By David Lauterbach, special to MiLB.com
Throughout this year’s Winter Meetings in Nashville, four attendees of the PBEO Job Fair have agreed to chronicle their employment-seeking experiences (meet them all HERE.). In this, his second installment, David Lauterbach expands his horizons, catches a glimpse of a legend and, inevitably, gets lost.
Well I haven’t gotten to Hideo Nomo yet, but I have made progress… I think.
Day two is in the books and I think it was much more successful than the first because well, I actually applied to some jobs and that’s the point of attending the Job Fair. So, yes, it was successful.
Bright and early at 9 a.m., I was outside the job postings room and ready to go in. Surprisingly unlike the first day, not as many people were in the room, which allowed me to walk freely in the aisles to peruse the different jobs posted. After looking them all over, I went to the work area and began to apply.
I’ve always wanted to be a broadcaster and I still want to be, but those aren’t the only jobs I applied to. To be successful in broadcasting, I’ve always been told the most important thing is to get your name in front of as many people as possible. That’s why I also applied to media relations jobs that involve no broadcasting, because most posted are for Triple-A or MLB teams. Those are the exact people I need to get my name in front of. Who knows if I will be interviewed for those jobs? Well, the people that looked over my work yesterday do, but that’s not the point. The point is that when you come to this Job Fair, it’s important to not pigeonhole yourself. The ultimate goal for everyone here is to make the big leagues. As a result, you have to be willing to work any odd job you might have to in order to get that call one day down the road.
After a couple hours in the job postings area, I spoke with a couple people I knew who already have jobs and heeded their advice to get out of the Job Fair. As a result, I went with a couple friends on a long tour of the hotel. Okay, maybe it wasn’t a long tour. We were trying to find a couple places where people were congregating and we got lost. Ben, my “getting lost” count is now at four. I think your “bet the over” for seven is looking very likely.
We walked around the hotel, watched a couple minutes of MLB Network’s coverage, caught up with some old friends, met some new friends and even saw, for one brief second, Don Mattingly. When we saw Donnie Baseball walk by I realized how big this place really is and how true this tweet from Jayson Stark was. This place is so massive, the government really could place the Witness Protection Program here. I have seen only one big league executive walk through (being on MLB Network doesn’t count in my opinion) and now one manager. I expect to not see another over the final two days I’m here.
Going back to meeting up with old friends and getting to know new ones, that’s the best part of the Winter Meetings. As a broadcaster, I follow a lot of other broadcasters on Twitter, so it’s kind of funny to run in to people who I feel like I’ve known for a year or more and talk to them for the first time. But what’s even better is that because everyone here is in baseball; it’s not awkward. All you have to do is sit down and talk about the hot stove, your last season, their last season, what each of you is looking for, and whether a hot dog is a sandwich. By the way, a hot dog is in fact not a sandwich.
From there, I put my feet up in my room for a little bit before heading to dinner. There’s a restaurant here called Fuse and it’s a sports bar, so naturally when a baseball event is at the hotel, everyone congregates there. It was a nice relaxing way to wrap up the second day and helped get my mind off interviews that were possibly forthcoming, despite the fact that I was spending time with other job speakers and employers.
Day Two was successful. I can see Hideo Nomo, I think and hope, in the distance. But who knows, the National Anthem is in a couple minutes (or days) and when it starts, autographs wrap up. Let’s just hope I get there before it starts.
Tune in tomorrow, as David continues his quest for the metaphorical Hideo Nomo.
By Tori Payne, special to MiLB.com
Throughout this year’s Winter Meetings in Nashville, four attendees of the PBEO Job Fair have agreed to chronicle their employment-seeking experiences (meet them all HERE.). In this, her second installment, Tori Payne overcomes fatigue, makes new friends, ogles celebrities and gets a confidence boost.
Whoever said “Sleep is overrated this week” on the first day at the workshop was telling the truth. Combining 9 hours a day networking and job-hunting with finishing up my fall semester as a senior is a tough task. My senior portfolio kept me up Sunday night until 4 a.m., so I may or may not have been mistaken for a zombie when I first entered the workroom this morning. Luckily, the excitement in the room gave me a burst of energy.
