The Many Hats of Minor League Baseball

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If you can make it in the minors, you can make it anywhere.

A look at Louisville Slugger Field, home to the Louisville Bats. (Photo via Chase Kostellic)

In a time where sports business is more competitive than ever, it remains crucial for aspiring professionals to get as much experience as possible in their pursuit to stand out amongst the crowd when looking to land the position of their dreams.

Gaining valuable knowledge and building your brand early is key, making any chance to learn more than one specific role in an internship or entry-level role an ideal one. If you’re near a minor league baseball club and have the opportunity to work/intern with one, you’re in luck.

In the front office of a minor league club, many of their key players wear more than one “hat,” meaning their role goes far beyond what their title suggests.

These clubs are of course small in size, but that doesn’t mean the opportunities aren’t huge.

From the interns all the way up to the directors, everyone has their hand in a little bit of everything. As one who has worked with a Triple-A team, I found that this holds a lot of truth, and others in the MiLB network would agree.

“Working in Minor League Baseball opens up the opportunity to grow as a sports business professional in more than just one specific field,” said Tony Brown, Director of Digital Marketing and Design for the Louisville Bats. “Although it can get overwhelming and make it difficult to specialize in one area, you get the chance to understand the big picture of the organization from the front office perspective and see where you fit best.”

In conjunction with developing your knowledge of the organization, wearing multiple hats also gives you a true idea of just how important it is to work as a team in this kind of business.

Whether you’re a game night intern or a director of stadium operations, communicating clearly with one another throughout various tasks and helping each other is the backbone to the success of an organization.

With a consolidated amount of staff, and multiple different promotions/events happening around the ballpark on any given day, coupling your knowledge with teamwork is crucial.

During the 2017 season, as a member of the Louisville Bats Social Media team, I found myself routinely getting involved with tasks that went beyond social media in order to assist in making each game a successful one. Customer service/fan experience, marketing, operations, and sales are all examples of aspects in the organization that myself and many others helped with and learned about together over the course of the season.

Every day at the ballpark presented the opportunity to learn something new, because in baseball, the amount of games played in a season is of course higher than any other sport; you have additional opportunities to wear the extra hats and learn new sides of the business on nights where your assigned role may be less busy than others. The ballpark and venue is smaller too, so it’s easy to make yourself available and be in multiple spots assisting in a short amount of time.

Exposure is the key word here.

Your hats never get worn out, and in turn, you get a broader understanding of all the key aspects of an organization, find out what you’re most interested in, learn about skill sets you can not only improve, but also thrive on, and work as a team with others on all levels. These are all chances to learn from multiple professionals in one spot, build meaningful connections, and add skills to your resume.

Minor league clubs may be more consolidated in the front office, but they’re an optimal chance to create and develop a foundation to build on both personally and professionally.

Whether you’re throwing t-shirts during the 7th inning stretch, selling tickets, designing graphics in the front office, or anything else related to the moving parts of the organization, you’ll likely gain experience that will make you more marketable as a sports business professional, opening up the opportunity to grow within and beyond.

This piece has been presented to you by SMU’s Master of Science in Sport Management.

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