Do you know what you want to do for the rest of your life? If not, you were in the same boat as me. Coming into this internship all I knew is that I wanted to work in baseball and fortunately that came true; but that still doesn’t answer the question. If you’re uncertain about your career path or what you want to do, I can assure you that an internship with the MLBPAA is a great place for you. Not only is it a great place to work due to the amount of experience you will gain, but the people you will work with are great mentors.
I was thrilled to receive this internship for many reasons, but it had a lot with gaining experience in valuable areas to help me answer that question. I have been involved with assisting the following departments during my time here so far; communications, membership/development and special events. It has been a wide range of experience, which is perfect for someone like me who is unsure about what they want to do.
For the communications department I have had the opportunity to help prepare for the LFY Dinner in New York. I have had the opportunity to witness different logistical aspects of the event come together to make sure we are ready for the dinner. I have enjoyed gaining additional phone and emailing experience by reaching out to current and former players, as well as businesses for the event. To help the membership/development department I have worked on reaching out to former members to see if they are interested in rejoining the alumni association as well as assisting in the formation of our Giving Tuesday campaign to raise money for the LFY Clinic Series. We have all of our ideas set in stone and are preparing a few other things before our campaign kicks off on in late November. Stat sheets and player bios are where I mostly contribute to the special events department. For each clinic that we host, stat sheets and bios are completed for the current and/or former major league clinic instructors. This allows us to announce our press releases with accurate and valuable information about the instructors and the clinic.
The MLBPAA has helped me narrow down the roles I see myself in down the road. Having experience in several areas within the organization has been extremely valuable for me when I think about my career and next step. With the guidance from my mentors, I feel confident in finding the correct path.
Is there a better time of the year for a baseball fan? Even if “your team” is not in the playoff hunt, it’s still the best time of the year in my opinion. As game 162 takes place on Sunday, another regular season has come and gone. With Seattle and Detroit both within two games of the second wild card spot in the American League and St. Louis within 1 game of the National League Wild Card spot, it’s bound to be a exciting weekend for baseball fans. It’s hard to believe that October is practically here and by the end of the month we will have a 2016 World Series Champion.
Unfortunately, “my team”, the Royals, are not in the race after being officially eliminated on Wednesday night. But, that doesn’t mean that I don’t look forward to postseason baseball. I absolutely love the atmosphere of the sold out stadiums and the high pressure baseball games in the month of October. There is really nothing like it. Now, let’s throw it back to the to the past two October’s where the Royals, made the postseason.
Two years ago today, the Royals played the A’s in the A.L. Wild Card Game, which was Kansas City’s first playoff game since 1985. The Royals came back from a 7 to 3 deficit to beat the A’s in 12 innings. I remember sitting on my couch and just thinking to myself, “Wow.. that was the most unbelievable game that I have ever watched.” The Royals went on to sweep the Angels in the ALDS and the Orioles in the ALCS to make their way to the World Series. I was fortunate enough to be able to attend both of the home ALCS games to watch the Royals win the American League Pennant. Although 2014 didn’t end in a World Series Championship, it definitely brought Kansas City together and made baseball relevant once again amongst the city.
In 2015, I attended a total of four playoff games during the Royals run to the World Series. Those games included two ALDS games, one ALCS game, and Game 2 of the World Series. I’ll never forget my first World Series game or the way the Royals came back to stun the Astros 9-6 in Game 4 of the ALDS to force a Game 5 in Kansas City. Going to the postseason games and watching the Royals win their first World Series in 30 years, was more than I could’ve ever asked for as a baseball fan.
So, as this years postseason baseball gets started next Tuesday, October 4th, I look forward to another thrilling finish to the baseball year. I wont be experiencing another magical postseason from the Royals, but I hope that playoff baseball will soon be back in Kansas City!
Last week I spent my days at work helping prepare for the San Francisco Alumni Day and the Legends for Youth (LFY) Dinner. For the dinner and Alumni Day I made phone calls to collect RSVP’s over the phone. These weren’t just your typical phone calls either.. As I made my LFY Dinner calls to former players, I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to discuss the dinner with alumni members such as Kevin Youkilis, Doc Gooden, Wade Boggs, Mike Mussina, and many others! As a kid growing up watching players like Youkilis and Mussina play, I never once thought that I’d be calling them for my job. It has truly been a joy speaking with players about our upcoming events. Typically, someone wouldn’t enjoy making 50+ calls in a day, but when you look down your list and see MLB All-Star’s, Hall of Famers, and players that you grew up watching, it’s almost like you’re in a dream.