This experience reminds me a lot of the first week of college, when you can walk up to anyone in the cafeteria and ask to sit with them and it’s not completely creepy. When I first got to the workroom I didn’t recognize anyone, so I introduced myself to a few girls sitting at a table. Together, we took on the day of waiting. Waiting for jobs to be posted, waiting on interviews to be posted, waiting on people to make decisions…Just a lot of waiting. I began to get a little discouraged because, of the twenty jobs I had put a resume in for, only two had posted interview schedules. Other people were racking up six interviews for the day, and I had yet to receive one!
In order to keep my sanity, I decided to concentrate on the networking side. I met an awesome girl from Texas named Brooke. She has worked in the Minor Leagues and gave me some tips and names to network with. At lunch, we trekked to the other side of the hotel and found ourselves in the epicenter of baseball executives. It took everything in us to not to run up and introduce ourselves to those we recognized, but we sure wanted to. After lunch, I had the opportunity to meet Mark Deaver, an MLB Network director. We had been connected through a mutual friend and wanted to meet in person while in the same place. He knew EVERYBODY. As we spoke, he pointed out who was around me: Cal Ripken (I recognized him, of course), the Yankee sideline reporter, the White Sox general manager, and the Atlanta Braves outfielder that also played for the Falcons. He even took me into the TV van so I could see where the show was being created. It was incredible.
Around 4:00, I went to the interview schedule room and saw something incredible: my name on a sheet. My confidence spiked. It always feels good when someone recognizes your accomplishments, especially among this talented group of people. To end the day, a group of friends (I think I can already call them that) and I went by the Trade Show. We were like kids in a candy store, but just big kids running around for free food and drink-holder gadgets.
So after the first day, I am tired, no doubt. But I also am excited. Excited for my interview, excited to meet people, and excited to see where my journey takes me.
Will Tori land more interviews? See the inside of more vans? Score more free gadgets? Stay tuned.
By Jim Angell, special to MiLB.com
Throughout this year’s Winter Meetings in Nashville, four attendees of the PBEO Job Fair have agreed to chronicle their employment-seeking experiences (meet them all HERE.). In this, his second installment, Jim Angell rides the emotional roller coaster and channels his process-improvement self.
Day Two: Optimism Gained, Lost and Bill James (?)
Awaking to a warm morning glow, I prepared to venture onto the field of contest to test my mettle against a driven competitor.
If you read my “Day One” recap, you’ll know I had my issues with navigation through the Opryland Resort. But not today! Undaunted, I established a bridgehead (a better parking spot) and laid a course highlighted with way points (find Fuse sports bar, exit you will have, young Jedi).
So, armed with day one optimism, I trekked into the room where the job offers were posted and started preparing my resumes for submission with job number, job title and team name. All necessary for accurate delivery into the appropriate team binder/container. With optimism, each resume was sent forth.
Making sure I didn’t miss any potential opportunity, I backtracked over the job postings confident in my strategic selections. Then the waiting began.
Since I’ve waited a long time to get this Job Fair opportunity, waiting a bit longer to see if I was going to get an interview didn’t worry me much. But, as the day wore on, the process of stalking the interview posting room waiting for the all-important “interview” sheets to be revealed every 30 minutes became a stifling endeavor.
Still, you didn’t dare miss a reveal, because it could mean you could miss an interview or, if left off of a targeted job, you could cross that job off your list and mentally move on.
After half a day of watching job seekers perform the ritual over and over again through the scattered “interview” sheets, my process-improvement-self kicked. So, here are some suggested process improvements (with favorable approvals from other job seekers):
- Make the job posting, resume submission, and interview notification process “electronic” and “smart.” Most people today carry smart phones and have laptops. So, why can’t there be an app for this process? Maybe tie it into the Winter Meeting app.
- An all-electronic process accessible on both phones and laptops would make the process handicap-friendly. Not to mention making the postings easier to read for everyone. It’s hard enough to read 10-point type from a distance but when you have to look up at it, it’s almost impossible. Plus, with close to 700 people seeking jobs, there’s never enough room in between the tack boards used to display the job postings and interview sheets.
- Instead of paper submissions by teams, make them fill out an “on-line” form. This way text size and style is consistent, job numbers are automatically applied and all parties don’t have to deal with trying to read someone’s hand writing.
