Like many kids across America I grew up playing baseball, but there was one problem, I was never great at it. From early on my dreams of stepping up to the plate in a professional uniform went right out the window and I shifted my focus to the other side of the game, and just like that my dream of working in professional baseball was born. The process of achieving that dream is still ongoing, but this past summer I worked as an intern for a minor league baseball team, so here is my story; life in the trenches...as a minor league baseball intern.
Chasing the dream
Everyone had the goal of working for a professional team, of being the general manager or director of marketing. But a wise friend once told me it is easier to become a United States Senator than a Major League Baseball General Manager. I mean it’s relatively simple: 30 Major League Teams versus 100 United States Senators. Just like players, everyone’s path is different, and everyone chooses their own path to the big leagues. Mine starting in a small North Carolina town for a rookie league team and that is where I got my first taste of working in professional baseball.
As a disclaimer, I am a huge supporter of Minor League Baseball, and for a first position the lower you can go in terms of baseball hierarchy the better, and I will explain that later.
So, what does it mean to be an intern? In my case, there were three full-time staff members and seven interns so we were the majority. But with three full-time staff it meant that we would do a lot so as somebody who might be interested in baseball, here is what to expect:
- Pulling Tarp- The words almost every intern across the country dreads to hear. Tarp pulls are talked about as heroic moments and you will do a lot of them over the course of the summer, and maybe multiple a day. Just remember that it is a rite of passage and it stinks, but it stinks for everyone so bond over the hatred. Also, be ready to sacrifice a pair of shoes to the tarp.
- Be ready to work- This hits home for Minor League Baseball especially. There is a lot that goes into getting a stadium ready for a game from cleaning bathrooms and the locker room to stocking fridges and rolling hot dogs. Your average game day will be over 10 hours of work, but don’t let that scare you away. It is rewarding and you will leave with a stronger work ethic. Also, don’t shy away from picking players up from or taking them to the airport. It is a great way to interact one on one with them and is a fantastic experience.
- Experience- Here is where I say it is better to work for a smaller organization at first comes into play. As an intern in a three-person professional team, I did everything in the organization. We all promoted individual games, sold tickets, and helped in stadium operations. Be willing to do anything and remember, the more experience you get across the board the better.
- Be Creative- Minor League Baseball is all about the fun; especially the in the lower levels. Winning only really matters in Double and Triple-A. Minor League Baseball is a blank canvas that allows you to come up with the wackiest promotional ideas and try anything, so always be creative!
- Have fun- This is something I stress the most. Through everything this summer, working 70-hour weeks, late nights and early morning, through all the tarp pulls, the most important thing is to have fun. For me, I have always wanted to work in baseball and the love of being at the ballpark every day watching baseball made all the work worth it.
Like many kids, I grew up playing baseball. I wasn’t the best, but that doesn’t mean I have to give up that dream. That dream is just beginning and for anyone interested in working in baseball, I highly encourage it.