Archive for the ‘ Travel ’ Category

Winter Meetings Job Seeker Journals: Julie Brady, December 9, 2014

Throughout this year’s Winter Meetings in San Diego, four attendees of the PBEO Job Fair have agreed to keep a journal chronicling their employment-seeking experiences (meet them all HERE.). In this, her third installment, Julie Brady banishes the metaphorical asteroid.  

Read all of Julie’s posts HERE.  

JulieBrady

Sometimes everything just goes wrong, you know? Your water bed springs a leak, you trip over your shoes, your maintenance check bounces, you die in a botched bank robbery, and then you have to live it all over again for the rest of eternity (I’ve been watching a lot of X-Files). Things pile on and it’s so hard to imagine that it’ll be ok again one day.

And then sometimes everything goes magically, incredibly, beautifully right. Sometimes it’s 10:30 a.m. on the first interview day of the Job Fair and you’re walking away from the Hilton with the promise of a job offer. In California. Where it’s warm, and there’s In-N-Out Burger, and mountains, and so much baseball.

Starting on January 5th, I will begin work as Marketing Coordinator for the Inland Empire 66ers in San Bernardino, California. That’s the first time I’ve written that out and, man, does it feel good. I didn’t want to jinx it by writing about it thoroughly or really at all yesterday, but now it’s official and all I have to do is find a printer to sign the agreement, so I can dish on the deets I know you’re all dying to hear.

In the two or so hours I spent applying for jobs at the San Diego Convention Center between Sunday afternoon and Monday, I dropped off probably 40 resumes. I carefully wrote down all of the job information for the positions I was applying for in the job posting room, then I carefully wrote that information in the top right-hand corner of my resume, then I carefully put all 40 resumes in the right resume boxes for the teams to pick up. There were more full-time positions than I thought there would be, but there were also a lot of people applying for all of them. I was just crossing my fingers and hoping for an interview. I’ve always been of the mindset that if I get the interview, I’m getting the job. Improv, people. It works.

And then, Bruce Willis stepped up to the plate and blasted that friggin’ asteroid to Nibiru. Mixed metaphors? Who’s ever heard of mixed metaphors?

Some background here: I spent the last half of my summer with the Kane County Cougars hanging out in the PA booth as often as I could, usually eating my stereotypical-intern-dinner of chicken tenders and fries (it was the most food for the least money). That’s where I realized that promotions and marketing is where I wanted to work. I’m an entertainer. It’s what I do. I want people to have fun. Scouting, analysis, player development, it would all be cool and fun and great, but I want to host the next Disco Demolition (I think we’re on Part 3 now). I want to have one idea in my life as innovative as the exploding scoreboard after a home run. I want to introduce something to baseball that baseball realizes it needs, and doesn’t know how it lived without.

Anyway.

It was in this PA booth that I got to know the PA announcer, Kevin Sullivan— Sully to friends and enemies. Sully is the kind of irreverent, brutally honest guy that either scares you away or draws you straight in (please realize that that is a compliment). When Sully realized that I could take his humor and throw it right back, I was granted Unofficial Rights to Sit in the Back of the PA Booth, Whenever. And it was a lot of fun. It was a fantastic backstage look, and I love going behind the scenes. Sully’s been in pro baseball for almost as long as I’ve been alive (but not so long in reverse-dog years), so when I wasn’t making jokes at appropriately timed intervals, I was keeping my mouth shut and learning a lot. And laughing a lot.

So, since it’s who you know, not what you know, Sully messaged me on Facebook Sunday night with a connection, the director of marketing for the 66ers. At 8 a.m. on Monday, I texted the number he gave me. By 8:30 a.m., we had a meeting set up for later at Starbucks. At 10 a.m. I found him and we talked about the team and the open positions and how I might fit in. And at 10:30 a.m., I was calling my mom and telling her I was moving to San Bernardino, baby.

So, although I still went to a bunch of interviews that day and signed up for a bunch more for today and tomorrow (better safe than sorry), I did so in sort of a stress-free dream state. It was so improbable. My very first interview of the whole thing was the one that landed me a job –I couldn’t believe it. I brought 150 resumes, business cards, a fatalistic attitude… and it all it took was one interview, an hour into the first day.

Talk about relief. Talk about gratitude. Talk about luck.

Today, after I accepted the offer and went to breakfast with my new team, I didn’t know what to do with myself. There was no need to do the whole job-posting-interview-scheduling song and dance, no need for me to walk another five miles. So I went back to the Hyatt, watched Ken Rosenthal pace around for a while, and then decided to go take a nap, because, well, I could. And it was glorious. My feet were almost as happy as I was.

Tomorrow is the last day of this crazy four-day experience, although it feels like it’s already been at least two weeks. I’m expecting to spend most of my time at the baseball trade show (free stuff!) and at the Hyatt, since I don’t need to go back to do job fair things. Then, it’s capped off with the gala at Petco Park, and everyone says goodbye and goes home to sleep for eight straight days, or so I assume. It’s been a total whirlwind, the busiest few days of my life, and although it’s been exhausting, I’m sorry that it’s almost over.

Congrats to Julie on the new job! Stay tuned for one more update from her this week, which will run on the blog Friday. (Thursday is a travel day for all involved). 

benjamin.hill@mlb.com

twitter.com/bensbiz

Winter Meetings Job Seeker Journals: Darius Thigpen, December 8, 2014

Throughout this year’s Winter Meetings in San Diego, four attendees of the PBEO Job Fair have agreed to keep a journal chronicling their employment-seeking experiences (meet them all HERE.). In this, his second installment, Darius Thigpen compares, contrasts and makes an apropos reference to the pride of Tallahassee. 

Read all of Darius’ posts HERE.