- Since we’re going electronic, post a “scoreboard” (idea from another job seeker) in the new workroom indicating to all what electronic interview sheets are ready to be filled in by those so selected. Or, have an alert chime telling people that new “sheets” have been posted.
- Establish a “Lunch” period where no job postings or interview postings can be made. That way all of the job seekers can go get something to eat and see a bit of the Winter Meetings without the fear of missing something.
As each 30-minute ritual revealed only swings and misses, the pendulum swung away from optimism for this job seeker. But as the PBEO staff shut things down for the night, ah, hope arrived with the kickoff of the Winter Meetings Trade Fair.
What a WONDERFUL sight it was walking into the display hall devoted solely to baseball. Wall-to-wall wow. A cornucopia of bobble heads, soft-t-balls, team t-shirts, bats, balls, pitching machines, popcorn mixed with Cheetos, mascots, beer (have to have beer) and so much more! Forget the bed back in the hotel room, I’m sleeping on an inflatable!
When I wasn’t drooling over a video scoreboard that would make any man-cave the talk of five counties, I took the opportunity to sell myself to select “baseball-stuff” companies.
All were quite nice to talk to me about possible employment and I even got a few hits. Like breaking out of a long hitting slump, that first solid liner to fall in felt SOOOOO good and I could tell Mendoza to take a hike. And look what returned: my friend optimism.
One point before I close: Optimism is not “the force” when you’re walking and checking your messages on your phone at the same time. We’ve all done it at one time or another, but this time I almost took out the statistical sage of our time…Bill James! Yes, Bill James! The father of modern baseball analytics!
So, do baseball a favor, don’t walk and text. The sole you may save could be Bill James’.
Will optimism remain with Jim, or will it remain a fickle friend? Stay tuned for tomorrow’s update.
By Will Privette, special to MiLB.com
Throughout this year’s Winter Meetings in Nashville, four attendees of the PBEO Job Fair have agreed to chronicle their employment-seeking experiences (meet them all HERE.). In this, his second installment, Will Privette goes through the interview process and, eventually, orders off the kids menu.
What’s in an interview?
Day two of the 2015 Winter Meetings got off to a good, early start. I woke up at 8 a.m. and quickly got ready for my first interview with an American League team an hour later. Skipping breakfast, I made it over to the Opryland’s Magnolia lobby and met with the gentleman that was going to interview me. The interview lasted 20 or 30 minutes and was pretty standard. He asked me about my experience with my previous two internships and I gave the rundown of how the two internships were both “video,” but the two were very different regarding how each organization went about capturing the video for the players and coaching staff. My main focus in my interviews is to try and make that connection right off the bat. I feel communication is key and having a great rapport with a potential boss from the moment you meet will only help. I felt the interview went pretty well and I should be hearing back if I make it to the next “round” in the next week or so.
After my interview I went back to the hotel room and rested a tiny bit. You have to have a very high motor to endure the Winter Meetings, so after a quick break I got back at it. I hung out in the main lobby area and ran into a few people within baseball that I knew and caught up with them before my second interview with a National League team in the early afternoon. This interview was quite interesting as well, hearing how they run their video operation and what exactly the internship would entail. After my two interviews I spent the rest of the afternoon talking to more people in the lobby and checking in with all the trade and signing rumors that were going on throughout the day.
One bit of advice that I will give people reading this and have the aspiration to attend the Winter Meetings next year (in D.C.), is do not forget to eat. I know that sounds silly to say, but eating or drinking goes on the backburner when you’re in the heat of the moment trying to worry about all your interviews and networking. You get tunnel vision and say “oh, I’ll eat later” and then later comes and you keep putting it off. I did just that today. I ate a muffin after my first interview and that was it and developed a headache that I just couldn’t shake. Finally around six I ordered the kids chicken tenders with fries and it quickly alleviated my pain. (It was awesome, by the way.) So the moral of the story is stay hydrated and don’t forget to eat. That’s Will’s Words of Wisdom for today. Until tomorrow… ~Thrill
Where’s there’s a Will, is there a way to get a job? Stay tuned tomorrow for the next installment.
By David Lauterbach, special to MiLB.com
Throughout this year’s Winter Meetings in Nashville, 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, David Lauterbach enters the scrum and prepares for more of the same.