Additionally, I’m gaining some valuable experience with the MLBPAA. The one skill or strength that I have used daily is effective communication. Whether it has been with employees or players, it didn’t take long to realize that it was one of the most important things for me to work on and improve upon. On a daily and/or weekly basis I utilize communication through face-to-face interactions, telephone calls, e-mails, and blog posts. I know that the longer I’m with the MLBPAA I will continue to gain experience in communication and many other areas that will allow me to grow even more as a professional.
“If you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life.” – Marc Anthony
The quote above by Marc Anthony is something that has become a reality for me in these last two weeks. Working in baseball has been my goal for a long time and I’m so thankful for this opportunity with the MLBPAA. Each day I wake up and look forward to going to work for an organization that I love!
As things are starting to pick-up in the office during week number two, I have enjoyed every second of it. Of course, I have my day-to-day tasks that aren’t what you may call “flashy”, but when you’re surrounded by great co-workers and America’s Greatest Pastime it’s hard not to enjoy each day. This week I have been working on multiple projects that have been assigned by the membership and communication departments. Specifically, I have been brainstorming ideas for our Giving Tuesday campaign, pursuing membership benefits for our alumni, completing stat sheets for alumni days and clinics, as well as assisting with the preparation for the Legends for Youth Dinner coming up on November 15th in New York City.
The Legends for Youth Dinner was established in 1999 by the MLBPAA to recognize current players on their accomplishments on the field, for example; winning the Heart and Hustle Award. During the event the MLBPAA also recognizes current and former players on their off-field achievements and contributions to communities around the world. Additionally, the dinner serves as the primary fundraiser for the MLBPAA and all proceeds go towards the Legends for Youth Clinics that take place all over the world. Although my work for the dinner just started this past week, I look forward to continuing to contribute to the planning by making calls to receive RSVP’s, sending out invites, attempting to sell tables, and other communications related tasks.
Life outside of work the last two weeks have been also been great! During my internship I am staying with my aunt and uncle in Castle Rock, which is about 45 minutes North of Colorado Springs. Spending time with family is a top priority to me, so it has been a wonderful experience being able to live with them. On the two weekends that I’ve been living here I have had the opportunity to go hiking in Vail and play a round of golf with my uncle at Castle Pines North. I don’t think that there is a place in this state that doesn’t have a beautiful scenery! I don’t know many people that would enjoy a 45 minute drive to and from work, but I will tell you that the Rocky Mountains in the distance makes my drive much more enjoyable.
I have already learned so much throughout my internship thus far and it’s just the beginning! While the work I do here is great experience, it does not feel like “work” to me because I enjoy it so much. I can’t wait to learn more! Thank you for reading!
I played competitive baseball for a long time, and I would like to think that I was pretty solid. I had success in high school at the varsity level, and felt good about my chances to make the baseball team at Whitworth University, the small D-3 school that I would be attending in the Fall of 2012.
I showed up just about as prepared as possible. I had been lifting and conditioning all summer, and I was ready to make my dreams come true. In four weeks of Fall tryouts, I batted well over .400 in our scrimmages and played strong defense. I knew I had made the team.
As I walked from my dorm to the coach’s office, I have never had a better feeling in my life. After 18 years, I was finally about to realize my dream of playing college baseball… That was the most difficult day of my entire life.
Still to this day, I cannot think of a good reason why I should have been cut from that roster as a freshman. But I still tell myself the same thing that I had to force myself to think that day–Everything happens for a reason.
If I would have been a member of that team, sure, it would have been an incredible experience. But what else would I have missed out on if that would have been my fate? Friends, free time, travel to New York, Hawaii, Washington, D.C. and New Zealand… All of these experiences that I compiled while in college have led me to where I am right now, including that devastating moment in Dan Ramsay’s office.
I do think about it often, absolutely. I think about the way that I missed out on an experience that I will never have another chance at. I think about the friendships that I missed out on by not making that team. I think about the way that my playing career in baseball came to a screeching halt without any inkling of a warning. And I think about the long term possibilities that could have been if I had been given a shot on that roster.
