Lisa Salters' favorite things revolve around the yin and yang of a life that is all about travel and hunkering down at home — a four-level loft-style townhouse in Fells Point — with the love of her life, her 9-month-old adopted son, Sam.
"He is the best thing that has ever happened to me," says Salters, 47. He's "somebody who's more important than [me]. ... Even if I'm sleepy and tired, it doesn't matter. It's all about him,"
A journalist for ESPN since 2000, Salters works as a "Monday Night Football" sideline reporter, NBA courtside reporter and as a reporter for the investigative newsmagazine "E:60."
She describes "Monday Night Football" as "a runaway train. It just doesn't stop."
This season, that meant planning game coverage on Wednesdays and Thursdays, driving to Philadelphia on Fridays to leave Sam with her parents, flying to the game city, interviewing players and coaches of the home team on Saturdays, interviewing the visiting team on Sundays, working the game Mondays and traveling home on Tuesdays.
What's more, when she hasn't traveled for work, she has traveled for play.
That's why home is so important to Salters, who moved back to Baltimore, where she had been a reporter at WBAL-TV from 1988 to 1995.
"I knew I wanted to adopt a child. So I knew I wanted to be someplace where I had friends and was close to my family. I was in California, and it was just too far," she says. "Baltimore was a place I had known and loved."
Yes, but just try to get her out on that town.
"I like the idea of going out to dinner and stuff like that, but I would so much rather just be home. I just love my space. It is like a refuge. I never have makeup on here. I don't have to look like anything. ... It's a place where I can be not on TV."
A painting from Vietnam
"This one is my favorite. I got that one in Saigon, Ho Chi Minh City," she says. "I love the yellow in that painting. And I just love how the artist [made] the lady with no facial features, yet you can see her facial features in it. I also love the pop of red that it has."
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater poster featuring Alicia Graf Mack
Mack, a Columbia native, is Salters' cousin and dances with the storied troupe. "Whenever I'm in the same city where she's dancing, I always go to her show," Salters says. "Last year, she was [featured on] the poster. It was so funny. I would see her in airports, on billboards, on buses. It was always so cool. It's like, 'That's my cousin!' "
"It's just so relaxing in the summertime. I have music piped in, so it has speakers up there," she says. "It's not a water view or anything like that, but you can see the little Natty Boh guy at night — lit up — and I love that. ... It just says Baltimore to me."
A bottle of Chateau Fombrauge
Salters typically brings home wine finds from her travels. "That particular bottle I got in Paris in, maybe, 2002. It was just a delicious bottle that I had there, and I knew I couldn't get it here, back in the States," she says. "It's a spectacular bottle of wine, and I don't know what occasion is going to make me open it."
Kobe Bryant Los Angeles Lakers jersey
Of the framed jerseys she shows off, this is her favorite, "because we just get along really well," she says. "Kobe texts [me] and checks in about Sam — 'How's he doing?' [or] 'How are your holidays? How's the summer doing?' We just get along really well. It goes beyond basketball."
Red leather chair and ottoman
"I got that in San Francisco. It is so comfortable to me. You just sit and sink into it," Salters says. "And I love that it's red. My room is not red. But that chair [provides] the pop of red that I like."
The flag that covered the casket of Catherine LaVeice Shelton
Her favorite aunt, who died in 1991, had been a member of the Women's Army Corps during World War II. "We went on all of our family vacations with her. And it seems that I grew up and have lived a similar life," Salters says. "When good things happen, I still [will say] 'Veice' — I called her Veice — 'you'll never guess what happened. Guess what happened at this game?' ... My [biggest] regret is that she never met Sam."
Sam was born in March, and Salters went on leave for several months. "So, when 'Monday Night Football' started, it was me also going back to work again," she says. Before each game, "I take Sam's rattle and I kiss it. ... That's my good-luck charm."
Her favorite of all her "Monday Night Football" coats this season
Each year an ESPN wardrobe consultant works with designer Max Mara on Salters' wardrobe, planning multiple options for each game. She's given a book in June that lays out the season's ensembles. It tells her, "This is the game, these are the teams playing, this is the climate, this is what you're supposed to wear, and this is a picture of you in it, in case you forgot what that looks like." Salters also tries to make sure she's not wearing colors of the teams playing that week. "That happened once. Thankfully, it was a preseason game here in Baltimore. I was wearing a light-blue sweater. ... Someone from the Ravens said, 'You're wearing Carolina Panthers colors.' And I was like, 'Oh jeez.' "
Samick baby grand piano
Though Salters hasn't taken lessons she was 17, she still plays to relax. "It's just something to sit there with a glass of wine and tinker. Sam likes to sit on my lap and bang on the keys, as well. I've always loved the piano, because — to me — it's the sexiest instrument that there is. It commands the room. At a symphony, it commands the stage."