DariusThigpen

Day Two at the Winter Meetings: Can I Buy U a Drank?

Juxtaposition (noun) —  An act or instance of placing close together or side by side, especially for comparison or contrast.  In a sentence: The juxtaposition of the frantic, nervous energy of job seeking at the Winter Meetings and the relaxed nature of the veterans of the meetings plus the beauty of San Diego made for a curious day two.

In my Vine attached to this entry I initially pointed out the madness of the job seeking compared to beauty of the San Diego area. First off, I couldn’t get any shots inside the job posting room because I don’t want to get kicked out (no photography allowed). Secondly, Ben Gellman-Chomsky, who graciously invited me onto his podcast for the meetings, corrected me by responding to the Vine with “Not enough madness in my opinion.”

Dude was spot on.

After going into the job postings room and checking to see if teams wanted an interview, job seekers did A LOT of sitting around. We’re here looking for work so hanging around the events we’re not invited to (league meetings, owners meetings, the set of Baseball Tonight) doesn’t do us a ton of good. However, most of the people hiring the job seekers ARE in those meetings so we have to wait around for them to get done before we take the bottled up anxiety from hours of waiting for the interview that could change our lives and let it loose on the people who have been in meetings all day. It makes for an interesting scenario.

So you like the title of this post, right? For those who don’t know it is a reference to T-Pain (Tallahassee’s finest!) who had a song by that name reach number one on the Billboard Hot 100. It’s also a good summary for what happens at the Winter Meetings after dark, sort of. You don’t have to drink to be able to socialize, but you have to be able to socialize to make it in this industry.

The people hiring have to know they can trust you over the course of the longest season in sports and if they’d like to be around you that whole time. I’m not saying go to the bar and try to drink the first executive you see under the table, but definitely show that you can hold your own in conversation and be comfortable in a room full of (pretty important) strangers.

I loved getting to meet other broadcasters. Jon Chelesnik, CEO of STAA, is one of the nicest guys you could meet. He is energetic, personable, understanding of where we are in our careers and willing to help us take the next step. He’s the guy who you want to talk to about breaking into the industry because he knows it well. He’s willing to give you as much time as you’d like to talk and ask questions. He gives off the vibe of someone you’d love to hang around.

Meeting the creator of this very blog, Benjamin Hill, and the other job seeker writers was awesome. You can pepper Ben with questions about Minor League Baseball because he’s lived it. He travels around the country to different parks capturing the best the minors have to offer.

Sean was the first of the job seeking journal writes that I met. In his job hunt he’s kind of my mirror opposite. He wants to find jobs in media relations, writing and do everything that doesn’t have a broadcast element to it. He wants to be the guy who would make my job a whole heck of a lot easier as a broadcaster. That makes him my boy right off the top.

Then Katie entered. She and I were able to talk college baseball. Yes, many people scoff at the thought of the silly “ping” of a ball being barreled up, but Katie and I had a connection to the collegiate game. She works for Stanford baseball and I broadcast Ohio State games as an undergrad. Stanford beat Indiana in the NCAA Tournament this year, but Katie actually had a vested interest in the Hoosiers. She knows Sam Travis and Joey DeNato, a couple of the Hoosiers who helped lead Indiana to its first College World Series in 2013, leaving my Buckeyes in the wake. Thanks for reminding me of that.

Finally Julie arrived. She and I spent a short time gushing over how awesome Wayne Brady is (seriously, I wish I had his kind of talent). She has experience with improvisational comedy. Some of her skills from improv are being able to make adjustments on the fly, being entertaining and being able to roll with the punches even when the critics get unruly. Those are skills any professional should have, but in broadcast those are especially valuable tools. While she’s not looking to be a broadcaster I still learned a great deal from her.

On the one hand the Winter Meetings is intimidating because there are so many important people walking around, but on the other it comes down to whether or not you can get along with people. That goes a long way in this industry.

The next post from Darius, as well as posts from his three Job Seeker Journal compatriots, will appear on Wednesday. The saga continues… 

benjamin.hill@mlb.com

twitter.com/bensbiz

Winter Meetings Job Seeker Journals: Katie Carlson, December 8, 2014

Throughout this year’s Winter Meetings in San Diego, four attendees of the PBEO Job Fair have agreed to keep a journal chronicling their employment-seeking experiences (meet them all HERE.). In this, her second installment, Katie Carlson explores new possibilities, catches up with old friends and hob-nobs with the A-listers.  

Read all of Katie’s posts HERE

KatieCarlson

Network. Network. Network.

That was one of the main messages of yesterday’s seminar, and today that was my main focus. I started off the day attending Gio Hernandez’s workshop about International players’ road to the majors. I had never really thought about the possibility of working for the Commissioner’s office until I came to Winter Meetings, but after listening to Gio and talking to a few others, the Commissioner’s office sounds like an amazing opportunity. Not only is it an opportunity to work in baseball ops, but it’s an opportunity to get exposure to a variety of ball clubs and learn about all the rules and regulations that govern drafting and signing players. That’s a pretty valuable thing to understand, if you ask me! I made sure to introduce myself after the presentation and let him know how helpful his talk was for me.

After the workshop, I headed back to the convention center for a bit to check out new job listings and see if any interviews had been posted (none of the teams I applied for today posted interview schedules). In the postings area, I ran into an intern I knew from the Y-D Red Sox in Cape Cod. I also got to meet with one of my amazing bosses at Beverly Hills Sports Council.