But now as I sit here writing this blog post in the office of the MLBPAA on my last day here as an intern, I think about how for all of the ways that baseball has broken my heart, it has also given me more joy than I could have ever asked for.
I didn’t get to play college baseball or professional baseball. I didn’t get to report to Spring Training or grab hand fulls of unlimited Double Bubble or get the call-up to the Major Leagues. These things passed me by, though not for a lack of effort on my part. As I reflect on what I missed out on, it makes me grateful for the things that I have. I am in a place where I get to call up former Major League Baseball players and call it work. I get to wake up every morning and drive to work with a view of the mountains and a smile on my face. A lot of people search their whole lives for a job like that.
The game of baseball has intertwined through my life since the day I was born. When I got the news that I would be an intern here for the summer, it felt like something I had known for years. When I first entered the office here at the MLBPAA, that feeling grew even stronger. And as I finish up my final moments as an intern here, I can’t help but get a little bit romantic about it all. The fat lady may have already sang her sad song about my playing career, but the song of my professional career in baseball has just begun. That said, through all of the ups and downs, through all of the juicy fastballs and the knee-buckling curveballs, I could not be more certain that I ended up exactly where I am supposed to be.
Hello! My name is Landon Ocker and I recently graduated in May of 2016 from the University of Central Missouri with a degree in Sport Management and a minor in Marketing. I grew up an hour north of Kansas City in a small town called Cameron, Missouri. While growing up in the Kansas City area I was fortunate enough to be raised in a household that loved sports. My family has been quarter season ticket holders for the Kansas City Royals and season tickets holders for the Kansas City Chiefs for quite some time, so naturally, I became a die hard fan.
During my childhood I spent most of my summers playing America’s Greatest Pastime, impersonating major leaguers during competitive backyard baseball games with my brother and attending Royals games with my family. Being a Royals fan in the early 2000’s was rough to say the least, but Kauffman Stadium is where we spent a lot of our time watching the game I fell in love with so quickly. My passion for baseball continues to grow each day and I’ve always hoped I would someday work in Major League Baseball. Now, I can finally say that my dream has come true! My trip to Colorado was one that was different from the past. I wasn’t just coming to visit family or for vacation. This time, I was fortunate enough to be traveling to the beautiful state of Colorado for an internship opportunity with the Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association (MLBPAA).
So, as my first week with the MLBPAA is wrapping up, I wanted to share a little bit about my experience so far! My first day was a little nerve racking, but I was very anxious to get things started. At the beginning of the week I met with the majority of the staff members and was able to learn about the different departments and what they specifically do for the organization. After the meetings and learning more about the MLBPAA, it got me excited to start contributing.
Throughout the first week I had a wide range of tasks and became a bit more familiar with the day-to-day operations, thanks to my co-workers. My work so far has included social media analytics, making membership lapse calls to former players, assisting with birthday cards, and other miscellaneous tasks. Additionally, I received some different projects that I will be focusing on during my internship. A few of those projects consist of interviewing a former player for the “Where Are They Now?” article in our newsletter, helping form a fundraising campaign for Giving Tuesday, as well as assisting with the preparation for the Legends for Youth Dinner in New York. I am looking forward to gaining experience in many valuable areas, while growing and developing as a professional during my time with the MLBPAA. Until next time, thanks for reading!
You go to class, you take good notes, you graduate and you go and do the big adult thing. It’s simple! Well, no, it’s really not that simple. Not even close.
When we are young, ambitious teens, it does seem that simple. We will just go out there, work hard and our dreams will come true, right? Well, partially right, because there are numerous unique challenges and bumps in the road that none of us can fully prepare for as we begin the journey through adulthood.
As I find myself three months into my time here at the MLBPAA, I have had to face many challenges, both in the workplace and in life. Some of these have been classic challenges such as time management or patience. Some of these challenges have been unique and personal
The process of reforming oneself to the point at which you understand how to be a mature adult is no easy task. That is because there is no guide book. Each individual human being is different, and therefore, each individual human being’s path to their true self is also unique.