I’d never been to the Music City before this week. Nashville is an incredible town and the Opryland hotel is amazing. The hotel is about 20 minutes away from downtown, but luckily there is so much to do outside and inside of the Winter Meetings events there really is no need to leave.
Speaking of the hotel, I have already gotten lost twice. One was on my way to meet the other job seekers, when I asked someone from the hotel for directions and they had no idea. The other was trying to get back to my room after we met, when I took about five wrong left turns and four wrong right turns. When people say this hotel is massive and it takes forever to get around, they aren’t lying. I tweeted yesterday that I may get lost seven times over the course of the Winter Meetings and Ben Hill responded with “Bet the over.” He’s probably right.
But, anyway, the point of this journal is to talk about the Job Fair, right? At least that’s what Ben told us. The first jobs to get posted yesterday didn’t appear until around 3:30, which left about an hour and a half for hundreds of job seekers to squeeze into a tiny room to look at them. The only advice I got before I walked into the small room was “Sharpen your elbows.” Truer words have never been spoken.
The job posting room is laid out with about 10-15 rows of poster boards. The jobs were posted on said boards and had numbers attached to them that job seekers have to note and write on their resumes when they drop them in the application bins. Due to the small amount of room between the poster boards and the clamoring of hundreds of job seekers and briefcases and backpacks and resumes flying everywhere, it was akin to when I was eight and trying to get Hideo Nomo’s autograph before a Dodger game. If you think about it, the Job Fair really is just that: A bunch of eager young men and women trying to get something that only a few can, and they all are trying to wiggle their way closer to the finish line. Only when we were eight it was an unreadable signature, and now it’s for a paycheck and a job. No pressure at all.
A couple hours after I visited the crazy job posting room, I went to the relaxing and incredible Winter Meetings Banquet. Growing up as a huge baseball fan, I’ve always admired the role of the Commissioner and have always had a desire to one day be in his shoes. So when Commissioner Manfred was introduced for a Q & A session, I freaked out. The majority of the questions and answers I had heard before in other interviews, ranging from expansion talks to rising young stars to youth participation. In the end, it was really cool to see the Commissioner in person for the first time. After that, various awards were handed out to individuals who have made a great impact on baseball. It was really cool to see those people recognized and hear their crazy stories from their time in the game. It really makes you appreciate how close this community is and how important it is to treasure every second you have in it.
From there, I got to meet Ben and the other job seekers. After Ben interviewed us and we got to know each other, we all split up and went our separate ways. We all knew the real madness was about to begin the next morning and that it was time to go back to our rooms, rest, and plan the quickest route to Hideo Nomo for the next day.
There will be Nomo from David today, but there will be plenty mo’ from David tomorrow.
By Tori Payne, special to MiLB.com
Throughout this year’s Winter Meetings in Nashville, four attendees of the PBEO Job Fair have agreed to chronicle their employment-seeking experiences (meet them all HERE.). In this, her first installment, Tori Payne makes new connections and survives a crustacean-related mishap.
A whirlwind. Today was a whirlwind.
Here is a little backstory as to how I got to attend the PBEO Job Fair: I am in college (a.k.a. “I am poor”), so my mom was going to surprise me by paying my way. Unfortunately, Google failed her and she bought me entry to a different job fair and the payment was nonrefundable. However, a couple of weeks later, I stumbled into the Diversity and Leadership Symposium held by Minor League Baseball at Tennessee State University. During lunch I turned in my resume and somehow won a trip to go to the PBEO Job Fair at the Winter Meetings. It’s funny how life works…
If describing how I felt when I walked into the Business of Baseball Workshop, “overwhelmed” would be an understatement. Hundreds of people of all ages were ready to go, looking snazzy in suits and resumes galore. The worst part: Everyone was NICE! Of course I’m kidding that that is a negative thing, but this is a really interesting environment to meet intelligent, experienced and kind people that, also, want to fight you for the same position. At school I stick out because I want to work in baseball; here, I’m just one of many. After finding a seat, I quickly made friends with a group of young men who allowed me to follow them around all day. We laughed, we ate and we learned a lot about the business of baseball from some of the funniest professionals I have ever met.