Before coming to the Winter Meetings, I reached out to a few contacts to see if they could introduce me to anyone in baseball ops who may have any advice for me. Thank you Coach Dean Stotz for all your help! Thanks to him, I was able to connect with Phillies GM and fellow Stanford Cardinal, Ruben Amaro Jr. Mr. Amaro was so gracious with his time, even after I could not find him in the lobby bar and started to freak out that I had missed the opportunity to meet one of the people in baseball that I admire the most. Fortunately for me, he was very understanding and I was able to shadow him as he completed rounds of TV and radio interviews. What a smart and down to earth guy. Friends with so many people, he stopped to talk to everyone who came over to say hello.

The next stop I made was the Trade Show, where I specifically wanted to talk to one company that I had heard so much about (watch out for them guys, they’re the next big thing in video scouting!). OnDeck Digital premiered in the Cape League this past summer and they provide amazing footage of high school and college prospects, and will soon be expanding. I was lucky to talk to them at the Trade Show, and run into CEO Randy Flores at the bar later in the night. We’re both such enthusiastic people that it was really to fun to talk with him about our various exploits in baseball.

A special way to end the night was the chance to meet my fellow Job Seeker Journalists and the one and only Ben Hill. It was so nice to put a face with a name and to learn about everyone else’s Winter Meeting experience. Each one of us comes from a different baseball background and is looking for a job in a different area. I can’t wait to see where everyone goes in the coming months and years.

There will be more to come from Katie, and her three fellow Job Seeker Journal writers, on Wednesday. Stay tuned…

benjamin.hill@mlb.com

twitter.com/bensbiz

Winter Meetings Job Seeker Journals: Julie Brady, December 8, 2014

Throughout this year’s Winter Meetings in San Diego, four attendees of the PBEO Job Fair have agreed to keep a journal chronicling their employment-seeking experiences (meet them all HERE.). In this, her second installment, Julie Brady meets a lot of people, does a lot of stuff, and staves off cosmic doom for at least one more day. 

Read all of Julie’s posts HERE.  

JulieBrady

This is a long one, so please, get comfortable. I’ll wait.

It is 12:44 am. I’m lying in bed, and I’m scared to look at my feet. I’m scared that maybe they are not there anymore. I’m scared that if they are there, they may be purple and blotchy and useless and we may have to amputate. As long as I don’t look, the mystery persists, and it’s fine. Fine! Everything’s fine.

I don’t know if this is common knowledge or what, but the San Diego Convention Center, where the PBEO Job Fair is taking place, is pretty much a full mile long. You can probably see it from orbit. Heck, you can probably see it from Pluto. And guess how much of it job seekers have to walk? If your guess was “a lot,” then you are exactly right. There is a lot— a lot— of walking involved, between the resume workroom and the job posting room and the interview scheduling room and the actual interview room and the other workroom that apparently nobody knows about because despite its enormous size it was almost completely empty. Although, in retrospect, that may have been because nobody wanted to walk even more. I don’t blame them. There were points today where I wasn’t sure if my feet had the resolution and willpower to keep my whole mass upright, but they did. Feet, you’re the MVP of the day. Thank you, feet. I hope you are still there.

I’ve been up since 6 am, and I have basically been doing stuff since 6 am. To be fair, the first hour and a half of doing stuff was trying to go back to sleep, but as always ends up happening, I gave in to the harsh reality of being awake and got my butt down to the Convention Center (thanks for the ride and the housing, Hisers! You are the best). From there, I applied to at least a dozen more jobs that were newly listed in the job posting room, and set up an interview at Starbucks for later in the morning.

Here is an important note: if you are going to meet a potential employer at Starbucks for an interview, and you are in a downtown city area, you should make sure you know which Starbucks they mean so you don’t end up standing outside the closed convention area Starbucks and then realize after a phone call that it’s the one at the Hilton and power-walk in uncomfortable flats all the way over there. While this is good exercise, it does result in things such as three band-aids on your feet in various places (you know, if they still exist in corporeal form).

Luckily, I seemed to be forgiven for my delayed Hilton-Starbucks arrival, and the good vibes generated from that interview persisted for the rest of the day. I would have been happy with just two or three interviews; by the end of the day, I had done five, with four set up for Tuesday and one set up for Wednesday. I felt really good about all of them, and as I suspected before this all began, the magic words are “Bill” and “Veeck” and “I want to be.” I also suspect that tomorrow, I will have some more to say about one of the teams I interviewed with, but more on that probably, uh, tomorrow. I have also been talking about improv as a life skill basically nonstop at these things. You guys. Improv. Improv! IMPROV!

I did take a break from the Convention Center in the middle of the day to check out the Hyatt, which is where the center of activity of the Winter Meetings is. I’m much better at placing names to Twitter avatars than I am to faces, so I didn’t really know who anyone was, but it was cool being there amongst all the cameras, signage, and well-dressed, frantic people. Clearly, this was where Important Things were happening.

Then I went back and applied for more jobs and had more interviews and walked a lot more. At this point, I want to mention that I was in no way doing this alone. By some universal serendipity, at the Business of Baseball seminar yesterday, the girl who sat next to me turned to me and said, “Hi, I’m Julie.” Somewhat dumbstruck, I had to answer, “Me too!” Not only this, but a girl in front of us mentioned working for a Cubs Class A affiliate near Chicago. Extremely dumbstruck, I had to answer, “Me too.” Turns out, Hannah was an intern for the Cougars the summer before I was, and we had sat by each other by total coincidence. From there, our group has expanded, and I’m proud to say that it’s a strong little coalition of women trying to make it in this male-dominated industry (there are also a few dudes, but women! Yeah!).

One of these women is Liana Louie, who is switching fields from health care to baseball, in a move bolder than invading Russia in the winter. Liana has a mean eye for fashion, merchandising, and retail, as I found out at the opening of the Trade Show, and Liana is also among the best I have ever seen at starting conversations and making friends with completely random people. It’s kind of incredible.

I mention this because, at the Hyatt tonight (after finally meeting up with Ben, Katie, Darius, and Sean, which was a lot of fun!), Liana was a force of nature. Every time I sauntered over, she was talking to a scout here or a minor league GM there or this guy from MLB Network XM radio over there (all of whom were fascinating, helpful people). This culminated in a boom-boom series of events in the lobby, where she made the move to introduce both of us to the guy with white hair and black glasses— turns out, Joe Maddon is just as nice as he seems, which is very— and then to do the same to Kim Ng, who is just an incredible human being. I entered a state of mild shock for the last half hour or so of the night (which had the helpful double effect of turning the spongy mass beneath my ankles into something resembling appendages for a while longer), and it’s all thanks to Liana. You go, girl.

And now I’m in bed, and it’s 1:17 am, and I have my first interview of the day at 9:30. I’m still trying to get used to Christmas lights in palm trees and hearing “Jingle Bell Rock: when I’m outside without a jacket. I’m figuring out the best way to carry a suspiciously heavy shoulder bag filled with resumes without decimating the rest of my body. And, of course, I’m learning. I never stop learning. From interviewers, from co-job-seekers, and from those already firmly in the industry.

That unemployment asteroid has paused in its descent. It’s still there, scientists are still trying to figure out how to avoid it, but its terrible forward motion has ceased. I can only hope that, by tomorrow night, Bruce Willis has cracked it in half with his bare hands and thrust it out of the atmosphere towards opposite ends of the universe (again, I assume that this is what happens in Armageddon). All I can do now is interview, interview again, wait, and hope.

There will be more to come from Julie, and her three fellow Job Seeker Journal writers, on Wednesday. Feet don’t fail her now.

benjamin.hill@mlb.com

twitter.com/bensbiz 

Winter Meetings Job Seeker Journal: Sean Banks, December 8, 2014

Throughout this year’s Winter Meetings in San Diego, four attendees of the PBEO Job Fair have agreed to keep a journal chronicling their employment-seeking experiences (meet them all HERE.). In this, his second installment, Sean Banks, references License to Ill-era Beastie Boys, scores some prime real estate and has a serendipitous Trade Show encounter. 

Read all of Sean’s posts HERE

SeanBanks

I missed two classes and no homework. But, fortunately most of my professors are reasonable people and not jerks. Give me a choice between Music Literature class and the MLB Winter Meetings, and I’ll take the Winter Meetings every time. Sorry Prof.

To say today was a long day is an understatement. I used to hear people tell stories about jet lag, and I never believed them. I don’t fly a lot and before this weekend, I had never been west of Kansas City. But, holy cow…I was tired all day.

At around 8:00 this morning, four cell phone alarm clocks went off simultaneously, and nobody moved a muscle. Then they went off again. And again. Then we started making moves. As a result of this sluggishness, we didn’t quite make it to the Convention Center right at 9:00. We rolled in at about ten minutes past the hour and headed straight for the interview posting room.

We got all the job offers just like I said we would.

Or none. We actually got none of the job offers this afternoon. In fact, Nate was the only one that even interviewed with teams today. But, for all of you keeping score, don’t chalk this one up as a loss quite yet. I may not have interviewed with any teams today, but I found a way to achieve many small victories.

The first victory of the day was laying claim to a small table right outside the job posting and interview posting rooms. Clutch. Once we got a hold of it, we protected it with sword and shield to save ourselves a lot of walking to and fro and to and fro. From that point forward, we searched for our names on the clubs’ “we want to interview you” lists and “best of luck, kid” job postings in shifts. Talk about a team effort.

So what’s the game plan going forward? Well, to be honest, I haven’t quite figured that out yet. Wait. And then wait some more.

But, while you’re waiting — network. And today was a great day for it. Another victory. We met many fellow job seekers, exchanged stories and business cards, and talked about what we thought Tuesday might entail. And who knew you could network at the Trade Show? I certainly didn’t, but we found a way to do it. I’d say we’re getting pretty good at this.

And while I’m on the topic of the Trade Show, I might as well talk about the Winter Meetings t-shirt I bought there. It truly was destiny. I’m not a large person. I wear small t-shirts—which shouldn’t really be a surprise to a lot of people. But, when I asked for a navy blue Winter Meetings t-shirt at the counter, the lady working the booth broke my heart. No more smalls. Alright, game over. I quit. I’m going home. Cue Charlene.

I had never met Charlene, but she was standing at the counter and had just bought the last small shirt. She didn’t hesitate to offer it to me and take a medium instead. Destiny. I was supposed to be at that counter at that time to luck into the t-shirt I really wanted. I’m only kind of superstitious…but that had to be a sign, right?! So, I’ll chalk this one up as a victory too.

As I’m writing this, I’m sure Darius, Katie, and Julie are writing about their experiences too. But, I’d say getting to meet up with them and Ben was a pretty big victory for tonight, as well. There are so many great, genuine people in this industry. It’s no wonder there are some 600 job seekers in attendance. These are my people.

It’s also pretty cool to be a little star-struck when you see all the big-name baseball guys and you can just pretend it’s normal. I don’t need to ask for a picture with Kevin Millar because he’s just a guy.  I think if I keep telling myself that, I might eventually believe it.

I’d like to leave you with a profound thought from this fine Monday at the Winter Meeting. As a result of working the job and interview posting rooms in shifts, there were a few times when I was the only guard on duty. I took that opportunity to observe and listen to other people’s conversations (it’s not weird, I promise). Some interesting quotes:

Mystery Job Seeker 1: “Hey! What are you guys up to?”

Mystery Job Seeker 2: “Oh, you know…just hunting.”

Mystery Job Seeker 3: “Any luck?”

Mystery Job Seeker 4: “Not yet. Maybe tomorrow.”

