I am currently recruiting PBEO Job Fair attendees to write about their Winter Meetings job-seeking experience. 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 Sean Banks, who, after stints both Midwest and international, is back on the baseball job hunt.
Minor League baseball is weird.
— Sean Banks (@sbanks_) April 5, 2015
Where else can you find treasures like that seen above, except in a Minor League clubhouse?
I spent this past summer as an operations intern with the Beloit Snappers in Beloit, Wisconsin, and it was a wild ride. The Snappers’ internship was the second that I’d had in professional baseball, so I knew exactly what to expect in regard to hours and type of work. I met some great people, forging hopefully lifelong friendships full of laughter, joy and stories about tarp pulls in the most obscure of locations.
I didn’t get my Snappers’ internship during the Winter Meetings, however. I had interviewed with a few teams, but, frankly, I knew that nothing would come of them. I was still a bit unsure of exactly what I wanted to do, and interviewed for some positions that I wasn’t really “qualified” for but knew that I could do if given the opportunity. If I’ve learned anything about this industry, though, it’s that that doesn’t work. Teams want to see proof.
I returned to school empty-handed. A few days later, I was studying for a final exam and decided to be a real adult, take a “study break,” and re-apply for some of the same jobs I had seen and applied for at the Job Fair. Persistent? Definitely. Stupid? Probably.
I finished my exams and drove home to spend the holidays with my family before spending my final semester of college in the Dominican Republic. It was then that I received a call from the Snappers. My phone interview took place my first day home for the holidays, and I was offered the job the next day. I decided to take the leap, and accepted the stadium operations internship.
Then, life happened.
I was set to start with the Snappers in May of 2015, after returning from my semester abroad and graduating from the University of Evansville (with a degree in music and a degree in Spanish). My study abroad program required a doctor’s clearance for me to be able to leave the country, and I wasn’t cleared. I’ll spare you the details, but suffice it to say I had to push my semester abroad to the fall of 2015 and spend the winter dealing with health tests and hospital visits. I got in contact with the Snappers and let them know that I could start in April instead of May, but would need to leave in late July para estudiar español (to study Spanish). Fortunately, I was able to walk with all of my best friends in my graduation ceremony in May because I had already completed my degree in music. Things ended up being okay, after all.
I arrived in Beloit on April 1st and got to scrubbing 2014’s dirt off of the concession stand walls. It was time for another season of Minor League Baseball in Wisconsin.
At the time, I was one of two interns due to the fact that the other four were in school until May. This was a unique experience for me, as I got to serve as a kind of special assistant to the Director of Stadium Operations because I was the only operations intern in town at the time. We learned the ins-and-outs of our ballpark and had become a fairly efficient team by the time May rolled around.
Once the other interns arrived and we were able to spread around a little more of the work, I was afforded the opportunity to spend time in the press box and learn about operating a media relations department.
Working with the media relations department while also doing all of my stadium operations duties was a dream. I have always been passionate about writing and baseball, so getting to write about baseball was great. And, on the other hand, stadium operations is what I know and what I’m good at. It was awesome.
However, all good things must come to an end, every door that closes opens another, and [insert your next favorite cliche here]. I departed from Beloit on July 23rd and prepared to live in a foreign country for four months.
Last day lol pic.twitter.com/Mrqa9Q1gFr
— Sean Banks (@sbanks_) July 23, 2015
I landed in Santo Domingo on July 27th and cleared customs without a problem. I settled in, blinked, and now here I am. I chose to study in the Dominican Republic because of baseball in general and specifically because Pedro Martinez is my favorite player of all time. It tears me up inside that I had to miss his January parade down El Malecón (Avenue George Washington), but it turned out to be a blessing in disguise. I got to spend time watching games at Estadio Quisqueya (the stadium in Santo Domingo that plays host to two Dominican Winter League teams: the Tigers of Licey and Lions of Escogido. We became Licey fans in our four months here.) When I wasn’t adventuring to Pico Duarte (the highest point in the Dominican Republic) or traveling to El Sur Profundo (the country’s southernmost peninsula), I spent my time taking classes at a local university and interning with Ruddy Ramirez’s Little League in Martinez’s “hometown” of Manoguayabo. It was at El Play (baseball field) San Miguel that he got his start in baseball.
At the beginning of fall instructionals I had the opportunity to travel to the batey (town that surrounds a sugar plantation) of Guerra to work with the Kansas City Royals. I traveled via Guagua (not sure whether to call them small buses or large vans, but they were almost always as beat up and falling apart as they could handle) every Tuesday and Thursday. At the Royals academy, I would work one-on-one with players to help them learn English and about baseball in the USA. It was an absolutely incredible experience, as I was able to use my passion for baseball, ability to communicate (in two languages), and the skills that I acquired studying education for almost three years. It was a success, and I really enjoyed my time at the academy.
And now, it’s back to the Job Fair. It is going to be strange to land in Nashville and be welcomed by the cold weather. But, to say the last eleven months were an adventure would be the understatement of the century. I will definitely miss the Dominican Republic, the friends that I’ve made here, and my host family most of all. But, I’m also ready to start my next adventure as a real life adult in a mystery location somewhere in the United States of America.
‘Toy listo salir pa’ Nashville ahora mismo. Hablamo’.