Tagged: Baseball Winter Meetings
Winter Meetings Job-Seeker Journals: Kasey Decker Finds the Silver Linings
Throughout this year’s Winter Meetings in Orlando, four attendees of the PBEO Job Fair kept a journal chronicling their employment-seeking experiences (meet them all HERE). In this installment, Kasey Decker (@KDSmoove) provides a post-Meetings update.
I was not excited about going to the Winter Meetings this year in a job-seeker capacity, but I was definitely going to make the best of it. I had been successful the first time I went and had high hopes for this year. I was completely confident that I would come back to Atlanta with a job offer.
Having worked in baseball in some way for the past eight seasons I had plenty of people to catch up with and I felt like I had a lot of potential for landing that ever-elusive “dream job.” I was not expecting the levels of frustration and disappointment that I encountered this year.
Ever the optimist, I treated it as a learning experience. I made the best of every opportunity, I submitted my resume for jobs outside of my comfort zone, and I caught up with people who had helped me grow in my career. Although I did not have the days full of interviews from my first Job Fair trip, I took it as a sign to build and strengthen professional connections outside of the interview room.
I learned that while the Job Fair is teeming with opportunities for those looking to get started in baseball, it’s very tough for someone with a fair amount of experience looking for more than an internship. If someone were to ask me if I thought the experience was worthwhile for someone trying to start his or her career, I would absolutely recommend it. If that person were to tell me that they were looking for a full time, forever job, I would be more wary.
I wrote about that elusive job I was confident that I was ideal for, that I was doing everything in my power to prove that I was the best candidate for, and I did do everything in my power. It turns out I wasn’t the candidate that they were looking for, but I won’t let that discourage me. I probably would not have received advice on continuing my career and an upfront answer as to why I wasn’t the right candidate had I not gone to the Winter Meetings and found out exactly who to contact regarding that position.
All in all, the PBEO Job Fair gave me access to networking opportunities and a chance to get my name out there. Also, this blogging experience gave me the opportunity to make a friend in fellow job seeker Meredith Perri that I probably otherwise would not have met. I have confidence that I will do well in the baseball world; it’s just going to take patience to find that right fit.
Thanks to Kasey for sharing her experiences throughout the Winter Meetings. Her knowledge of and passion for Minor League Baseball is made immediately evident through her writing; I (and I’m sure many others) are rooting for her to one day snag that ever-elusive “dream job.”
Job Seeker Journal: Linda’s Final Thoughts
Throughout this year’s Baseball Winter Meetings in Nashville, four attendees of the PBEO Job Fair kept a journal chronicling their employment seeking experiences. (Meet them all HERE).
Now that it’s all said and done, Linda Le offers a poolside perspective on what the experience meant to her and fills us in on her still uncertain plans for 2013. Follow Linda on Twitter @MsLinda_Le, and read her other entries here:
Winter Meetings 2012: Final Thoughts
As I write my final thoughts on the Winter Meetings, I’m actually lounging poolside in the Dominican Republic. Some may call it a family trip but I like to label it a scouting trip for the next Jose Bautista or Jose Reyes.
Attending the Winter Meetings for the first time was a very exciting experience. While I was there to attend the Job Fair there were other various aspects to enjoy and experience, which included connecting with other job seekers as well as baseball executives.
Going into Nashville I knew I might run into a couple of challenges. One factor being that I did not have a great wealth of baseball knowledge under my belt compared to the other job seekers. I grew up watching baseball with my brother and father but I can’t recall every stat there is to know. If I could do that then I would have specifically pursued a career in baseball scouting or become an analyst. Taking part in the Business of Baseball Workshop on the first day helped me realize there’s more of a need to focus on the business side of baseball than it is to just be a fan of the sport.
The second challenge I thought I would encounter is the fact that I was a female trying to break into an industry made up mostly of men. During the Winter Meetings, I did feel like a unicorn being only one of the few women attending but that quickly turned into something I embraced as I felt that people would see me as someone that was easy to approach and talk to – case in point, every night at the Opryland drinking at one of the bars in the resort. Oh how liquid courage seems so appropriate at a place where the ratio of men to women is close to 100 to 1.
As a follow-up from my last post where an offer was extended to me, compensation and housing was still being negotiated. The GM has since indicated that housing could not be secured at the start of the internship, which at that point was the only compensation available. I have since declined that opportunity but the GM had indicated of course that if anything changes then we would reconnect again.