Before the doors to the Job Fair opened, I received a miracle: a ticket to the banquet from a connection I had made at the Diversity Symposium. This gave me the confidence and energy boost to make it through my first round of resume dropping. Even though my final senior portfolio for the semester is due tomorrow, I knew that the banquet wouldn’t disappoint. And I was right. I got to reconnect with great people from Minor League Baseball that I had met at the Diversity Symposium: Vince Pierson, Stefanie Loncarich and a few others. I think I even saw the notable Mike Veeck from a distance; I happened to recognize him from the book cover of Fun is Good (which I’d recommend to all baseball lovers). Basically, the entire industry was stuffed into one room, so when I decided to sit at a table comprised of girls “about my age,” I never would have guessed that I was sitting next to the general manager and assistant general manager of the Pulaski Yankees. My table also included the president of the Carolina League and the president of the Appalachian League. I was just hanging out with a bunch of people that I want to be one day. I even saved Carolina League president John Hopkins from eating the spiced apple (that looked like fried potatoes) along with his chicken. You may be wondering what the best part of my night was and I would say that it was when no one noticed – or at least no one acknowledged – when the tail of my shrimp catapulted into the middle of the table because I was trying to cut it with a knife. Classy.
I ended my night by meeting Ben Hill and the other Job Seeker Journal Writers. They are all so cool. When you watch my interview video, though, please do not judge me for my taste in music. Now that I have time to think about Ben’s question of “What is the greatest album of all time?”, I would rival my answer with Adele’s 21 or Taylor Swift’s 1989. I was under pressure. Keep that in mind.
Stay tuned tomorrow for another installment of Tori’s job-seeking adventure.
By Jim Angell, special to MiLB.com
Throughout this year’s Winter Meetings in Nashville, four attendees of the PBEO Job Fair have agreed to chronicle their employment-seeking experiences (meet them all HERE.). In this, his first installment, Jim Angell finds inspiration and revels in the power of Winter Meetings happenstance.
Day One: A Good Start to a Great Experience
Martie Cordaro, the energetic president and general manager of the Omaha Storm Chasers, punctuated his 2015 PBEO Business of Baseball Workshop presentation by telling his job-seeking audience that without “committing to everything you do” for a team the resulting stark reality meant that “empty seats don’t eat hot dogs.”
The same commitment Cordaro spoke of can also be applied to finding a job in the business of baseball. Given that I’m a mid-career free agent, I can’t think of a better place to “go after it full speed” than here at the epicenter of the baseball world: the Baseball Winter Meetings and PBEO Job Fair!
It may have taken an unfortunate turn of events to get me here, but if it weren’t for the timing of my company deciding to downsize when it did, I would have missed this experience in Nashville. And day one was quite an experience.
It started on the drive to the Opryland Resort, when I stopped to pick up (who I thought was) a fellow job seeker walking to the event. As it turned out, I picked up Dr. Derek Papp, orthopedic surgeon for the Baltimore Orioles. Even the medical teams and trainers are at the Winter Meetings. How cool is that?
If you haven’t been to the Opryland, the place is impressive in its beauty and expanse – it even has a “river” which visitors can hitch a ride on. I did have to fall back on my land navigation skills to find the convention center, however. I admit that while I may have never got lost in the woods during my Army days, I did get lost three times in the hotel. (Yes, even with the help of the maps that are posted, it seems, every 20 feet.)
I won’t recap the entire day of workshop presentations, but the underlying theme I was that anyone can make it if they stay true to themselves and are honest about what they want to do and how they can make the fan experience the best it can be.
While there were moments of cold honesty about life in the business, the presenters and panelists were sowers of hope as well. Here are few of the seeds:
- “New and diverse perspectives are very valuable in baseball.” – Jennifer Zudonyi, manager of Major League Baseball (MLB) business communications.
- “Go after it full speed.” – Justine Siegal, Oakland Athletics coach.
- “Don’t discount what you did in the past.” – Giovanni Hernandez, MLB manager for international baseball operations.
- “Focus on how you can help the team.” – Robert Ford, radio broadcaster for the Houston Astros.
- “If you’re going to dream, dream big.” – Pat O’Conner, president and chief executive officer for Minor League Baseball.
Thank you, presenters, for a great first day. I learned a lot and I hope that others did as well.
As the workshop ended, my fellow job seekers and I posted for our first jobs. Hopefully, I’ll hear from someone on Monday for an interview. More jobs will be posted as well, so it is shaping up to be a busy day.
One final story before I sign off.
As I was trying to leave the resort for the night and checking another map (yes, lost again), a very nice woman asked if I was lost. While I was admitting that I was, I turned around to see none other than former Cubs pitcher Ryan Dempster standing next to her. Well, as a serious Cubs fan, the encounter made my day (sorry PBEO). After a little chat about baseball, jobs and his new career with MLB, we went our separate ways. But what a great couple! They didn’t have to talk to me, but they did and it made my night. I still got lost after that, but I sure felt good.
I should mention this to all job seekers who come to the PBEO Job Fair. While you may see all sorts of baseball players, former players, coaches, media types etc., don’t go out of your way to talk to them. They have a job to do and also value their free time when they are not working. Running into the Dempsters was some strange twist of fate and not the norm for the Winter Meetings.
Will Jim be able to find his way through the Winter Meetings maze on Monday? Stay tuned!
By Will Privette, special to MiLB.com
Throughout this year’s Winter Meetings in Nashville, four attendees of the PBEO Job Fair have agreed to chronicle their employment-seeking experiences (meet them all HERE.). In this, his first installment, Will Privette gets the lay of the land.
Note: Will did not register for the PBEO Job Fair, and is seeking employment independently.
Since graduating from NC State I have been a video intern for the Cleveland Indians (2014) and the Atlanta Braves (2015). So, you may ask, “What is a video intern? Do you control the video board?” No, that’s not me. A video intern for a MLB team uses software (usually BATS) to record and chart the entire game from four or five different angles around the ballpark. Once the game is over, you take all those angles that you captured and then sync them all together so a player can look at his at-bat from all of these angles at once. My angle here at the Winter Meetings? To further my baseball career.
This is my third time attending the Meetings, so I feel like a veteran of this four-day event. Last year in San Diego I heard stories of how large the Gaylord Opryland Hotel is, but I will tell you that never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined just how massive it is. I am glad I got here on Saturday, instead of the typical Sunday arrival, because I spent all of Saturday afternoon and evening trying to find my way around this nine-acre resort. Sunday was very low-key for me. I spent the beginning of the day looking at all the clothes I had brought to Nashville.
I always over-pack, it never fails.
I brought three suits, 10 button-downs and seven ties for three days of interviews. It may be excessive, but I couldn’t lock down exactly what I wanted to wear each day before I arrived. As of now I have Monday’s suit combination picked out, but the rest will be a game-time decision. Today, for the most part, I did one of my favorite things at the Winter Meetings: people watch. I observed so many young faces who looked exhausted, excited and maybe a little scared walk back and forth between the ballrooms, passing by the MLB Network set and down the escalators to get a quick bite to eat before having to head back the other way for another event.
In the evening I hung around the lobby area and spoke to three first-year Winter Meeting attendees. I asked which facets of baseball they were interested in, and if they had made any contacts with teams yet. They picked my brain and I offered advice based on my past experiences. I enjoyed it, having the “veteran” job seeker role. After that, I met the other four Job Seeker Journal Writers and we did some one-on-one video interviews and talked about our experiences and expectations thus far. One little tidbit that was easily the highlight of my day occurred on the way back from the one-on-ones. I happened to run into a very good friend of mine, David Bell. Bell is the current bench coach of the St. Louis Cardinals. I haven’t seen him in person in three years so it was very nice to catch up with him. He was here because his father, Buddy, was receiving an award Sunday night. It was a nice surprise to run into one of my baseball mentors and catch up; it capped off a great first day. Now I am heading to bed because two interviews are waiting for me on Monday, beginning at 9 a.m.! Let’s go!
Will tomorrow’s events thrill Will the Thrill, or will they lack full-thrillment? Stay tuned.
This year’s group of 2015 Winter Meetings Job Seekers will be introduced in a MiLB.com story on Friday. In the meantime, please enjoy this final update from 2014’s Job Seeking crew. Today we hear from Julie Brady, who has changed her Twitter handle to @destroybaseball. Let us hope that she is unsuccessful in this mission, as the destruction of baseball would necessitate me to undertake a job search of my own.
