ESPN Bottomline 2.0

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Young & Looking For a Job in Baseball? Good Luck.

I am going to have a couple of posts today wrapping up my thoughts and times at the Baseball Winter Meetings in Indianapolis. The first post is on the subject that so many young job seekers want to know -- How do I get a job in baseball?

Well, to be honest, there is really no sure fire way to break down the door. But at the PBEO job fair this week the skills and job seeking techniques that will come in handy if you are to try. Some of these are standard techniques and some are more baseball specific.

Before going for that first application:
  • Make sure you know what you want --
The answer to "why do you want to work for team X" should not be A) I love baseball and I am a big fan. B) I thought it would be cool to work for a baseball team. C) I am just trying to get my foot in the door.

- They do not care if you are a fan. They want you to WORK.
- It is cool to work for a baseball team. They know that, they work for baseball teams.
- Of course you are trying to get your foot in the door. This response tells them nothing about you.

Working is sports is just that. WORK. Whether you are the media or the intern working your way up, do not expect a pleasant summer rolling in the left field grass. When I say "know what you want" it means you should know what kind of job in baseball you want and custom yourself accordingly. The first internship is the hardest to get and most minor league teams want you to be able to sell the product coming out of the stadium. Sales is easy to learn, tough to master but it helps if you have had a job in some type of retail, sales, phone calling center type of thing before. If you want to get into public or media relations, make sure you know what PR and MR people actually do and then find a way to produce some work (like daily stat packages) that shows them that. In the MR case, a love of journalists would also help (no, I am not asking for any love, I am just saying.)

  • Tailor Yourself For The Position --
Are you still in college and decide you want to work in baseball? Make sure you do your research and find out exactly what you want to be doing in terms of credits and course loads that will make you an attractive candidate. The cross-pollination method of undergraduate education should also help. Are you in marketing or management? Go take a journalism or writing and rhetoric class. English major? Get your head out of Flaubert and go take a marketing class. My particular problem is that I never really got to know the full procedures of business and business terms. Yes, my time as a chef taught me how to market myself and my restaurant but ask me exactly what an integrated market strategy is and I would not have an answer. Chances are I know what that actually entails but the verbiage is lost on me and as such if that question were to come up in an interview I would be at a loss. The de facto host of the PBEO job fair this year, Seamus Gallivan, had some interesting things to say about the type of mindset you need to have to get a job, any job really, but specifically one in baseball. The Three P's
- Passion - Drives you.
- Persistence - Pays offf
- Poise - Gets you where you want to go.

  • Get Experience --
Yes, I know, this is easier said than done. If you are a writer or a wanna-be media person the best advice is to just start writing. Write for multiple platforms. That means: start a blog, go engage on Twitter and find a general sports blog that is looking for writers and show them you are passionate about a team and create some examples of writing for them. Look at sites like They want insightful and knowledgeable fans to produce as much content as humanely possible and sites like that are out there, everywhere. Go check CraigList and I bet, if you are persistent (there is that word again) you will be able to get somebody to give you a chance to write. It won't be much and you won't get paid, but it is a start. None of this will fall in your lap.

Life experience also helps. Go get a job. Go on a road trip and get horribly lost to the point where you are actually frightened and then find your way back. Go to an event that you did not think you could get to or afford and just find a way in and see how you handle it. You never know how resourceful you can be until you are in a little over your head and have to figure your way out by yourself.

  • Be Aggressive, Be, Be Aggressive
Ready to start selling yourself? Good, because this is the first lesson in sales -- sell yourself first and the rest follows. Persistence and passion are the first things you should think of here. Your passion will get you to the spot you need to be (like the PBEO job fair) but once you get there you need to be the everywhere, everything person. That is persistence. It will get you noticed and help keep you on the radar. This goes with any job -- If you have put in an application and you have not heard, go back to the folks and mention that you are still intersted and would love to hear from them. Give them a call, a visit, an email, a tweet and a business card. Do not be overbearing, but polite and persistent. Know how to conduct yourself in a professional manner without seeming like a pissant, ie poise.

  • You Are Not Alone
Everybody and their dog wants to work in sports. Sometime, the dog is the one that gets the job.

  • The life may not be for you.
I hate to burst the bubble, but a life in baseball may not be your bag, baby. Especially in the minor leagues. It is low paying with lots of work and a steep uphill progression for certain types of jobs. On the major league level you have to be damn good to even be considered, let alone hired. On the media side, it depends what you want to do. If you are a tech, make sure you have content gathering, editing and production skills. If you are a writer make sure you just write and then try to make connections to people in the industry. They won't be able to offer you a job, but they can help point to where you might need to be to get one. At the same time, reporters are not all that highly paid either. You have to love sport and love to write and ask questions and be aggressive. Gain the experience then take the next step.

Those are just some thoughts on what we learned this week in Indianapolis. Check back later in the day for some more examples of what happened at the Baseball Winter Meetings


  1. Thanks for this very informative piece.
    I know many people wake up wanting to break into sports in some capacity. This is a fantastic look into what it really takes and to realize there are no sure bets.

    I hope you had a good time at the meetings.


  2. Thanks Paula. I appreciate you reading. I am sure Haley could use some of that type of advice as well.