What sums up this experience so far? I don’t think I can say it any better than these mystery job seekers. We have to keep hunting…and get right back at it tomorrow.

Hasta mañana, amigos. 

Much more to come from Sean, and his three fellow Job Seeker Journal writers, tomorrow. The hunt continues.

benjamin.hill@mlb.com

twitter.com/bensbiz 

Winter Meetings Job Seeker Journals: Katie Carlson, December 7, 2014

Throughout this year’s Winter Meetings in San Diego, four attendees of the PBEO Job Fair have agreed to keep a journal chronicling their employment-seeking experiences (meet them all HERE.). In this, her first installment, Katie Carlson shares the highlights of an inspiring first day at the Winter Meetings. 

KatieCarlson

“He gets to come to the ballpark everyday and get paid for it? That must be the greatest job in the history of the universe.”

I think Todd “Parney” Parnell echoed all of our thoughts when he explained to the job seekers his “aha” baseball moment, when he realized at ten years old that he wanted to work in Minor League Baseball. At the end of a very exciting, very long day, reminding me of the awe and joy I feel every time I set foot inside a ballpark to work another game was the perfect closing. The Business of Baseball Workshop kicked off this morning, and it was worth every second and every dime. The speakers who took the time to offer their advice were some of my personal baseball idols, and others soon became people who I aspire to be as well.

If you spotted a girl taking copious notes during each presentation, that was probably me, and not just because, I’ll admit it, I’m a nerd, but because I would also love to share the advice I received today with all of you. There were several themes that transcended each speaker’s presentation —network with others as much as possible, get an expertise that makes your opinion more valuable, identify what makes you unique, and learn how to sell (ticket sales, group sales, corporate sales, etc.) because you will be doing it at every level of an MiLB career.

Several sessions stood out to me in particular. First, I want to thank Giovanni Hernandez for the special shout out to us four job seekers! Your presentation definitely stood out, and was extremely helpful in covering what to do once you get an internship. Giovanni explained that internships are like an extended audition for a full-time job, and he gave many tips including “mouth shut/ears open” and go beyond what’s required of you. (“If you’re asked to do A, B and C, come up with D, E, and F too.”)

“Who Needs a League of Their Own? Women at the Top of the Game”, was an extraordinary opportunity to hear from some of the top women in the baseball industry. Being a young woman aspiring to go into Baseball Operations, I know that breaking into the industry will be a challenge, and I admire these women so much for paving a path for people like me. As Kim Ng said, “It’s a fraternity out there. Hopefully by doing panels like this we can inspire women that they can do it too”. You definitely inspired me, so thank you! Something that felt particularly relevant was Kate Cassidy’s comment that “a common female trait is to help everybody” but you have to “make sure not to stoop to a level that is below you.” Know the job that you are supposed to do, and do it. Go above and beyond, but do not let people push you around. Another big topic was overcoming the fear of failure. Jean Afterman explained, “I’m uncomfortable 80% of the time and you just have to overcome that. Manage the fear that you are going to fail. Nut up and overcome it.” Definitely one of my favorite quotes of the day!

Being the kind of nerdy baseball fan who asked for a subscription to Baseball America for my birthday, I was particularly thrilled to listen to John Manuel. The magazine’s approach, writing from a scouting and player development focus, is the kind of analysis that I love. Listening to him talk about broadcasting the First-Year Player Draft for the first time in 2002 fascinated me since I listen to every round of the draft. (Yes, even those “boring” late rounds that are only on the radio.) John also shared advice for what he looks for in employees, explaining, “I respect preparation and people who know the game.” It is important to have the expertise —“immerse yourself in [the game], do research. I expect a level of passion for the game.”

After the workshop was over, I tried to put all that advice into action, checking out the Job Postings room, submitting my resumes for several opportunities, and then heading over to the hotel bar with some interns I worked with last summer at Beverly Hills Sports Council, as well as with some new friends I met today. It always amazes me how much I enjoy talking to others who are knowledgeable about baseball. I’m excited to head back tomorrow to meet more job seekers and professionals.

There will be much more to come from Katie, and her three fellow Job Seeker Journal writers, on Tuesday. Congrats to all four journal writers for producing what was, in my opinion, a fantastic Day One recap. One down, three to go! 

benjamin.hill@mlb.com

twitter.com/bensbiz

Winter Meetings Job Seeker Journals: Sean Banks, December 7, 2014

Throughout this year’s Winter Meetings in San Diego, four attendees of the PBEO Job Fair have agreed to keep a journal chronicling their employment-seeking experiences (meet them all HERE.). In this, his first installment, Sean Banks overcomes early morning adversity, recognizes the cliches and soaks in the atmosphere. 

SeanBanks

I stepped in a puddle.

My Winter Meetings experience got off to a great start when I stepped out of the door in the gloomy mist in Evansville, Indiana into a puddle approximately the size of the San Diego Bay. I thought for sure the whole trip was doomed when I had to go change my socks before heading to the airport at 4:30 in the morning.

But, fortunately, the plane didn’t come crashing down, and we landed safely at 1:30 p.m. Pacific Time on Saturday afternoon. After getting settled in the hotel and exploring Gaslamp Quarter/spending our Indiana money on California dinner, Blake, Nate (my co-job-seekers for the weekend) and I met my cousin Brendan— a Navy officer here in SoCal—and enjoyed the time we had before the Job Fair activities began in earnest.

But, enough about not-Winter-Meetings-Job-Fair stuff.

Let’s talk about Winter-Meetings-Job-Fair stuff. Nate and I went to Orlando last year so this isn’t our first time rubbing our lucky rabbits’ feet and throwing salt over our shoulders before shipping off our resumes to a foreign land never to be seen again. We are hoping to hear from potential employers who happen to inhabit those places and might let us know that our resumes are safe and won’t be harmed. We’re hoping our qualifications will be sufficient for a couple clubs. Or thirty.