After returning home from the Winter Meetings in Nashville I was contacted by another Minor League team in regards to a Community Relations internship. I am currently still in talks to see what may come out of this encounter.
Overall I view my time spent in Nashville as only a positive experience and I will be definitely attending in Orlando in 2013. I believe that anyone looking to break into the world of professional baseball should consider attending the Winter Meetings. I’ve met many people who have been attending for several years, even a couple of people who have been going for as long as I’ve been alive (I’m in my twenties). Even if you walk away with no offers, you will still leave with great memories of meeting new people and of course staying connected can ultimately lead to great career prospects.
See you in Orlando!
Thanks to Linda for sharing her perspective throughout the process. Here’s hoping we’ll be seeing her at a Minor League ballpark in 2013.
Instant Interview: Sean Kane of Painted Glove Collectibles
Going into this year’s Winter Meetings, I had never met Sean Kane or heard of his company Painted Glove Collectibles. But Mr. Kane got in touch with me just prior to things kicking off in Nashville, saying that he’d love the opportunity to show me his baseball paintings. Of course, I was happy to oblige.
We met just outside of the Trade Show, where Sean laid out his unique (and extremely well done) baseball artwork atop a brick wall while a I quizzed him about how he came to pursue this particular line of work, the tricks of the trade, and what brought him to Nashville in the first place.
Ben’s Biz (aka “Guy referring to himself in the third person”): So, how did this whole ‘painting on gloves’ thing come about?
Sean Kane: I’m a lifelong baseball fan who grew up in Chicago. I went to both parks growing up but am probably more of a Cubs fan. I’m also a professional artist, and have been an illustrator for 18 years for various publications.
This was always something percolating in the background — I was always going to baseball games, and always interested in gloves and stadiums. I was looking for a way to overlap these loves, and hit upon the idea of painting baseball gloves about 10 years ago….The first gloves I designed were more cartoony and decorative, but over the years it’s evolved to a finer portraiture, trying to tie in the history of the game and those other layers.
Ben’s Biz: Where do you get the gloves, and what sort of paint do you use?
Sean Kane: The internet is a good source for a lot of this stuff. There are guys who deal in antique gloves, so I look through their offerings and try to find something that will work. Older gloves have more surface space and fewer seams to them, providing more of a canvas to work on….I try to avoid signature models, because then I’d have to paint that person on it. Although I am looking for a Yogi Berra catcher’s model because I have a design worked out featuring Yogi and his quotes and I think that would be a fun future project.
I use acrylic paints, because they work really well with the leather. Those old gloves, even if they’ve been abandoned and found in a box at Salvation Army, they’ve got a great feel to them and take the acrylic paint really well. And that’s about it — really, really small brushes round out the art supplies as far as that goes.
Ben’s Biz: How do you go about selling the Painted Gloves, and who buys them?
Sean Kane: I mostly market them online through my website, as well as art shows [Sean’s gloves will be exhibited at Bergino Baseball Clubhouse in NYC next year]. They’re not inexpensive, more for the discerning baseball fan, although the market I imagine might include teaming up with organizations that want to thank their Legacy Box club members or corporate sponsors. Or maybe through a Hall of Fame that wants to do something special for its inductees.
It’s about 50-50, [regarding] gloves people ask me to design versus the ones I do on my own. I’m looking at doing one of Koufax, as well as Willie Mays and Roberto Clemente, and part of that is dictated by what I know people like. I’m also interested in expanding the concept, to work with current or past players who might want to feature the highlights of their career on one of their old gloves.
Growing up a Cubs fan, I’d love to do a Ron Santo glove one day. That’s the key one. And as far as a current player I’d love to do an Ichiro — I lived in Seattle during his time there and really came to appreciate his approach. He reveres his gloves and I can’t imagine that he’d let me paint one, but you never know.
Ben’s Biz: So what prompted you to travel to the Winter Meetings?
Sean Kane: I wanted to check out the Trade Show to see if it would be a viable exhibition space for myself; maybe I’ll exhibit in Orlando [at the Winter Meetings] next year. I also wanted to meet people in person, to show these gloves to individuals who I’ve met online who are in the business. It’s one thing to see something online, but completely different to hold a 70-year-old glove that someone’s painted.
Thanks to Sean for getting in touch — one of these days I may commission him to do a glove commemorating my 1992 season with the Wissahickon Middle School seventh grade baseball team. I started every game, but only went 1-for-3 on the season because I walked in all of my other plate appearances. I was like the Eddie Gaedel of suburban Philadelphia.
Job Seeker Journal: Clint’s Final Thoughts
Throughout this year’s Baseball Winter Meetings in Nashville, four attendees of the PBEO Job Fair kept a journal chronicling their employment seeking experiences. (Meet them all HERE).
Now that it’s all said and done, Clint Belau (now gainfully employed by the Birmingham Barons) offers his final thoughts on the whole endeavor. Follow Clint on Twitter @clintbelau, and read his other entries here:
THE VALUE OF THE EXPERIENCE
Now that I’m a few days separated from the whirlwind that was the Winter Meetings, I feel comfortable stating that I’ve officially come down from the high, and can state my opinion of the experience in 100% honesty. So get ready folks, I’m not pulling any punches. (Not that I have any punches to throw, but rest assured, if I did, I would throw them…cause this here is real!)
As someone who’s just beginning my journey in this industry, the single most notable observation to point out is just how much everyone seems to extend their figurative hand. Obviously, this is a statement that has the potential to change in the future, but based on first impression alone, it really seems to stand out. From the speakers at our workshop, to the occasional visitor in the work room, to the general conversations in the hallway, anyone who is a veteran in the industry seems to make themselves more than available to give advice and share their story. It’s a matter of approaching them, which as someone trying to break in, is not always as easy as it would seem. Just walking up and saying hi to someone who you watch on tv every day, or who’s articles you read on a consistent basis, or who you follow on Twitter and reply to, then nervously wait for the day when they reply back to you, is no small feat. Especially during a week where you fully realize how busy they might be, professionally keeping track of all of the action. However, if you can get over that initial fear, these are some of the nicest, most down to Earth people you’ll ever find. The idea that I’m joining an industry full of people like this is incredibly exciting.
Admittedly, I came to the Winter Meetings looking at this a little more through the eyes of a lifetime baseball obsessor, rather than through the eyes of a first time job seeker. When you’ve spent 30 years studying every stat, watching as many games as humanly possible, and constantly researching any off season action you can, it’s impossible to suppress that part of your being. That portion of my brain had perhaps the best week of its life. The other part of my brain, the part that was anxious to begin a new career, hopeful of what was to come, yet fearful of it being a total failure, was pleasantly surprised. This wasn’t the rat race one might have anticipated. More so, it seemed to be a gathering of friends, new and old, working towards a common goal. While the actual opportunities that were available via the job fair might have been a bit exaggerated, the opportunities that you could potentially create for yourself seemed infinite. It’s all a matter of putting yourself in the right position. And the Winter Meetings certainly seem to be that right position.
Now there is still that underlying element to this whole story, which is my age (35). In my personal experience, age seems to be far less important than enthusiasm. Sure, I’m coming at this from a bit of a different angle than most, but everyone has a different path. And in an arena such as this, it’s about turning your potential negatives into a positive. You have to figure out what separates you from the rest, and accentuate that. Personally, having a mixed bag of tricks experience-wise is most likely mine. My path to this point has given me the opportunity to amass a variety of skills (read: pursuing a career in stand up/music did not pay the bills, so I’ve been forced to have a lot of “normal” jobs). To be able to now apply that set of skills towards contributing to an organization’s success is incredibly exciting.
I’ve mentioned it before, but it bears repeating: I believe life is about experiences. I also believe that the experience of a ballpark can create a very unique impact on people’s lives. To dedicate myself to helping create that potential impact on a daily basis, is something that simply saying I’m looking forward to, is not nearly enough. This is the one game I love, and for my life to be dedicated to providing fans the opportunity to enjoy it as much as I have, is what the term “rewarding career” is all about. This isn’t a career I’m pursuing because I think it’s cool, or because I want to hang out with players and have front row seats to games. This is a career I am pursuing because it is the one way that I feel I can truly help impact the lives of others in a positive manner. Alright — unsolicited, overly dramatic monologue about my inner feelings concluded.
The reason for this article was to document our experience at the Winter Meetings, and more so, the PBEO Job Fair, as a first time job seeker. After gaining some distance from the experience, my feelings have not changed. If you are looking to break into the industry, this is an event that you simply must attend. It was in incredible networking opportunity, and the job fair did provide a plethora of potential jobs. It was a fantastic way to hone interview skills, get your name out there, and develop a network within the industry. It is an experience that will be paramount to my success.