With a degree in Communication Studies and a strong understanding of interpersonal communication, I feel as though I may have a small leg-up, so to speak, when it comes to learning the ways in which “real adults” interact in life and in the workplace. I say “real adult” with a tongue in cheek, in reference to those who are more acclimated to this thing called life than myself. However, I have certainly identified a few areas to address when it comes to my understanding of professional life.
At this point, I feel quite comfortable with my responsibilities at the MLBPAA, and have a confident grasp on what I need to do and how it needs to be done. The area that needs the most improvement and focus is more personal. I hold myself to extremely high standards. I always have been and always will be my greatest critic. This stems from a deep competitive nature that has practically been innate in me since the day I was born. When I do things, I want to do them well. When I compete, I want to win, and I want to win by a lot. I try to carry this same attitude into the workplace.
That said, it has been an interesting process to observe the value of harnessing a strong emotion or quality. While my competitive nature has played a major role in propelling me to where I am thus far, it can also grow too strong, clouding my judgement and/or patience. During the last month or so in my internship, I have been aware of this, and have consciously worked on finding ways to channel that competitive nature in a way that is most efficient and effective for not just me, but everybody in the office.
When I first arrived here, my only goal was to do the very best that I could on whatever I was working on at the moment. All that I was concerned with doing was proving my abilities and doing professional-grade work that not only met the standard, but exceeded the standard. Since day one with the MLBPAA, my goal has not been to just be a good intern, but to be an asset to the company. But now that the dust has settled and I have had some time to acclimate to this new environment, my understanding of the bigger picture has widened.
I have come to realize that my success here at the MLBPAA is not measured by the sum of my product, but by the sum of our product as an organization. I could have the most productive day in the history of the company, but if somebody else had something important that didn’t get done because I was working so hard in my little zone, then as a team, we didn’t necessarily win that day. Coming to that understanding has been, and still is, an ongoing process.
I have been a part of many teams in my life. I have won state championships with teams. I have finished community service projects with teams. Heck, I have even won a recreational softball league with a team. But never before have I been a part of a team that is doing such big things on a daily basis. I have become a part of something much bigger than myself, and that has been a transition for me. One moment I am a college student trying to get good grades and make myself look as good as possible for employers, the next moment I am a part of a group of people trying to make each other look good as a collective whole.
I have truly enjoyed every moment here at the MLBPAA, both the good and the bad, the easy and the challenging. I have felt myself grow more in the last three months than ever before, both personally and professionally. Of course, I still have a long way to go and a lot to learn, but I feel that I am well prepared to do so. As I sit here three months later, I think back to the person that sat down in this chair at the beginning of June. That person knew that he was going to work extremely hard this summer. That person knew he was going to be pushed and challenged, and that he would grow immensely in the professional realm. What that person could not have expected is the amount of personal growth and knowledge that he would acquire from this internship.
Aside from what I have done in the office this summer, I am proud of myself for what I have done outside of the office. The ways in which I have grown as a man are palpable as I head home every day, moving on to the next responsibility with patience and grace. Granted, that is not always the case. But I am definitely getting there, and I am most certainly pleased with where I am at.
Throughout this summer I have learned so much and had some of the most amazing experiences working for the MLBPAA. I couldn’t feel more fortunate to have worked with such a great organization. I feel that I learned a lot about what kind of things I enjoy and what type of job I will want to pursue after graduation.
I have made great connections with some of the best role models and mentors I have ever had. Learning more about how to integrate marketing and communications within sports is something that I enjoyed most. I want to remain working in sports and would love the opportunity to be in Colorado again working one day. As I take my journey back home I will reflect on my summer with the MLBPAA and all the memories and opportunities I was given. The people within this organization made my experience very enjoyable and I hope to stay in touch with everyone.
Having one more semester left of school makes me nervous but also excited for my next step in life. Working here this summer has made me realize going into the real world is a lot of work, but also very gratifying. I am excited to start applying for jobs, continuing to build connections and see where I end up. The MLBPAA will always be in mind and I couldn’t be more thankful my coworkers gave me the chance to learn from them. As I say bye to all my new friends I will feel sad, but also blessed that I met such amazing people.
This is a brief story, but one that means a great deal to me.