Unlike last year, we didn’t need to register on-site so we showed up to the Business of Baseball Workshop about 15 minutes early and found some seats in the second row to absorb all the knowledge we possibly could. I broke out my favorite Pilot G-2 pen and notepad and got set to learn how to become the next president of Minor League Baseball…or maybe I’m getting ahead of myself.

I was excited to hear Rob Crain, President and General Manager of the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders, speak and emcee the workshop for the second year—that guy gets it (even though he told the same stories). I hope someday to be as charismatic and forward as Rob. Oh, and it would be cool if I could be that successful someday, too. I made sure to pay particular attention to anyone with advice about or knowledge of baseball’s international operations. I will be studying in the Dominican Republic this coming spring so I found Giovanni Hernandez’s presentation (Manager of International Operations with Major League Baseball) to be particularly interesting because of the stories he shared about his time in the DR.

I hope I’m not out of line in saying that I’ve heard it all before: The hours are long. You have to network. Be yourselfYou have to pull the tarp.

Now’s the time to put it all in motion. In the job-posting room, I wrote down all the positions that made sense for my timeline and for which I wanted to apply. I wrote neatly on all my resumes and put them in their respective boxes like a good little direction-follower. And now the fun part — waiting. Nate and I described the process to Blake and Chris (our fourth hotel-mate who showed up during lunch), and I realized then that waiting really is the worst part. You know that terrible anxiousness you experience on Christmas Eve? Yeah…that.

But, I love this environment. We walked over to the Hyatt after finishing up at the Job Fair and talked a little with Joe Maddon (or maybe just took a picture). We also rubbed elbows with Curt Schilling and Bud Selig (maybe they just walked by us). I didn’t end up with a job as a result of last year’s Winter Meetings in Orlando, but I didn’t get discouraged or frustrated. These are my people. The experience was worth the price of admission.

So, hopefully we show up to the job-posting room these next few days and walk away with all the job offers. But, if we don’t, I refuse to leave frustrated with my time in beautiful San Diego. My experience with the Evansville Otters in the independent Frontier League came as a result of not finding a job with an affiliated club in Orlando. I’m resourceful, and I know if I stay positive, I’ll make it happen. It’s all about attitude, right?  I’m ready for whatever comes my way.

Let the games begin.

Much more to come from Sean, and his three fellow Job Seeker Journal writers, on Tuesday. The games have only just begun. 

benjamin.hill@mlb.com

twitter.com/bensbiz

Job Seeker Journals: Catching Up with the Job Seekers of 2013

During next week’s Baseball Winter Meetings in San Diego, California, four intrepid attendees of the annual PBEO (Professional Baseball Employment Opportunities) Job Fair will chronicle their employment-seeking experiences in a series of guest posts. Meet them all HERE. This marks the third season in which I have hosted “Job Seeker Journals” on this blog, and in advance of next week’s posts I thought that now would be a good time to hear from those who have trod down this road before. This post features career (and life) updates from 2013’s four journal writers (Click on the name of each job seeker to see all of the posts that they have written).

Meanwhile, a post featuring 2012’s journal writers can be found HERE.

Ian Fontenot 

Ian Fontenot- Headshot

Hello again,

It was just about one year ago that I took a leap of faith right before graduation and made my way down to Orlando for what proved to be a life-altering week. I went into the Baseball Winter Meetings expecting to find a great internship somewhere in the middle of the country. After spending four long days “hitting the pavement,” I left Orlando not knowing what to do. The only full-time job I interviewed for wouldn’t be making a decision for at least another month, while every internship I had been offered needed an answer within the next week or two. I chose to turn down each internship to stay in the running for the full-time position, which played out in my favor, and here I am today.

Currently, I’m the marketing manager for the Staten Island Yankees, the Class A Short Season affiliate of the New York Yankees, handling the team’s website, media relations, gameday publication and social media (follow us!). After nervously sitting at home unemployed in Port Barre, Louisiana, for two months, I got the job I had been holding out for. Not only did I get a full-time position, I also got the chance to live in New York City, which is much different than any place I had imagined myself in when I planned my trip to the BWM. Living and working in this city is exciting, stressful, intriguing and challenging, but certainly not boring. Plus, you never know when you’ll bump into Ben Hill during a mid-week game.

As far as my experience at the Winter Meetings, it was certainly positive. The Job Fair process is intense to say the least. It seemed like there was an equal number of job seekers and job postings. While talking to other job seekers, however, it was apparent that most people were there for one of three job categories: broadcasting, baseball operations and marketing/communications. Unfortunately, there were only a handful of full-time jobs available altogether (the vast majority were internships), and there were far more people looking to gain experience in the aforementioned areas than for sales, stadium operations, etc. This created a LOT of competition for the most appealing positions. I like to think that I was able to cut through the clutter by being very prepared. I brought tons of resumes, cover letters and business cards, and read several first-hand accounts of the Job Fair from previous years so that there wouldn’t be any surprises. But, most importantly, make sure that you enjoy the experience. While it might be stressful to have your future hanging with uncertainty, there are not many places where you’ll be able to shake hands with Tommy Lasorda, embarrass yourself in front of Mark Prior and walk amongst your childhood heroes all in one night. Best of luck to everyone attending this year’s Winter Meetings!

Alex Reiner 

AlexReinerHeadshot

It has been a rough couple of months for me.  Last year when I was going through the job seeking process, I knew surgery was looming for a torn labrum in my left shoulder. After my labrum was repaired in February (which forced me to miss my whole collegiate baseball season), I found out that I needed to get a minor procedure done on my lower back. While looking for opportunities at last year’s Winter Meetings, I knew I needed to find a position where I literately sat all day long.

