn’t include Bellmore, but it included Oceanside and Valley Stream and those communities. That chain doesn’t even exist anymore, I don’t believe. At that point it started to become more realistic.
I had a second internship while in college, in Birmingham, Alabama, and that’s the paper that hired me after I graduated, so by that point it was getting a little more serious.
Q: While you now work for ESPN New York, most readers know you from your days at The Daily News. How did you end up at The Daily News?
A: There are so many qualified people around the country who could be working at the New York Daily News, but are working at smaller papers. I was just very fortunate. I had worked at a day camp growing up – Coleman Country Day Camp in Merrick. I was working in the south in Birmingham after college and my father was still at the camp as the director of the camp, and one of the guys I knew from growing up working at the camp came back to visit and saw my father and asked what I was doing. My father told him I was a sports writer down south. The guy said he was on the board of a chair with Mark Kriegel, who was a prominent sports columnist for the Daily News at the time. He put me in touch with Mark Kriegel.
Mark Kriegel didn’t even know me from anything. He just saw a couple of my writing samples and decided to lobby the sports editor for a year just to hire me, just to be nice, not that he knew me or anything. Eventually when they had an opening, they ended up hiring me.
Q: What is the best experience you have had while working in journalism?
A: There have been a ton. … Let me give you two. One, working in Birmingham I got to cover the Olympics. I graduated from college in ‘95 and the Olympics were in Atlanta in ‘96. Birmingham was one of the sites of the soccer [games], so I got to cover the U.S. men’s soccer team – all of the tune-up games leading up to the Olympics and then the Olympics itself. In fact, the Birmingham paper actually flew me to Long Island for one of the tune-ups for where the U.S. soccer team was practicing. They were practicing at Mitchell Field at the time, so that was a tremendous experience.
I got to cover the U.S. opener at Legion Field in Birmingham against Argentina, which was one of the big gold-medal favorites. The U.S. scored 30 seconds into that match and 80,000 people erupted. It was just a fun experience to be around.
The other experience that I’ll never forget was baseball related. I was helping cover the Mets the first game back after Sept. 11 when Mike Piazza hit the home run. It just kind of changed the momentum at the end of that game and just how much it meant to be at that game was unbelievable.
Q: What is the worst experience you have had while working in journalism?
A: Well, people might remember a couple of years ago kind of the interaction at that press conference with Omar Minaya, but I'm actually going to say something else. Obviously I grew up in Bellmore in New York, and the southern accent is significantly different. I think it was still while I had an internship in Birmingham, I heard Chan Gailey, who ended up being an NFL coach, say “I can be proud of” of whoever he was talking about. I swear, because he had such a pronounced southern twang, I thought he said, “can’t,” and I write the exact opposite of what he meant. … I think I was still an intern. I was mortified. But I’ll attribute it to the difference in accents between New York and Alabama, and I learned from it.
Q: What’s it like having grown up on Long Island and being able to cover a local team like the Mets?
A: It’s certainly nice to be close to home. My parents are still in Bellmore and obviously it’s a team you followed growing up. It certainly means something. I was actually more of die-hard Islander fan than anything. My family shared season tickets with another family growing up. I sat in section 210 – I still remember that. But I obviously followed the Mets as well.
The one thing though, is once you start covering a team you really have to divorce yourself from being a fan. You certainly appreciate it, but you can’t let that blemish your writing. You have to try to be as objective as possible, and not a cheerleader, or on the flipside, too negative either. You try to keep a balance of being fair without being a fan.
Q: What are some of your fondest memories of Bellmore and Mepham High School?
A: Just kind of growing up in Bellmore, for whatever reason, the thing that sticks out more than anything, I grew up in a cul-de-sac. My family is still in the same house and my parents are still in the same house. I just remember playing roller hockey outside almost everyday, outside our house. In fact, it was the snowy kind of weather that was our vein because they used to, and I guess they still do, they put the sand on the street to melt the ice. After the ice is gone, the sand is still there and it kind of chewed up your skates and didn’t let you skate as well as you wanted. … That’s kind of one of the lasting memories.”
Editor's Note: Did you graduate from Mepham with Adam in 1991? Be sure to register for the Mepham Class of '91 reunion, which is scheduled for April 30 at Mulcahy's in Wantagh.