Stay tuned for the final thoughts — and, more importantly, the final job decisions, of the other three job seekers.
Job Seeker Journal: Linda Le 12/5/12
Throughout this year’s Baseball 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 installment, Linda Le networks throughout the vast expanses of the Opryland before sharing some hard-earned wisdom.
Linda Le archives:
12/5/12: GOODBYE MUSIC CITY!
There was a calmness in the Gaylord Opryland Convention Centre as the PBEO job fair was nearing to a close on Wednesday afternoon. Most job seekers were packing up and heading home if they had not done so already.
My day actually started with finishing up my journal entry from the day before (better late than never right Ben?) I then decided to reach out to Bill Wanless, VP of Public Relations with the Pawtucket Red Sox to have lunch that afternoon. I had met Wanless and other members of the Pawtucket Red Sox front office staff the drunken night before. I like to think I had a power lunch with Wanless where we discussed and strategized about revamping the current PR practices for the PawSox but Wanless might say otherwise. He might just recall me conversing in a Bostonian accent if anything.
Wanless provided great insight in regards to his career in professional baseball. He started with the organization as an intern and is now responsible for all aspects of public relations amongst other things as well. It was a great opportunity to sit down with him and get his perspective on working in Minor League baseball especially considering he started out as an intern. We also discussed the need for more women within the industry and that there wasn’t a healthy representation at the moment.
From my previous journal entry I had indicated that I had an interview lined up with the GM for a Minor League team. The role itself was for Promotions and Merchandising with an affiliate of the Blue Jays. The interview was as casual as can be; we met in the middle, or what I thought was the middle of the Orpyland Resort (this place has its own zip code) and discussed the role further while crowds of tour groups passed by. At one point we gave directions to an elderly woman who didn’t know her way around, but then again who did?
The interview resulted in the GM extending an offer to me but compensation still had to be finalized in the next few days. I was pleased to hear that our ten minute conversation turned into an offer – oh how quick things can happen in the business of baseball. At this point nothing has been confirmed in regards to an acceptance.
Overall my time spent at the Winter Meetings was a great experience and I’m glad I made the decision to come to Nashville. From the fellow job seekers I’ve met to the great connections to baseball executives, it’s been nothing but productive and rewarding.
To sum up my time spent here in Nashville, the following are some key factors I’ve learned at the Winter Meetings:
— Network as much as you can; this can lead to your next great career
— Be open to any opportunity in professional baseball as moving to one role to another can happen within a short period of time
— I’m starting to enjoy listening to country music
— Being one of the few females at the Winter Meetings I learned that drinks are free
— I’ve been eating the wrong kind of chowder – courtesy of Joe McDonald from ESPN Boston; thanks Joe!
— Be honest and be yourself – being honest with your intentions prevents being disappointed
Thanks to Linda for her journaling contributions throughout the Meetings. Perhaps there will be more…
Job Seeker Journal: Eric Schmitz, 12/5/12
Throughout this year’s Baseball Winter Meetings in Nashville, four attendees of the PBEO Job Fair agreed to keep a journal chronicling their employment seeking experiences. (Meet them all HERE). In this installment, Eric Schmitz offers a refreshingly honest assessment of his final day at the Job Fair.
Erik Schmitz archives:
12/5/12 — GREAT EXPECTATIONS
Wednesday was a very interesting day. I had brilliantly decided to stay up and write my journal entry after I got back from the bar and before I went to bed, so I slept through my first alarm and scrambled to get over to Opryland. I had an 8:30 follow-up interview with the team I had met with Monday, which had been scheduled by a late phone call Tuesday evening I received while at The Falls. [one of the Gaylord Opryland’s many drinking spots]
Over the course of later Monday and Tuesday, I had sold myself on this position being the one that had the strongest scores in both likelihood of being selected and being the best opportunity. So it was on my mind most of the day Tuesday, and whereas in past Job Fairs, when I had multitudes of interviews to distract me, it wasn’t so much the case this time around.
Rushing over to Opryland, I neglected to remember that it helps to relax and remember that you did good in the first interview, so my mind wasn’t in the best place. Needless to say, I wasn’t impressive, and when you realize that yourself, you know that’s not good. In contrast with the initial sit down, which was great but very casual, this seemed like a real, super-serious job interview, and I was definitely caught off guard. So after a good 20 minutes of not doing much to solidify my candidacy, the interview was over. I walked away thinking Earnest Byner would be the only one who could truly appreciate what just happened.
With the posting rooms just opening for the day, I walked up to check the boards to see what else was happening. On Wednesday, there was officially one position posted. I walked through the interview posting room, and it was bare like I’ve never seen it. Anyone that was only there for the Job Fair could’ve bounced Tuesday night and would’ve been fine. Comparing the three days of this year’s job fair to past job fairs, I think this might have been the least active of them all. Many of the positions I put resumes in for, well, without evidence to back it up, probably the majority of what I put in for were never even posted for interviews.
Sure, I know the teams attending are busy, they’re there for business, and that maybe they don’t have enough people there to do interviews and attend the necessary functions. The job seekers showing up put a lot of money into coming from all over for this, knowing they can interview face-to-face for the chance to pursue their career, and I feel like the amount of opportunities to do so this year was disappointing. If teams want to interview over the phone and judge on a person’s voice, great, but maybe I just don’t see how these organizations wouldn’t jump at the chance to sit at a table with the people they need to pick from.
Because of the lack of activity, I spent a good amount of time of sitting in the workroom chatting with people and wandering around the Trade Show. After a few hours of that, I walked over to meet some of the Sounds staff who had already went to Opry Mills for lunch. I ended up running into Sounds GM Brad Tammen halfway there, and as we walked, he asked me about how things were going and I told him about what I had going. He had some very valuable advice about how to handle my choices, and I’m continually appreciative of how the network of people you work with in Minor League Baseball will continue to help you out after you move on.
Other than sporadically checking the posting rooms (mostly not even walking in, just asking and being told that nothing else was posted) I did a bit of wandering before I decided to just head back to the hotel and take a nap. The way the day started and the inactivity after that wasn’t exactly encouraging. But while the afternoon was dull, the night wouldn’t be the same.
Thanks to an unnamed friend who wasn’t going to be around for the Gala, I was able to score a ticket to maybe the highlight of the week’s agenda. This year, they had it at Dave & Buster’s over at Opry Mills, and it was fantastic. The baseball world had their run of the place, and there’s no job seeker tag or staff tag separating everyone (unless you were wearing one, and I know better than that). Free food, free drinks and free games. Having met so many people through Winter Meetings, working in baseball, whatever… it’s great to just hang out and have fun in an environment like that. I’d say the $75 might be more than I’d ever be willing to shell out to attend, but having a ticket, it’s a no-brainer to go. It was a great time up until they pulled the plug (literally) on it at 10.
With a nice head start and the rest of the night ahead, with nothing awaiting Thursday morning, I headed downtown with Kevin and Leon (previously mentioned in this journal series) and a few guys from the Arkansas Travelers. One of my friends here in Nashville, Alyssa Foote, was at the Trade Show with Cymplify, a merchandise company (check them out, people!) and they had a VIP party at a bar down on 2nd Street. The place was packed with baseball executives of all levels, and they had a live performance by Keith Anderson, which was fantastic. It was a great way to wrap up a crazy few days.
Over four days, I met some great people and did what I could to make my way in the industry. There’s still an offer on the table, and hopefully more to come. Now, it’s just waiting for something to happen.
My sincere thanks to Eric for providing us with this account of his Winter Meetings experience, and stay tuned for a final update…
Job Seeker Journal: Chris Miller, 12/5/12
Throughout this year’s Baseball 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 installment, Chris Miller does a last lap through the Job Fair before hitting the open road and mulling his options.
Chris Miller archives:
12/5/12: A LAST CHANCE TO MAKE AN IMPRESSION
Wednesday was a long day, yet very abbreviated in terms of job possibilities. I had the pleasure of driving seven-plus hours from Nashville back to the Buckeye State, so I did only the essentials Wednesday at the Job Fair.
I started the morning out as usual, looking at the interview postings. When I found none of the jobs I had applied for had posted interviews, I briefly talked to people I had worked with in the past and wished them well as I had a meeting with a team right before lunch, then was taking off.
As I began to walk to the main lobby of the hotel, I ran into Matt Underwood who handles the Cleveland Indians play-by-play on SportsTime Ohio. This is the second time we have met, and his time he came up to me, remembered my name and asked how my job search was going. He gave me an update on any possible moves the Indians were going to make, and we talked about the Ohio Athletic Conference (Underwood went to Baldwin-Wallace in Cleveland and I went to Marietta, both members of the OAC). Underwood was without a doubt the friendliest member of the media I had a chance to talk with over the week.
When I arrived in the main lobby I met with a front office member of a team that had already offered me a position. We chatted more in-depth about why I should consider the position and the benefits the team had to offer me.
When it was all said and done, I had two offers made to me and two more that were still a possibility. On the long ride back to Ohio I had absolutely no idea where I was going to find myself when 2013 begins, and as I type this I’m still uncertain. I have time frames to make my decision, so I will give it a long thought and let it be known in a final wrap-up post on Ben’s Biz. What I do know is that the 2012 Winter Meetings were quite the experience and it was great to meet a lot of people in the industry as well as see a lot of MLB higher ups. I also really appreciate Ben (and his Dad, a fellow Zanesvillian) for the support giving me the opportunity to write about this trip, as I’m sure there were other Job Seekers whose journey may have been more noteworthy. With that being said, I hope everyone that went to the job fair found what they were looking for, whether that was a job, internship or the fact that baseball isn’t the industry for you. It certainly made me want to become a front office member full-time and have the chance to come back every year.
Thanks to Chris for taking the time to share his experiences. As he mentioned in the post, he’ll be checking back in one more time to let us know the results of his job-related deliberations.
Job Seeker Journal: Clint Belau, 12/5/12
Throughout this year’s Baseball 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 installment, Clint Belau writes about remaining optimistic amidst an atmosphere of indifference.
He then drops a bombshell, one that puts everything that had come before in a new light. Read on!
Clint Belau Archives: 12/2, 12/3, 12/4
Wednesday, 12/5/12 — SUNSHINE AND RAINBOWS
On a morning where I probably should have been discouraged about a lack of interview action, the waltz over was magnificent. Everything seemed to be a little extra fantastic today — the sun was shining brighter; the breeze more pleasant. I saw couples lovingly walking hand in hand (fine, it was only two couples, but that technically requires the plural use of the word). Along the way, I bumped into a Michiganite (I’m 92.7% sure Michiganite is not the correct term for someone from Michigan, but at this moment, I’m too lazy to Google it), and had a great chat. Coincidentally, it was the second day in a row that I bumped into a Michinganite (come on CB, you’re better than this) on the walk over. As I entered the Opryland Hotel, I walked past a dozen writers that I follow on Twitter. Yep, re-confirmed: this week is still awesome.
(follow Clint on Twitter: @ClintBelau)
When I arrived in the posting room for my morning check, there wasn’t much for me. In fact, there was nothing…again…but who cares? By this point, I was a little bit over the process. I had checked the posting room probably thirty times in the past three days, and it had yielded two interviews. It had become somewhat apparent that this wasn’t working for me. Admittedly, it was partially my fault, given that I hadn’t saturated the resume boxes applying for anything and everything. However, I did apply for every job I considered myself a reasonable candidate for (27 total, if you’re keeping track), and it was relatively obvious that a 35-year old with no four-year degree and a mixed bag of tricks experience-wise wasn’t what the majority of the teams are looking for. If my resume was a child, its parents would probably try to lose it in the mall.
My main goals today were to make myself available whenever my previous interviewer wanted to meet for my third round interview, and to see as many baseball people as I could. So I set up camp outside of the main press conference room and kept my head on a swivel. Believe me, that was absolutely necessary. The stars of the industry were appearing fast and furious, and naming all of the people I saw would require a completely different blog. I know I’ve mentioned it many times in past entries, but the Winter Meetings truly are baseball nerd heaven.
As I roamed around the hotel, I made sure to keep checking my phone in case it A) was ringing and I couldn’t hear it or B) if I had gotten a text and I missed the notification tone. As the noon hour passed paranoia began to set in, so I returned to the workroom, where I could focus on staring at my phone. On a general level, the workroom was light in both population and enthusiasm. The same conversations of “How’s your day going?” and “Had any interviews lately?” were growing tired. While I was genuinely excited for those who were continuing to have interviews, I was concerned by how I went from definitely getting a call to meet with the general manager and owner of a team to not even deserving of a call/text to tell me they were going in a “different direction.” Having concluded an hour or so of analyzing every second of conversation that had previously taken place I was left a bit baffled, but determined to turn this afternoon around.
I returned to the scene of the real action on this day — the main lobby outside of the media room. After all, today was supposed to be a big day for trades and signings. Within seconds, I was rubbing elbows with Joe Girardi, Mike Scoscia, Terry Francona and David Wright. I shook hands with Tim Kurkjian, Kevin Millar and the master of awesome, Peter Gammons. (And so concludes the name dropping portion of the program.) What I’m sloppily attempting to convey is that, although the Job Fair portion of this week turned out to be a bit more miss than hit for me, the reasons I was able to qualify this as one of the best weeks of my life were many.
Now before you start feeling too sorry for me, I do have a bit of information to share with the group. After months of obsessing over several job listing websites, sending out over 90 cover letters and resumes and hoping for a bite, last Friday I received a call from the Birmingham Barons to set up a phone interview. The initial interview went extremely well, and led to a second interview mere hours later. The second interview went equally as well, and led to a third call just one hour later. That third call was a job offer in baseball operations. Completely stunned by the immediacy of that particular interview process, I didn’t have an answer at the time. I was twelve hours from leaving for Nashville, and my mind was in several different places at the same time. I have since accepted that offer, and will be joining the Birmingham Barons staff next month. (editor’s note: !!!) I wanted to go through this week as if that offer did not exist, but now that the Job Fair process has concluded I thought it was relevant information to share.
Since I will be creating an additional post in the coming days that will wrap up my Job Fair experience, I am hesitant to come to any total conclusion about what my feelings were on the process (as they may change slightly with a little distance). However, if you asked me to rate the value of the Job Fair experience at this moment, my answer would be “whatever the highest rating available is, go one notch higher than that.” For anyone who is attempting to break into this industry, no matter your age or background, this Job Fair is a must. The experience I had here was invaluable, and although it didn’t directly lead to any job offers, it certainly did allow me to make this dream of a career in baseball feel real and attainable. I hope my story was at the very least readable, with the hope that it was actually interesting. Alright, bring it in…group hug, then lets all get outta here. Thanks for reading.
And thank you, Clint, for writing — and congrats on the job! Stay tuned for a final wrap-up post from Clint next week.
Job Seeker Journal: Linda Le, 12/4/12
Throughout this year’s Baseball 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 installment, Linda Le thinks outside of the box, makes connections, and plays the drinking game.
Linda’s first entry can be found HERE.
Tuesday, 12/4/12: GOING BEYOND THE JOB FAIR
Upon arriving to the interview schedule room to check up on any of the postings I had applied to, the same organized chaos ensued, the same disappointed faces appeared and the pacing back and forth from room to room continued.
Most of the positions I had applied to at this point were still not posted for scheduled interviews with the exception of one. I was disappointed to not see my name listed, but I still proceeded to email the contact for the team to send my regards.
There was actually one posting that I didn’t apply to originally and instead of going through the process of submitting my resume I decided to email the contact listed on the posting, which happened to be the GM for the team. This paid off as I got a quick turnaround time of a response in regards to setting up an interview for the next day.
During the afternoon as well I made time to email a couple of contacts over at the Major League team in my hometown, specifically in regards to being involved in the charity foundation that is set up in the organization. Not only was I provided with more information on the volunteer program that was being formalized but I was also added to the list of participants for the upcoming season.
This adheres to the notion that you don’t necessarily need to go through the conventional ways of pursuing an opportunity – think outside of the box. Always make opportunities happen rather than waiting for them. I believe in having the mentality of always trying to hustle and selling yourself – if you can’t sell yourself, how do you expect to be apart of an organization that revolves around the business of selling?
Another aspect of the day was meeting several job seekers who decided that the idea of working in professional baseball was not so favorable to them anymore. One individual stated that the possible sacrifices that may be made, especially being a female in the industry, was too much of a toll for her to continue her pursuit in professional baseball. Looking back at the Business of Baseball Workshop, Pat O’Conner indicated that some people who were here for the job fair will find out that perhaps working in baseball is not ideal which is perfectly fine – better to know now than to invest so much time and effort in an industry you will not enjoy.
The end of the night was capped off like every other night so far here at the Winter Meetings: drinking and more drinking. Earlier I talked about the waiting game, but it’s the drinking game that seems more appropriate here at the Gaylord Opryland – my favorite is to drink every time I see a male attendee of the Winter Meetings. It’s within these settings that are perfect for making great connections within the industry and it’s also a way for industry people to see you in a social setting because to be apart of a baseball organization is to take on a new family and when someone can see you in that perspective, it’s always appreciated.
Clearly, this narrative has not reached its conclusion. Stay tuned for the sure-to-be engrossing next installment of Linda’s job-seeking adventures.
Job Seeker Journal: Clint Belau, 12/4/12
Throughout this year’s Baseball 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 installment, Clint Belau rides the emotional rollercoaster amidst an overstimulating atmosphere.
Clint’s first entry can be found HERE. His second one? HERE.
Tuesday, 12/4/12 — A LITTLE RAIN CAN’T SLOW ME DOWN
As I woke up still riding the high of having a beer bought for me by the manager of my favorite team, I prepared for a rainy morning hike to Opryland. Although yesterday was slow overall, I remained hopeful that today would be different. Upon arrival at the ever popular interview room around 10 o’clock (calm down, I’m not that much of a slacker. I got there at 9, I just got caught up on the lobby talking to a few folks), my hopes were a bit dashed. My name was non-existent on every list, and the new job postings were minimal. On this day, it wasn’t due to a lack of lists…there were plenty of interview schedules posted. I just apparently had not made the cut.
But far be it for this Debby to get down. I decided to get back on the horse by heading down to the trade show for a bit. A larger mecca of sports-related vendors I had never seen. If my eyes manage to remain in my head this entire week, it’ll be a miracle. Bats, turf, mascot outfits, fan engagement technology (nice new term usage CB!), shirts, hats, uniforms, bobbleheads, golf carts, hitting instruction tools and yes, even free hot dogs, filled the various booths. Oh, and Miss Florida was there too. I had the opportunity to speak with a couple of the vendors that were kind enough to put up with me and my questions about what their business relationship is like with a given team. In the matter of the hour, I not only learned a lot, but developed a small brainful (I have limited space available) of ideas to implement with (caution: egotistical statement upcoming) whatever team is fortunate enough to employ me.
Click HERE to see MiLB.com’s Trade Show photo gallery
After a quick check of the interview scheduling room, the interview situation, for me, had not changed. Lots of new interview schedule lists, none included my name. I headed back over near the MLB TV set, which is apparently the location I seek when needing to re-center my chi, and it indeed worked. As I strolled through, I bumped into Ken Rosenthal, Harold Reynolds and Jack Morris. With that, the nerdy grin was back on my face, and I was reminded of what an amazing environment this is. And within seconds of successful chi alignment, I had a text from a team that I had interviewed with on Monday! Not only did they want another interview, but this one would be with the owner of the team! I don’t think they bring the owner in to tell you that you sucked in the first interview, and they never want to hear from you again. After a quick meet up with their general manager to discuss the time and place, we planned to meet Wednesday. Which gives me approximately 24 hours to obsess over ridiculous, hypothetical scenarios.
A return to what was becoming an increasingly sedated workroom, brought forth conversations of varying attitudes. Some candidates had as many as a dozen interviews today and are excited (read: hopped up on Red Bull), some had fewer, but remain hopeful, and sprinkled in the mix were the depressed. I’ve done my best to try to pick them up a bit, but when some people want to sulk, they just want to sulk. Well, go for it. Me, I’m determined to enjoy every step of this journey. I’m also determined to get more free hot dogs, so it’s back to the trade show!
Today’s not as cool as yesterday, but still this is a pretty cool story – On the advice of The Dude (not in a derogatory sense, as I feel like this particular gentlemen would appreciate the Big Lebowski comparison) at the mini mart near my hotel, I decided to visit John A’s, for what was touted as “the best catfish sandwich I’ll ever have”. It was indeed delicious. However, after finishing my meal and beginning a lengthy interview session with the vacationers to my immediate left, a legend of the game strolled into the bar. With a posse of four guardians, Tommy Lasorda made as grand an entrance as could be made into a bar with a mere ten partons. As he headed for a table, he walked directly towards me. Now I had arrived at John A’s around 9, and this was taking place at 11:15, so I was feeling fairly confident. As Mr. Lasorda approached, I extended my hand, and out spilled a surprisingly calm “It’s a pleasure to meet you, Mr. Lasorda”. As he shook my hand, the words “syntax error” most likely scrolled acorss my eyes. My brain shut off for the remainder of the night, and somehow, I ended up back in my hotel room, eating a bag of Cheez-its, and literally laughing out loud at the ridiculousness of this week. With one day of interviewing left, my confidence was at an all time high.
Clint’s rollicking narrative is far from over; perhaps it will never end. Check back later this week for more. That’s an order