I was offered a internship with a Minor League team in late January, but I turned it down because I was about to go in to surgery and I had no idea what the recovery process would be like. I did not want to make a commitment to a team if I ended up not being able to fulfill it. It really bummed me out because the opportunity justified my reasoning for going to the Winter Meetings.

In April, I got a call from Baseball Info Solutions in regard to an application that I had submitted at the Winter Meetings. It was a pleasant surprise, considering that the Winter Meetings were three months prior and I did not expect to hear from the company. I did a phone interview soon after and they offered me a “Video Scout” internship opportunity. I ended up working at BIS for the summer, and it was a fantastic experience. My first day at BIS was just two weeks after surgery, but the excitement of getting paid to watch baseball all day was the perfect morphine. Overall, BIS opened my eyes to analytics, and I’m extremely thankful for the experience.

I’m now a senior at Lynn University, and I am graduating in just a few weeks. However, you won’t see me at this year’s Winter Meetings as I’ll be starting graduate school in the spring (while I play my last two years of college baseball). At the end of my last post almost a year ago, I said I was “pretty sure that I just heard that bamboo lemur (in the Winter Meetings Job Fair jungle) that I had been searching for ruffling in the bushes.”  Looking at my timeline, I found the lemur, dropped it in a black hole, and then its brother attacked me in my sleep.  But the lemur has now come and gone, and while my journey is currently on hold, I’ll be heading back in to the forest come 2015.

Meredith Perri 

perri

I still remember exactly how I felt when I wrote the phrase “Just waiting…” for my final journal entry last winter. After spending an incredible couple of days in Florida running back-and-forth between the Job Fair and the media area, I was exhausted and, honestly, nervous. I was a senior in college trying to juggle my final semester, freelancing and searching for a place to work after graduation.

I never did get a job offer from any of the teams at the Winter Meetings, but I can say with complete certainty that I’m OK with that.

In the year since I attended the Winter Meetings, I wrote several features for FoxSports.com, graduated from Boston University, accepted a paid internship with the Cape Cod Times and, most importantly, got a job with MassLive.com as a high school sports reporter.

My summer with the CCT gave me some incredible opportunities, including a chance to shadow one of the Cape Leaguers as he experienced Fenway Park for the first time. Just as that internship was coming to an end, I was offered the job with MassLive and it was the perfect fit. I get to work toward my goal of becoming a professional beat reporter every day, and it really doesn’t get any better than that.

While the Job Fair didn’t lead to my current position, I still think that it was completely worthwhile. I had a chance to talk to professional writers about their experiences and learn more about the business of baseball. Most of all, I made really great connections with people who have helped me to continue my passion for sports journalism.

Oh, and I’m still annoyingly good friends with fellow journaler Kasey Decker.

So, that’s where I’m at right now. Thank you to Ben for giving me the chance to update you all on my whereabouts and for giving me the opportunity to talk about my Winter Meetings experience in the first place!

Kasey Decker

Kasey Decker

Hey there future job seekers! I still remember exactly how I felt leaving Orlando (it was a lot of panic because I wasn’t sure if I had returned my first-ever rental car correctly.) I have since taken a job outside of baseball to pay the bills, started my own blog, and I even took up my old gameday role with the Rome Braves again over the summer.

It’s definitely a challenge to keep applying, keep working on getting my name out there, and to keep my head up that something is going to come along.

As far as the Job Fair goes, I absolutely think that it’s worth it to go to once. I don’t know if I would recommend the second trip. I was planted pretty firmly between being overqualified for entry-level jobs and underqualified for higher-level jobs.

With all of that being said, I definitely gained a lot from my experience in Orlando the second time around. Writing for Ben helped me find my voice and allowed me to start my own blog (kaseyatthebat.com) that has grown steadily in the past year. I met fellow job seeker Meredith who I still talk to every day. Lastly, I now know the layout of the Swan & Dolphin resort and Downtown Disney well enough to give some solid travel advice.

Thanks to Ian, Alex, Meredith and Kasey for sharing their perspectives. Stay tuned on Monday for the first installments from 2014’s crop of job-seeking journal writers.

benjamin.hill@mlb.com

twitter.com/bensbiz

Job Seeker Journals: Catching Up with the Job Seekers of 2012

During next week’s Baseball Winter Meetings in San Diego, California, four intrepid attendees of the annual PBEO (Professional Baseball Employment Opportunities) Job Fair will chronicle their employment-seeking experiences in a series of guest posts. Meet them all HERE. This marks the third season in which I have hosted “Job Seeker Journals” on this blog, and in advance of next week’s posts I thought that now would be a good time to hear from those who have trod down this road before. This post features career (and life) updates from three of 2012’s Job-Seeker Journal writers; click on their names to see all of the posts that they have written.

Meanwhile, a post featuring 2013’s writers can be found HERE.

— 

Clint Belau (I took the below photo during my visit to Albuquerque in April 2014):

Clint

Alright, buckle up: Here comes your annual installment of “Where is Clint Belau now?” In 2014, my second year with the Albuquerque Isotopes, I transitioned from stadium operations to field operations.  Yes, I DO still take a moment or two (or considerably more) out of each day to stop and smell the proverbial roses.  If I’m allowed to throw in a boastful moment, I am the assistant to the unanimously-selected “2014 Pacific Coast League Sports Turf Manager of the Year” Casey Griffin, so I am literally learning from the best.  It was a different kind of pride that I felt this year, being able to prepare a field that players, managers and umpires considered the best, and one that left me feeling more fulfilled.  It was a “just when you think things couldn’t possibly get better…” season, and it certainly has.  I am living my dream on a daily basis.