It was a dark and stormy night.
I drove down the Cajon Pass into San Bernardino late on December 30th, 2014. It was cold and it was snowing. There were palm trees, but I didn’t trust them. These must be decoy palm trees designed to lure in the innocent like me. The Midwest too winter-intensive for you? Here, come to Southern California. Look at these palm trees, how could it be cold here?
Baseball seemed very far away.
The next day was sunny and 55 degrees, which was the coldest it was for the next eleven months. The palm trees became more acceptable. My body immediately calibrated itself so that anything below 60 was the coldest temperature that I’d ever felt. Twenty below with windchill? Is that even possible anywhere in this world, even in the darkest recesses of memory? Surely not. Surely not.
Baseball seemed much closer.
I was beginning work for the Inland Empire 66ers — Class A Advanced affiliate of the Los Angeles Angels — as their Marketing Coordinator, after somehow snagging the job within the first ten minutes of the Winter Meetings Job Fair in 2014. If this had been an accident, my boss, Director of Marketing Matt Kowallis, was gracious enough to pretend like he did it on purpose. If so, he kept up the charade even after he had to show me how to use a fax machine (It was like reading the original Canterbury Tales: basically familiar but also totally incomprehensible).
I don’t know how else to convince you that Matt Kowallis is a madman other than this: He gave me the passwords to the 66ers’ social media accounts and traded off emceeing games with me every other day. Suddenly, I had access to a huge audience for my
dumb highly sophisticated and well-thought-out puns. It was every former collegiate comedian’s dream, and I was rewarded on Twitter both with boos (the highest form of compliment for a pun) and praise (referred to as “the most humorous MiLB twitter,” a description that I will cling to for the rest of my life).
It was also a lot of fun doing social media experiments— perhaps that’s too lofty a term, but it was always interesting to see what types of posts got what reactions. I took over social media in June and quickly realized how underutilized a tool it is and how powerful it can be. It convinced me even more that teams need to be quick to change and keep up with technology and culture. I went from posting nothing but promo graphics on Instagram (CONFESSION: I had to Google “how to post a picture to Instagram” my first day at the helm) to posting dugout pics, sunsets and upcoming giveaways. The likes increased at least threefold and so did the followers.
Meanwhile, in real life, emceeing games was a weird marriage of improv, sketch comedy, and stand-up that I soon came to love. It wasn’t easy; there was a lot of interaction with people of all ages, and a lot of awkwardly waiting with them in the dugout while an inning before a promo game dragged on, so they became my guinea pigs for improving my social skills with strangers. It was not an entirely futile exercise: My small talk game has shot up, y’all. Marked improvement. I am definitely a human and definitely not an alien.
Of course, I did more than just force my humor upon the world. When I wasn’t gracing cyberspace with gems like “Brandon Bayardi? More like Brandon Go-yard-i!” and an ignored attempt to get the Stockton Ports to rename themselves the Stockton Jorts, I was wearing the many proverbial hats that come with working in the minor leagues. Helping plan theme nights, making sales calls, transporting ballplayers, going to community appearances, and of course pulling tarp at least twice all were opportunities for me to learn new things, and learn I did. It was a good year for that.
So, back to where it all started: Was going to the Winter Meetings last year worth it? Absolutely. I made valuable connections, started putting my name out there, and got a coveted Job. For real, if you’re on the fence about going and you are sure you want to work in baseball, go to the Meetings. You will meet so many people and odds are at least one of them will be able to help you in some way. I was also glad that I had written the Job Seeker Journals; it stood out on my resume, I could point people directly to it, and my family finally found out what my life is like. And of course, who could forget the invaluable mentorship of MiLB’s own Ben Hill, now an adoptive uncle of at least four.
Don’t worry, I know the question on the tips of your collective fingers. “But Julie,” you type, “what next? Is the reign of terror remaining on the West Coast?”
No. This horror show is going back on the road. After the season ended, I accepted a job as Promotions Assistant with my old team in Illinois, the Kane County Cougars, where I look forward to old friends, great ideas and some fine baseball (if less-than-desirable weather). Three people in California told me I have a Chicago accent after making me say “milk” ten times, which was news to me, so now I can be secure back among my own similarly-inflected people. I’ll be starting that position in January.
So, there’s the deets, the haps, the scoop, the 411, the update, the lowdown. Thanks for reading (unless you skipped to the end, which, I don’t blame you), thanks to Ben for allowing this to keep happening for some reason, and thanks to everyone who has ever worked with or employed me. You’re the best.
I’ll leave you with a quote from Agent Dale Cooper of Twin Peaks:
“Harry, I have no idea where this will lead us, but I have a definite feeling it will be a place both wonderful and strange.”
Thanks, Julie. 2015’s group of Job Seeker Journal writers will be introduced in a MiLB.com article on Friday, which leads me to an apropos Twin Peaks quote of my own:
I am currently recruiting PBEO Job Fair attendees to write about their Winter Meetings job-seeking experience (but not for much longer!) With that in mind, throughout the week I’m running guest posts from last year’s crop of Job Seeker Journal writers. Today we hear from Katie Carlson, who is now on the East Coast after a stint on the West.
What a year it has been! Memories come flooding back as I recall my first Winter Meetings experience; the friends I made, and the lessons I learned. I loved attending the Winter Meetings, and had every intention of packing my bag for Nashville come December. But, to quote the great Yogi Berra, “If you come to a fork in the road, take it.” I did just that.
Instead of heading to Nashville for more networking and job seeking, I packed up my life in San Francisco and moved cross country to New York City, where I recently began a job as a National Team Coordinator for the World Baseball Classic. My office is in the Commissioner’s Office, and I am fortunate to be working with Major League Baseball, the Player’s Association and the World Baseball-Softball Confederation to prepare for the 2016 Qualifiers and 2017 World Baseball Classic. I am absolutely loving my job and all my coworkers, and starting to settle in to the hustle and bustle of the Big Apple.
But let me backtrack a little bit. If you remember, last year I was a senior at Stanford who left the Winter Meetings with a lot of uncertainty about the future. The only thing I knew was that I was even more certain that I wanted to have a career in baseball. Though I did not leave the Winter Meetings with a job in hand, I still believe the experience was 100% worth it. What was valuable to me about the Winter Meetings was the panels, presentations and networking. In fact, some of the people who spoke on panels last year, and who I admired so much, are now my superiors. Funny how things come full circle. Knowing that I wanted to work in Baseball Ops, the Job Fair was not very helpful for me, since it mainly deals with Minor League jobs. My best advice for someone attending this year who wants to work in Baseball Ops is to proactively set up meetings with people in various organizations. Even if these meetings are just informational, you never know where they may lead.
In January of last year, I was approached by the San Francisco Giants to interview for a position in their Baseball Ops department. The reason they remembered me? I had networked with several people in the department over the course of the last year. After several rounds of interviews, I was hired as the Baseball Operations Intern for the 2015 season! It was a dream come true and I treasured every day that I got to walk to 24 Willie Mays Plaza for work. I began my internship in April, while I was still at Stanford, working from 9 to 6 while taking classes from 7 to 9. It was a grind, but I had never been happier. From Opening Day, when all Giants employees were given orange carnations to wear, to bowling with the scouts before the Draft to calling in some of the Giants’ picks on Draft Day, I had the most amazing experience. I am so grateful to everyone in the Giants organization who welcomed me and took me under their wing. I learned more in my seven months with the team than I would have ever imagined.
But all good things come to an end. Since 2015 is an odd year, the Giants did not make the playoffs and the season ended in early October. I began preparing myself for more job applications and interviews and for a trip to the 2015 Winter Meetings. But just before my internship was about to end, one of my supervisors advised me to apply for this opportunity with Major League Baseball. I was so excited about the opportunity that I applied that night. And here, one month later, I am writing to you from New York!
You never know where this crazy baseball life is going to take you. A year ago, I never would’ve guessed that my life would go on this trajectory, but I am so grateful that I have been guided along this path. I have met the most wonderful people and I feel so fortunate that baseball brought these people into my life. I have gotten to live in Cape Cod, Los Angeles, San Francisco and now New York. And now I will get to travel the world (Mexicali here I come!) while doing what I love. Good luck to all those attending the Winter Meetings and the Job Fair — it truly is an incredible journey. Thank you to Ben Hill and all of you who have taken the time to read along.