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: