The Baseball Winter Meetings are scheduled to take place from Dec. 6-9 at the Gaylord Opryland hotel in Nashville, Tennessee. A key component of this multi-faceted and increasingly massive event is the annual PBEO Job Fair, in which industry aspirants seek to secure professional baseball employment.
Looking for a job at the Winter Meetings is equal parts exhilarating and maddening, as hundreds of seekers vie to land a geographically and economically appropriate position. Some are content with securing an internship — anything to get that proverbial foot in the door — while others have already gone this route and are now intent on full-time employment. Some are just out of (or still in) college, while others are taking a leap of faith by trying to break into baseball after having started out within a different line of work.
Every story is unique and worth sharing. In 2015, as during the previous three Winter Meetings, I will run a series of Job Seeker Journal guest posts on this blog (these will also be compiled and featured daily on MiLB.com). Therefore:
Are YOU attending the Winter Meetings as a Job Seeker?
Do you want to write about it?
If so, please get in touch — firstname.lastname@example.org — with a photo of yourself and the following information:
— Name, Age, Hometown, College, Twitter Handle (if applicable)
— Prior Sports Industry Experience (if applicable)
— Why do you want to work in baseball?
— Why do you want to write about it?
— One random fact about yourself (this can, literally, be anything)
Emails from interested Job Seeker Journal writers must be received within one week from today: the deadline is Tuesday, Dec. 1 at 5 p.m. ET. Three individuals will be chosen (selected by myself, with input from an esteemed group of MiLB.com colleagues), and introduced in Dec. 4’s “Minoring in Business” feature on MiLB.com. (This feature will include your answers to the above questions, similar to THIS, from last year). Selected journal writers will be responsible for writing four entries during the Winter Meetings, one for each day (Sunday through Wednesday).
This is a great opportunity to share your unique perspective on a baseball career rite of passage, and, who knows? The exposure you get from these journals could, for better or for worse, help separate yourself from what is always a crowded field of candidates.
If you have any questions, then do not hesitate to get in touch. Good luck and hope to hear from you!
Throughout this year’s Winter Meetings in San Diego, four attendees of the PBEO Job Fair have agreed to keep a journal chronicling their employment-seeking experiences (meet them all HERE.). In this, her fourth and (for now) final installment, Julie Brady
Read all of Julie’s posts HERE.
“I shall have to think about it… I’ll do it.”
-Roger De Bris, The Producers
“This is your last chance. After this, there is no turning back. You take the blue pill – the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill – you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes.”
-Morpheus, The Matrix
“I see in your eyes the same fear that would take the heart of me. A day may come when the courage of men fails, when we forsake our friends and break all bonds of fellowship, but it is not this day. An hour of wolves and shattered shields, when the age of men comes crashing down! But it is not this day! This day we fight! By all that you hold dear on this good Earth, I bid you stand, job seekers of the PBEO job fair!”
-Aragorn, Return of the King, basically
A great thing about the Winter Meetings is that, when you don’t have to stress out about finding a job, you can really just sort of hang out, enjoy yourself, and watch the chaos. There’s so much happening at any given time that it’s not hard to find something to do.
Since I had an abundance of free time on Wednesday, thanks to my new status as Employed American, I decided to go sightsee the stars at the Hyatt until the Trade Show opened for the day. I set up on the second-ish floor, where MLB Network and other TV and radio stations were located, and tried to act as if I weren’t blatantly using other peoples’ job duties as entertainment. No sir, nothing here on this wall but us flies.
As it turns out, I had chosen a great location. Several baseball power players walked back and forth, some even hanging out in small clusters in front of me. Most of them I didn’t recognize, but there’s a look that certain old guys in nice suits have that screams, “I make big decisions!” A few of them I did recognize, though: Kenny Williams, John Hart, Mike Scioscia, Joe Maddon and Theo Epstein (with a fairly sizable posse), Kim Ng and Terry Ryan, at the very least. I figured that probably none of them were interested in talking to one of the millions of early-20ish people hanging around, so I stayed put and just creepily watched. No regrets.
After a while, I went and grabbed lunch with Liana and then went to the Trade Show. This was strategically planned— since it was the last day, we knew that they would be handing out free stuff left and right. That’s another thing that Liana is good at, in addition to being able to talk to anyone about anything: getting free stuff. I’m actually writing this from under a very cozy Winter Meetings blanket courtesy of MV Sport. Additional gains were a glasses case made out of baseball material, checkered sunglasses and a huge freaking bar of chocolate from a health insurance company. It made packing for the flight back a little more difficult, but again: no regrets.