As for the significance of the Job Fair? I would not be where I am without it, for real.  The Job Fair is where I interviewed for my Isotopes internship. It’s where I listened to seasoned veterans of the business say things that made me question if I was making the right choice by getting into baseball as a career. It’s where I immediately answered those questions with “Absolutely!” It’s where my network of baseball people first began developing. It’s where I built momentum, gained valuable knowledge, and got my baseball nerd on for four days straight. It’s the first time a career in this incredible game felt like a real possibility to me. It was a chance that I definitely had to take. If you are hoping for a career in baseball, then I strongly recommend that you do the same.  

Chris Miller

ChrisMillerPicture

I took a year-round internship with the Indianapolis Indians after the 2012 Winter Meetings, as a web design assistant.

My time with the Indians was the best career decision that I have ever made. I got to spend every day within what is my opinion the best Minor League Baseball organization in the country. On top of an amazing facility, I was fortunate enough to learn a lot, meet some people who are now my best friends and, perhaps most importantly, establish my acting career.

I left my internship with the Indians a few weeks early because I accepted a full-time position with the Adirondack Phantoms of the American Hockey League. I spent the 2013-14 season with the Phantoms as their director of game operations & marketing, overseeing their game presentation, promotions, graphic design and other marketing duties. I left the baseball season and had about a two-week “off season” before the hockey season started.

When I went to Nashville for the Job Fair, I had already secured an internship with the Indians and had several interviews lined up for other positions. So, it could be said that the Winter Meetings did not benefit me much. However, physically being there I think allowed me to make the already difficult decisions easier. Being in a room and having access to hundreds of front office employees is a huge benefit that you can’t get unless you’re physically there.

I enjoyed my time so much in Indianapolis that I wanted to get back to the city. I recently left the sports industry to take a marketing specialist position with Elements Financial. Although I took a step away from the sports world, I wouldn’t be where I am if it wasn’t for the Winter Meetings.

Eric Schmitz

schmitz

I had a great experience at the 2012 Job Fair. But, looking back, it feels like a missed opportunity. My fumbles and feelings on the event were well documented, but I didn’t leave empty-handed. A short time thereafter I was offered a seasonal sales position with a team in California, but decided to turn it down to take a marketing position with an advertising firm located back in Buffalo. Two years later, I’m no longer there and have a better perspective on my career and where I’d like to go with it.

The key, though, is staying in the game however you can. I’m in my second season with the Buffalo Bills, spending 2013 as a game day service representative in the ticket office before getting moved to premium services this season. I spend game days helping guests, answering questions and addressing issues in the premium club areas.

I’ve also helped co-found the Buffalo Soccer Council, an advocacy group dedicated to growing soccer in Western New York, with the goal of helping bring a professional soccer team to Buffalo. It’s been a great learning experience, starting a company and building it from the ground up.

But I really do miss Minor League Baseball, and I’m still looking for an opportunity that can be sustainable. I’m not sure that this year’s PBEO Job Fair would’ve been worth the trip as far as job seeking goes (seems more like resume collecting for teams), but each Winter Meetings provides at least a very memorable week. I’m hoping to catch on somewhere that will give me the opportunity to go back, as a professional instead of as a job seeker. If not, there’s always next year.

Thanks to Clint, Chris and Erik for sharing their perspectives. Stay tuned on Monday for the first installments from the 2014’s crop of Winter Meetings job seeking journal writers.

benjamin.hill@mlb.com

twitter.com/bensbiz

For Thanksgiving, a Baseball Miracle

Baseball Miracles is a 501c3 foundation, headed by White Sox scout John Tumminia, that describes itself as follows:

[We are] a team of baseball and softball instructors who join together to teach boys and girls with economic and environmental disadvantages throughout the world. We strive to reach out, especially to youth who have never played the game. At no cost, we provide instruction, gloves, bats, hats, shirts and memories. In reaching these objectives we receive no financial compensation but we do seek and search out sponsorship to get us to our destinations. Our mission is to serve others with joy by having fun, like when seeing a child hit and catch a ball for the first time. 

miracles

I’ve written about Baseball Miracles several times in the past, most notably in this 2013 MiLB.com feature story. That piece mentioned Baseball Miracles’ excursions to the Dominican Republic and South Dakota’s Pine Ridge Indian reservations, and since then the organization has only grown more global in scope. At the end of October, representatives from the organization — including Minor League pitchers Mike McCarthy and Virgil Vazquez — traveled to South Africa and worked with young orphans at the Stinkwater Nursery:

friends

photo: Gerrit Van Rensburg

McCarthy gives a gum-chewing demo:

mccarthy_gum

Photo: Todd Bliss

Vazquez and his pupils:

vazquez

Tumminia and friend:

tumminia

Photo: Gerrit Van Rensburg

The bottom line, as I hope the above text and pictures have made clear, is that Baseball Miracles is an organization well worth supporting. Baseball equipment (in general) and gloves (in particular) are needed for the children who participate in these camps, and Tumminia emphasizes that monetary donations are greatly appreciated as well. If interested in donating money or equipment please email him directly at jtumminia@chisox.com.

IMG_0794

John Tumminia: founder of Baseball Miracles and member of the Professional Baseball Scouts Hall of Fame

Next up for Baseball Miracles is a 2015 trip to Comayagua, Honduras. On the cusp of Thanksgiving — and the holiday season at large — why not lend a hand to a cause that should appeal to those who work in baseball as well as those who simply love the game?

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours and mine and everyone. I’ll be back in the office on Monday, ready for a week filled with re-branding unveils and Winter Meeting preparations. And, of course, if you’re going to be in San Diego for the Winter Meetings then let me know. I’ll be happy to make your acquaintance.

benjamin.hill@mlb.com

twitter.com/bensbiz

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