When I was a kid, there was a baseball card shop in my hometown that I would frequent with my mother. I wasn’t spoiled necessarily, but I was able to earn packs of baseball cards with tasks such as taking out the trash or vacuuming the living room. The store was called “Rain City Sports Cards” but for 9-year-old Max, it may as well have been called heaven.
The owner of the store was an awesome guy named Jim Beattie. He could see my fascination with baseball cards and anything baseball related, and he would always go out of his way to give me a great experience when I would come into the store. One of the things that I remember is that he would let me open a sample pack for the new boxes of cards that he would receive. This was the pack that was displayed with the cards so that customers could see what the cards looked like. Every time I went in there, Jim would make my day. Eventually, I had thousands of baseball cards. Some average, some rare, but all of them fascinating.
And then I experienced tragedy for the first time.
I just remember getting home from school one day, and being greeted by my mother, who had a very solemn look on her face. She took me to the living room and sat down on the couch with me, and she told me the news. Jim had passed away in a car crash on a road near where we lived. I’ve never cried harder. I’ve lost loved ones. I’ve lost pets. I’ve lost championships. But for some reason, I cried harder than I ever have, still to this day.
The reason that I thought to share this story from my life is because of a voicemail that I received the other day. It was a call from an ex-big leaguer who I had called about an event that we were putting on. His name was Jim Beattie.
Baseball has taken me on quite a journey in my life thus far. First I was an innocent little leaguer just playing in the dirt. Then the Seattle Mariners won 116 games in 2001 when my father and I had a 16-game plan. Then I wasn’t given a fair shot by my little league coach when I was only 12 years old. Then I won two state championships during summer baseball in high school. Then I batted .400 in Fall tryouts at my university and got cut. And now I am working for the MLBPAA. It has all taken me to here. The ups and downs have been interesting to say the least, but there is no question in my mind that this is exactly where I am supposed to be. And I would like to believe that maybe that wasn’t an ex-big leaguer, but my old buddy Jim, giving me a call to remind me why I love this game so much.
Boy, have I been busy. Never before have I faced such an organizational challenge as here at the MLBPAA. Things are really vamping up, as we have numerous Alumni Days, Clinics and Golf Tournaments coming up, as well as the Heart and Hustle Award Presentations on the horizon. I am enjoying every moment here, but that is not to say that it has been easy.
It has been just over a month since I started as an intern here at the MLBPAA, and in that short month I have felt myself grow and mature more than I ever have in one month. Now that I have entered the professional world as a college graduate, the stakes for everything that I do are a bit higher. However, that has not intimidated me, rather it has motivated me to see what I am capable of. I know that I still have an immense amount to learn, but thus far I am very pleased with myself for the way that I have handled my workload.
Although I have enjoyed just about everything I have done so far here, there is one assignment that stands out above the others. In our newsletters, we feature stories about former players called “Where Are They Now?” that showcase the post-baseball lives of former big leaguers. Coming up in our summer newsletter will be a feature on Everett “Chris” Krug, the opposing catcher during Sandy Koufax’s legendary perfect game. Krug made a throwing error to third base that resulted in the only run of the game that night, but that was not the biggest impact that Krug had on the game of baseball.
After retiring from the game, Krug started a company called “Athletic Turfs, Inc.” and began building fields and laying turf for local ballparks. Eventually, Krug and his company began working on college fields like Tony Gwynn Stadium at San Diego State University, and then graduated on to big league stadiums such as Angels Stadium of Anaheim, and Dodgers Stadium. However, Krug and Athletic Turfs, Inc.’s crowning achievement was a fictional field. Ever seen Field of Dreams? Yep, Chris Krug built that field.
Being a lifelong baseball fan, it was a surreal and humbling experience to spend thirty minutes on the phone with Chris. He shared stories about working on the field with Kevin Costner, speaking about how the two stars had a mutual respect for each other. He shared a fascinating anecdote about a time when he was watching batting practice with Ernie Banks. Ernie Banks!! To hear somebody casually chat about an immortal legend like Banks was something else.
There was a moment during that conversation when I realized the magnitude of exactly who I was talking to. This was a man who had seen things that I have only dreamed about. A man who has shared hotel rooms with legends that I used to hit home runs with in video games. This was a man who had lived the dream, and who found a way to continue to live that dream for his entire life. And if you ask me, that is about as special as it gets.