I had a final interview that afternoon with Lara Juras, Vice President of HR with the Atlanta Braves, although it was purely informational since I had already accepted Inland Empire’s job offer. It turns out that Lara Juras is one of the coolest and nicest people around, and she got me all preemptively excited about next year’s Winter Meetings, especially the Women in Baseball seminar. She also turned out to be a friend of Mike Veeck’s, which I am all about. It went really well, and it was nice walking out of the interview room one last time without having to worry.
Then it was Gala time at Petco Park. It was definitely top three on my list of “Strangest Events I Have Ever Gone To” (below a Flaming Lips concert but above the Macy’s Day Parade). I don’t really know how to explain it other than I feel pretty confident that the decorations were planned by someone who has never experienced winter but has very strong feelings about what winter is like. Not that it was bad! But it was definitely interesting. Bubbles masquerading as snow, an actual pile of snow brought in to create a sledding experience, girls in plastic balls and girls doing acrobatic stunts hanging from ribbons, a Christmas train, an inflatable snow globe… it was very surreal. At the Gala you could see a very clear difference between those of us from warm states and those of us from cold states. Warm-staters were out of their minds with joy; cold-staters exchanged knowing glances.
There was also an abundant amount of free food and drinks, which was literally sweet (I embarked on a scavenger hunt for chocolate cake pops after a heads-up from my new boss. Amazing). We spent a lot of the evening hanging out with the Kane County Cougars contingent, and it was nice catching up. It was all capped off by a guided tour of the Padres clubhouse. Petco is a beautiful ballpark, and I look forward to someday getting to see it when it’s not living a double life as a Dali-esque winter wonderland.
Then the party was over and they kicked us all out and we said our goodbyes and headed home. The 65 degree temperature change I experienced today was made easier by the knowledge that it’s only temporary; in about three weeks, I will be living in an entirely different climate.
This week in San Diego went about as well as I could have possibly hoped. I met some awesome people, did some really cool things and ate a lot of food. Not every industry has an annual event of this scope and entertainment, and that’s just another way among so many in which I’m extremely lucky. I can’t thank everyone who helped me out enough (Ben! Looking at you for the opportunity to force people to read what I have to say!), and I’m sure the connections I’ve made here will persist throughout the years. Let me go full cheese here to conclude: I can’t believe it’s over, but I know that it’s only just beginning.
Winter Meetings by the Numbers!
3: number of weeks that the Winter Meetings felt like they lasted
4: number of days the Winter Meetings actually lasted
70: degrees in San Diego
25: degrees in Chicago
10: number of Important Baseball Executives who, in the span of an observed two hour period, tried to go into an out-of-order bathroom and got confused (most prominent: Mike Scioscia)
4: hours of sleep a night
6: hours after standing next to Dick Enberg at the Trade Show that I realized that it was Dick Enberg
Too numerous to count: number of times pointing out how weird it is to hear Christmas music while you’re outside sweating
Legion: number of job seekers
Bunches: amount of free stuff from the trade show
14: number of interviews I had, canceled, or had to turn down
1: job offer received and accepted
66: with “ers,” the name of my new team!
Thanks to Julie for taking the time to write about her job-seeking experiences throughout the Winter Meetings. We’ll check back in with her, and her three employment-seeking compatriots, later in the offseason. Stay tuned!
Throughout this year’s Winter Meetings in San Diego, four attendees of the PBEO Job Fair agreed to keep a journal chronicling their employment-seeking experiences (meet them all HERE.). In this, his fourth and (for now) final installment, Darius gives thanks, ponders his options and makes movie references aplenty.
Read all of Darius’ posts HERE.
Day Four at the Winter Meetings: Where in the World Where Will Carmen Sandiego Be?
“Boy, that escalated quickly. I mean that got out of hand really fast.” –Ron Burgundy.
Come on. You had to expect a bevy of Anchorman references at some point. Sixty percent of the time those jokes work every time.
I’m done. Just allow me a BAXTER!!! And I love lamp. Now I promise I’m done….
So today’s title is more clever than I thought when I initially planned another way to work a “San Diego” reference into my final journal.
At the moment I feel like an ACME Detective trying to figure out where the newest chase will take me. Plus, there was a Thigpen who starred in the show as The Chief. Works for me. Now that I’ve gotten the awful allusions and such out of my system let’s get serious.
“It’s competitive, but not cutthroat.” –Several broadcasters, on breaking into the field of baseball broadcasting.
That’s real on both fronts. It’s hard to get into broadcasting. Ben Gellman-Chomsky was here for his fifth Winter Meetings as a job seeker and he gave me great advice throughout the stay. He was fighting me for several positions. We did a podcast together each day. We each made the first cut on broadcasting jobs which only one person could get.
I’m happy to say that he will not walk away empty-handed. Ben was offered a job and accepted it Wednesday. I’m excited for Ben as he continues to grow in baseball and he takes on his new endeavor.
Competitive, not cutthroat. He and I became good friends during this trip to San Diego and hopefully we’ll stay in touch as we each try to move up in the world of broadcasting even if we’re on rival teams or competing for jobs. Maybe we’ll wind up working together one day.
As for me? No job offers yet, but I had seven interviews and that’s something I’m thankful for. After talking to some of the people in hiring positions I can say that the “broadcast” category was the slimmest in terms of jobs available, but by far the most popular to apply for. One team had 174 applicants for 15 interviews and only one person will get the job.
Looking ahead, just knowing I made the cut in a situation like that makes my day. I came here seeking employment, but even if I don’t get a job directly from this trip to California it’s not a failure. I loved getting to spend time with the other job seekers, broadcasters, GMs, sales representatives, graphic designers, promotions team members and everyone else at the Winter Meetings. We all love baseball, love sports and are willing to work hard at jobs we love to do. Meeting a bunch of other like-minded people who were all genuinely nice throughout this taxing process made this trip great. No matter what else happens, this experience was not a waste.
So as I say my final goodbyes to the wonderful city of San Diego and I prepare to depart for the airport in 90 minutes at 6 a.m. PST today (Thursday) I know this experience was definitely worth it.
I appreciate everyone for taking time to check out the blog posts and thanks for stopping by. You stay classy, Ben’s Biz Blog readers.
I don’t want to say goodbye or anything cause I don’t wanna leave… so see you later, San Diego https://t.co/FFpa45T40m
— Darius Montez (@Thig08) December 11, 2014
Thanks to Darius for taking the time to write about his job-seeking experiences throughout the Winter Meetings. We’ll check back in with him, and his three employment-seeking compatriots, later in the offseason. Stay tuned!
Throughout this year’s Winter Meetings in San Diego, four attendees of the PBEO Job Fair have agreed to keep a journal chronicling their employment-seeking experiences (meet them all HERE.). In this, his fourth and (for now) final installment, Sean Banks puts the proverbial bow on his 2014 Baseball Winter Meetings experience.
Read all of Sean’s posts HERE.
My phone tells me that it is 35 degrees in Evansville, Indiana, this morning with a chance of a final exam. Who leaves San Diego for that?
I do. That guy sitting in the Atlanta airport for five hours pecking away on his laptop. Was leaving necessary? Maybe. Clinically insane? Definitely. At the time of writing this journal, I find myself searching for any logical reason to not go back to school today. I was about two rash decisions away from accepting an airline credit and giving up my seat on the plane from San Diego to avoid leaving, if only for a few more hours. Somewhere along the way I tweeted that these past few days constituted the best experience of my life. And that wasn’t an exaggeration.
It didn’t really sink in that we had to leave until we were putting our bags into storage at the hotel and heading to the Convention Center for the final few hours of the Job Fair. We crossed the train tracks and waited for the walk sign to tell us when we could safely cross. I don’t really take orders very well and got pretty tired of that machine yelling at me to wait every day. It’s fitting though, right? All we did in San Diego was wait…and then wait some more.
If you guys didn’t catch Ben’s Vine about the escalator at the Convention Center doubling as a portal into another dimension of space and time, you should definitely go check it out. But, despite its futuristic look, I could argue that it (the escalator) functions in much the same fashion. Once landed on the other side of the portal, an outsider would likely feel very out of place. The baseball world is full of interesting people, but add in a little desperation and a ton of passion, and someone who doesn’t understand the baseball world will think that he has slipped through a wormhole to another dimension. And that’s the best part.
Once we climbed the Stairway of Opportunity (I’m just full of ridiculous analogies and inspirational idiomatic expressions this morning), I found my name on another interview sheet and quickly signed up for a time. Then more waiting. And more $4 Cokes — they ran out of Dr. Pepper. I’ve always been good at interviewing so I don’t really get nervous anymore. I crushed the interview and now find myself wishing someone would hire me. I’m not bitter or frustrated…just impatient.
Waiting is a lot better with friends, though. And we made plenty of those while passing the time in between trips to the job posting and interview posting rooms. I had an online pre-departure meeting for my study abroad and learned that listening to six different people and paying attention to a PowerPoint presentation is essentially impossible. But, I made my best effort to do both because the relationships I have formed with people who enjoy baseball just as much as I do are more important than anything else that happened this weekend. I am a part of two fraternities on my campus, and many people say Minor League Baseball is like a fraternity. I definitely see the similarities. I’m just waiting to get initiated.
I’m already gushing about this experience, and I can’t wait to get home and tell everyone about it. It would be awesome if I had an email tomorrow morning with a job offer, but if I don’t I’ll still tell all of my friends and professors that this was the greatest experience of my life thus far. My only regret is that we couldn’t make it to the Gala on Wednesday evening. We didn’t make it to the Gala in Orlando either, and it was my fault both times. Or I guess you could blame my professors. I’m tired of finals. I’m tired of school. But it will all be over soon, and I’ll start my adventure of a career in Minor League Baseball. After all, who doesn’t like adventuring?
So stay classy, San Diego. And commence the countdown to the 2015 Baseball Winter Meetings in Nashville.
Thanks to Sean for taking the time to write about his job-seeking experiences throughout the Winter Meetings. We’ll check back in with her, and her three employment-seeking compatriots, later in the offseason. Stay tuned!
Throughout this year’s Winter Meetings in San Diego, four attendees of the PBEO Job Fair agreed to keep a journal chronicling their employment-seeking experiences (meet them all HERE.). In this, her fourth and (for now) final installment, Katie pounds the pavement one last time before returning to a world of optimistic uncertainty.
Read all of Katie’s posts HERE.
I had some free time this morning, and did not have much planned for the day, so I sat down at a table in the Hyatt and began writing down my takeaways from this week. I wrote about uncertainty, which is something that plagues all of us job seekers. Coming into the Winter Meetings, I was uncertain what to expect. I was uncertain if I would be able to meet anyone in Baseball Operations. I was uncertain if anything would come out of this. Taking the initiative to come to Winter Meetings was scary because it is one of the largest steps I could take to really put myself out there in the baseball world, and with putting yourself out there comes uncertainty and fear of failure.
My day was filled with uncertainty and many twists and turns. Initially when I sat down to write, I said that “things were calming down a bit” as the week progressed. Boy did I speak too soon. My day took a 180, and I lined up four meetings at the last minute. I even decided to take a later flight back to school.
I got to the Hyatt at 8:30 am, and met up with one of the agents I worked for last summer. I thought our meeting would just be to catch up, but instead he very kindly offered to put me in contact with a few people in Baseball Ops for a couple of organizations. He also encouraged me to look at the 2014 Baseball America Directory, which has all the names and contact information for every MLB front office. I hustled over to the Trade Show and grabbed a copy of my own. I then made my last trek back to the Hyatt. (Thank God because I’m not sure how much more my feet could take!)
Then I had back-to-back-to-back-to-back meetings. Some were informational, while some were more like interviews that ended with a plan to remain in touch in the coming weeks. Maybe an internship would be in my future. Again, I’d like to reiterate what I said on Day Three: I have been so surprised and grateful to all the people who have been so open with me about their experiences in baseball, and I am shocked by the kindness that everyone has exhibited.
As you’re reading this, I have already flown back to Stanford, taken my final exam, and am probably on my flight back to San Diego for Winter Break. So I’m kind of back where you first met me — on my way to San Diego, still looking for a job, still facing uncertainty. But this time I’m certain about one thing: A career in baseball is for me. Just like my job seeking process, there’s a lot of uncertainty and circumstances that cannot be predicted in baseball. You may have a rain delay. Heck, you might even have a bee delay! But as one of my favorite movies, Fever Pitch, puts it, “At 1:05 or 7:05, there is a game. And if it gets rained out, guess what? They make it up to you. Does anything else in your life do that?” Even though you may be thrown a curveball, everything works out in the end. That ended up being my day today, and I hope that happens for my long-term career as well.
Thanks to Katie for taking the time to write about her job-seeking experiences throughout the Winter Meetings. We’ll check back in with her, and her three employment-seeking compatriots, later in the offseason. Stay tuned!
Throughout this year’s Winter Meetings in San Diego, four attendees of the PBEO Job Fair have agreed to keep a journal chronicling their employment-seeking experiences (meet them all HERE.). In this, his third installment, Sean Banks revels in the present, thinks about his future, and gets himself in an L. Frank Baum frame of mind.
Read all of Sean’s posts HERE.
If only Charlene could see me now.
The good luck Winter Meetings t-shirt served me well this afternoon in my noble quest to become a squire within the halls of Castle Minor League Baseball. I landed my first interview today and feel like I knocked it out of the park (like baseball, get it?). I will be awaiting my suitor’s call to take the next step.
After all, it’s a long, drawn-out process. Go to college, they said. Get a degree, they said. Apply for jobs, they said. Well, here I am applying for jobs and living the dream, taking interviews as they come and hoping for my first big break. Sounds like a pretty solid Tuesday.
I won’t bore you with the drab details of the morning. We got to the Convention Center in suit and tie and were prepared to take over the world. Not much was different today. It was a lot like yesterday. Lots of sitting. Lots of waiting. Lots of walking. Plenty of $4 Dr. Peppers. But, the time seemed to pass a little more quickly today. And for those of you still counting, I was the only one of my group of friends that had an interview. Put another mark in my win column.
What should not be lost in all of this Job Fair business, though, is that I completed all of the requirements for my health class today at the Convention Center and got my Music Literature paper turned in last night after a super long day. One week from today, I will have met all the requirements for a degree in music (provided I pass finals) and will be preparing to fly to the Dominican Republic for my study abroad and to obtain my Spanish degree. I grind at the Job Fair because I can’t wait to tell “them” how I made it. Ideally, I’ll land a job offer for a position when I get back from the DR in May and everything will be just a big mess of mushy happiness. Stay tuned for that.
Snap back to reality. Today went a lot like this: arrive, lunch, interview, sushi, bar. I’m a huge sushi fan so after the job posting room closed at five o’clock, we headed down to the marina to enjoy some raw fish by the water in the fresh air. Food always tastes a little better when you’ve had a good day. It’s also a lot easier to network. After dinner, we walked over to the Hilton and then to the Hyatt where we watched the Jon Lester news break in person and reconnected with some fellow job seekers who are trying just as hard to break in. I can’t get over how exciting this atmosphere is. I can’t get over how much I want to work in baseball for the rest of my life.
There is only one disappointing thing about this whole experience. And that’s that we have to go home tomorrow. Tomorrow night, I’ll catch a red-eye flight to Atlanta which will connect me to Evansville where, upon arrival, I’ll take the most demanding and, frankly, unnecessary final exam I’ve ever taken. Then I’ll have another final on Friday and a couple more after that. Here’s wishing the Winter Meetings were taking place all the time and we could all just live here. There’s definitely no place like home. Dorothy wasn’t wrong.
But home is where you make it. I came to the Job Fair, made the most out of these past few days, saw what I could and learned a lot. Up next? Wednesday at the Job Fair, where I hope to take the next steps toward finding my mess of mushy happiness in Minor League Baseball.
Toto, where you at, dawg?
Stay tuned for one more update from Sean this week, which will run on the blog Friday. (Thursday is a travel day for all involved in this endeavor).
Throughout this year’s Winter Meetings in San Diego, four attendees of the PBEO Job Fair have agreed to keep a journal chronicling their employment-seeking experiences (meet them all HERE.). In this, his third installment, Darius Thigpen plays the dating game and the waiting game.
Read all of Darius’ posts HERE.
Day Three at the Winter Meetings: The Dating Game
“I hope the rest of your interviews go well… but not too well.”
Up until this point for me the Winter Meetings had been a lot of applying, conversing, shaking hands and waiting. There was lots and lots of waiting. Tuesday was finally the day I got to run around and actually interview for positions I applied for. It was truly a great problem to have.
I had four interviews scheduled for Tuesday and two for Wednesday at the time of writing this. That’s about half of the jobs I applied for or what I consider to be a whole heck of a lot.
Most of the broadcasters at the Job Fair have been frustrated. There are something like 60 (probably a lot more) broadcasters here all applying for a dozen positions and only five to 10 for each position will even get an interview. I’ve heard from other broadcasters that it’s a totally real scenario to show up to the Meetings and walk away without so much as an interview. Broadcasting is a very competitive industry to break into and tough to move up in, but us broadcast guys and gals can’t get discouraged; we have to stick with it.
Personally, I’m thankful just to have interviews lined up. It’s my first PBEO Job Fair, but in the past when applying for jobs I’d send out 40 applications. I’d hear back from five of those teams and be told within a week from three of them that I wasn’t the guy. That leaves two that would give me an interview and one where I’d get a job offer. Not exactly “show up and get interviews and job offers thrown at you.”
Still, what the Job Fair provides is an opportunity to network. In the end, most of these teams will hire someone that they know. For us broadcasters the team’s Director of Broadcasting is making the decision. He will want to work with someone he can trust and generally get along with over the course of a baseball season. You’ll be together every day over the course of a long, long, baseball season so the two of you should probably like each other.
So, regarading the whole interview process. Many hirers (that’s a word, right?) opted to make use of the interview room in the convention center and some decided to go a different route and meet up at one of the hotels or the Trade Show. Both had strengths and weaknesses.
Meeting in the interview room was straightforward. The teams were assigned to a number of tables and even if you didn’t know who you were interviewing with the board outside the room had the team interview tables so you at least knew exactly where to be. Simple.
The problem is that the whole thing kind of felt like speed dating. There are hundreds of other conversations going on and inadvertently some of those bleed into yours. I overheard someone else reference Ohio State and it distracted me for a second. (I should probably just get checked for Buckeye Fever, though.)
Meeting away from the interviewing room was nice. It was more relaxed, and we enjoyed the weather and light ocean air of San Diego at dusk. It was a warm day leading into a crisp night with not a drop of humidity in the atmosphere. A picture perfect day.
The only problem was that it came with its own distractions. Joggers ran by, and I think Theo Epstein passed by my interview a couple of times (was he scouting me?) and there was the ever-problematic yet unavoidable staring-into-the-sun issue. No matter how you arrange seating someone will have the sun staring them in the face.
Overall the interviewing process was good for me. I got my questions answered and no one laughed me off or told me to get lost. If this was a speed dating session I would have gotten a hug and maybe a phone number or two rather than a slap to the face.
I have no clue what happens at speed dating, but that at least sounds like what could happen.
Stay tuned for one more update from Darius this week, which will run on the blog Friday. (Thursday is a travel day for all involved). In the meantime, check him out on Instagram.
Throughout this year’s Winter Meetings in San Diego, four attendees of the PBEO Job Fair have agreed to keep a journal chronicling their employment-seeking experiences (meet them all HERE.). In this, her third installment, Katie Carlson reflects on how a little kindness goes a long way.
Read all of Katie’s posts HERE.
On Day One, one of the most important messages that speakers got across to us was how the baseball industry is truly about connecting with people and creating memories. As I listened to my favorite country music on the drive home tonight, I couldn’t help but feel nostalgic that tomorrow is the last day of the Winter Meetings. I don’t know what I expected coming into this week, but my experience has exceeded my wildest dreams.
I’m in a different position than most job seekers. Because I am still in college and will be graduating in June (Stanford is on the quarter system), I am somewhat limited regarding the types of jobs for which I can apply. There are few jobs in the Job Postings room that fit my schedule, and even fewer in baseball operations (though I am also interested in media relations and would be thrilled to work with a team in that capacity as well). Because of this dilemma, I really haven’t spent much time in the Job Postings room this week. As I wrote yesterday, I’ve spent most of my time networking and hoping that a job may come out of it down the road. What I did not realize coming into Winter Meetings was how willing people would be to spend the time to help little old me, giving advice and helping me in any way that they can. These people are making blockbuster deals and still take the time to sit down with me. All I can say is Wow and Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
I started off the day by grabbing coffee with an Assistant General Manager for an MLB club. He gave me some great advice. Within Baseball Ops there are various specialties — Scouting, Player Development, Analytics and more general management, for example. He said to try to narrow down which department I wanted to be in, and focus on getting as much experience in that area as possible. That means taking online classes in statistical modeling if I want to go into analytics, or creating a blog and going out to scout as many high school/college/minor league games as possible. Learning more about one particular area would help make you a specialist, which would make you more valuable to an organization.
In the afternoon I met with a family friend, who has been so unbelievably helpful in guiding me through the networking process. He has known my dad since college, and is one of those guys who seems to know absolutely everyone. He has brokered several meetups for me and continues to go above and beyond. I only hope that one day I can repay these people or pay it forward to others dreaming of breaking into the industry. Sorry to be all sentimental, but I really mean it.
Between my various coffee dates, I resigned myself to a spot at the bar and attempted to study for my final exam on the neurological processes underlying auditory and visual perception. Sounds thrilling, right? Definitely not the easiest thing to do when Kevin Millar and Aubrey Huff are standing at the bar next to you.
I tried to last as long as possible at the Hyatt lobby bar, getting as much networking in as possible before I depart tomorrow, but as I’m sure everyone who is attending Winter Meetings can attest, it is very draining. I spent a lot of time talking with my coworkers from Beverly Hills Sports Council again today. I was extremely fortunate to have worked with such an ambitious, yet kind and passionate, group of people last summer, and it has been great to reconnect with them. As I said at the beginning of this post, the baseball industry is really special because of the people. Being able to reconnect with past co-workers, meet fellow job seekers and learn from professionals has been an invaluable experience. Everyone is united by the love of the game. As the great Tommy Lasorda said, “It’s a wonderful feeling to be a bridge to the past and to unite generations. The sport of baseball does that, and I’m just a part of it.” I hope that this is just the beginning, and that I will be lucky enough to be part of baseball for many years to come.
Stay tuned for one more update from Katie this week, which will run on the blog Friday. (Thursday is a travel day for all involved in this endeavor).
Throughout this year’s Winter Meetings in San Diego, four attendees of the PBEO Job Fair have agreed to keep a journal chronicling their employment-seeking experiences (meet them all HERE.). In this, her third installment, Julie Brady banishes the metaphorical asteroid.
Read all of Julie’s posts HERE.
Sometimes everything just goes wrong, you know? Your water bed springs a leak, you trip over your shoes, your maintenance check bounces, you die in a botched bank robbery, and then you have to live it all over again for the rest of eternity (I’ve been watching a lot of X-Files). Things pile on and it’s so hard to imagine that it’ll be ok again one day.
And then sometimes everything goes magically, incredibly, beautifully right. Sometimes it’s 10:30 a.m. on the first interview day of the Job Fair and you’re walking away from the Hilton with the promise of a job offer. In California. Where it’s warm, and there’s In-N-Out Burger, and mountains, and so much baseball.
Starting on January 5th, I will begin work as Marketing Coordinator for the Inland Empire 66ers in San Bernardino, California. That’s the first time I’ve written that out and, man, does it feel good. I didn’t want to jinx it by writing about it thoroughly or really at all yesterday, but now it’s official and all I have to do is find a printer to sign the agreement, so I can dish on the deets I know you’re all dying to hear.
In the two or so hours I spent applying for jobs at the San Diego Convention Center between Sunday afternoon and Monday, I dropped off probably 40 resumes. I carefully wrote down all of the job information for the positions I was applying for in the job posting room, then I carefully wrote that information in the top right-hand corner of my resume, then I carefully put all 40 resumes in the right resume boxes for the teams to pick up. There were more full-time positions than I thought there would be, but there were also a lot of people applying for all of them. I was just crossing my fingers and hoping for an interview. I’ve always been of the mindset that if I get the interview, I’m getting the job. Improv, people. It works.
And then, Bruce Willis stepped up to the plate and blasted that friggin’ asteroid to Nibiru. Mixed metaphors? Who’s ever heard of mixed metaphors?
Some background here: I spent the last half of my summer with the Kane County Cougars hanging out in the PA booth as often as I could, usually eating my stereotypical-intern-dinner of chicken tenders and fries (it was the most food for the least money). That’s where I realized that promotions and marketing is where I wanted to work. I’m an entertainer. It’s what I do. I want people to have fun. Scouting, analysis, player development, it would all be cool and fun and great, but I want to host the next Disco Demolition (I think we’re on Part 3 now). I want to have one idea in my life as innovative as the exploding scoreboard after a home run. I want to introduce something to baseball that baseball realizes it needs, and doesn’t know how it lived without.
It was in this PA booth that I got to know the PA announcer, Kevin Sullivan— Sully to friends and enemies. Sully is the kind of irreverent, brutally honest guy that either scares you away or draws you straight in (please realize that that is a compliment). When Sully realized that I could take his humor and throw it right back, I was granted Unofficial Rights to Sit in the Back of the PA Booth, Whenever. And it was a lot of fun. It was a fantastic backstage look, and I love going behind the scenes. Sully’s been in pro baseball for almost as long as I’ve been alive (but not so long in reverse-dog years), so when I wasn’t making jokes at appropriately timed intervals, I was keeping my mouth shut and learning a lot. And laughing a lot.
So, since it’s who you know, not what you know, Sully messaged me on Facebook Sunday night with a connection, the director of marketing for the 66ers. At 8 a.m. on Monday, I texted the number he gave me. By 8:30 a.m., we had a meeting set up for later at Starbucks. At 10 a.m. I found him and we talked about the team and the open positions and how I might fit in. And at 10:30 a.m., I was calling my mom and telling her I was moving to San Bernardino, baby.
So, although I still went to a bunch of interviews that day and signed up for a bunch more for today and tomorrow (better safe than sorry), I did so in sort of a stress-free dream state. It was so improbable. My very first interview of the whole thing was the one that landed me a job –I couldn’t believe it. I brought 150 resumes, business cards, a fatalistic attitude… and it all it took was one interview, an hour into the first day.
Talk about relief. Talk about gratitude. Talk about luck.
Today, after I accepted the offer and went to breakfast with my new team, I didn’t know what to do with myself. There was no need to do the whole job-posting-interview-scheduling song and dance, no need for me to walk another five miles. So I went back to the Hyatt, watched Ken Rosenthal pace around for a while, and then decided to go take a nap, because, well, I could. And it was glorious. My feet were almost as happy as I was.
Tomorrow is the last day of this crazy four-day experience, although it feels like it’s already been at least two weeks. I’m expecting to spend most of my time at the baseball trade show (free stuff!) and at the Hyatt, since I don’t need to go back to do job fair things. Then, it’s capped off with the gala at Petco Park, and everyone says goodbye and goes home to sleep for eight straight days, or so I assume. It’s been a total whirlwind, the busiest few days of my life, and although it’s been exhausting, I’m sorry that it’s almost over.
Congrats to Julie on the new job! Stay tuned for one more update from her this week, which will run on the blog Friday. (Thursday is a travel day for all involved).
Throughout this year’s Winter Meetings in San Diego, four attendees of the PBEO Job Fair have agreed to keep a journal chronicling their employment-seeking experiences (meet them all HERE.). In this, his second installment, Darius Thigpen compares, contrasts and makes an apropos reference to the pride of Tallahassee.
Read all of Darius’ posts HERE.
Day Two at the Winter Meetings: Can I Buy U a Drank?
Juxtaposition (noun) — An act or instance of placing close together or side by side, especially for comparison or contrast. In a sentence: The juxtaposition of the frantic, nervous energy of job seeking at the Winter Meetings and the relaxed nature of the veterans of the meetings plus the beauty of San Diego made for a curious day two.
In my Vine attached to this entry I initially pointed out the madness of the job seeking compared to beauty of the San Diego area. First off, I couldn’t get any shots inside the job posting room because I don’t want to get kicked out (no photography allowed). Secondly, Ben Gellman-Chomsky, who graciously invited me onto his podcast for the meetings, corrected me by responding to the Vine with “Not enough madness in my opinion.”
Dude was spot on.
— Darius Montez (@Thig08) December 8, 2014
After going into the job postings room and checking to see if teams wanted an interview, job seekers did A LOT of sitting around. We’re here looking for work so hanging around the events we’re not invited to (league meetings, owners meetings, the set of Baseball Tonight) doesn’t do us a ton of good. However, most of the people hiring the job seekers ARE in those meetings so we have to wait around for them to get done before we take the bottled up anxiety from hours of waiting for the interview that could change our lives and let it loose on the people who have been in meetings all day. It makes for an interesting scenario.
So you like the title of this post, right? For those who don’t know it is a reference to T-Pain (Tallahassee’s finest!) who had a song by that name reach number one on the Billboard Hot 100. It’s also a good summary for what happens at the Winter Meetings after dark, sort of. You don’t have to drink to be able to socialize, but you have to be able to socialize to make it in this industry.
The people hiring have to know they can trust you over the course of the longest season in sports and if they’d like to be around you that whole time. I’m not saying go to the bar and try to drink the first executive you see under the table, but definitely show that you can hold your own in conversation and be comfortable in a room full of (pretty important) strangers.
I loved getting to meet other broadcasters. Jon Chelesnik, CEO of STAA, is one of the nicest guys you could meet. He is energetic, personable, understanding of where we are in our careers and willing to help us take the next step. He’s the guy who you want to talk to about breaking into the industry because he knows it well. He’s willing to give you as much time as you’d like to talk and ask questions. He gives off the vibe of someone you’d love to hang around.
Meeting the creator of this very blog, Benjamin Hill, and the other job seeker writers was awesome. You can pepper Ben with questions about Minor League Baseball because he’s lived it. He travels around the country to different parks capturing the best the minors have to offer.
Sean was the first of the job seeking journal writes that I met. In his job hunt he’s kind of my mirror opposite. He wants to find jobs in media relations, writing and do everything that doesn’t have a broadcast element to it. He wants to be the guy who would make my job a whole heck of a lot easier as a broadcaster. That makes him my boy right off the top.
Then Katie entered. She and I were able to talk college baseball. Yes, many people scoff at the thought of the silly “ping” of a ball being barreled up, but Katie and I had a connection to the collegiate game. She works for Stanford baseball and I broadcast Ohio State games as an undergrad. Stanford beat Indiana in the NCAA Tournament this year, but Katie actually had a vested interest in the Hoosiers. She knows Sam Travis and Joey DeNato, a couple of the Hoosiers who helped lead Indiana to its first College World Series in 2013, leaving my Buckeyes in the wake. Thanks for reminding me of that.
Finally Julie arrived. She and I spent a short time gushing over how awesome Wayne Brady is (seriously, I wish I had his kind of talent). She has experience with improvisational comedy. Some of her skills from improv are being able to make adjustments on the fly, being entertaining and being able to roll with the punches even when the critics get unruly. Those are skills any professional should have, but in broadcast those are especially valuable tools. While she’s not looking to be a broadcaster I still learned a great deal from her.
On the one hand the Winter Meetings is intimidating because there are so many important people walking around, but on the other it comes down to whether or not you can get along with people. That goes a long way in this industry.
The next post from Darius, as well as posts from his three Job Seeker Journal compatriots, will appear on Wednesday. The saga continues…