Friday, December 10, 2004

Baseball's Winter Meetings: Friday, Day 1

Day 1 starts early. Really early. I haven't waken up at 6:00 AM after a regular night of sleep since high school. Got up, got dressed, had some breakfast, logged on to check some email, and around 8:20 AM walked into the Anaheim Convention Center to start the job fair.

When I walked in, about 50 people already had planted themselves outside the job posting rooms which opened at 9. The system was briefly explained to us:

- Jobs would be posted in the room every hour between 9-5 throughout the weekend.
- They varied from internships to GM and assistant GM positions to mascots to account executives to broadcasters.
- All jobs except 3 were minor league jobs (the Tampa Bay Devil Rays were looking for a radio broadcaster!).
- After seeing jobs you liked, you took your resume, wrote the number associated with the job on your resume, and turned it into the PBEO people.
- The PBEO people in turn put the resumes into the drop box for the minor league team.
- The minor league team executive picked up the resumes at his own time (could be any time during the weekend)
- If the executive wanted to interview you, he posted an interview sheet in the interview posting room with names on it and time slots.
- Interview!

The best way to describe the job posting room would be to call it a meat market. You walk into the room filled with young suits, each carrying their leather attache, with their faces stuffed into the postings, and you just try to get a chance to read each post and see what position is offered. Most applicants were right out of college, either looking for their 2nd internship or entry-level job - there were many like me just looking for an internship. Throughout the day, I found about 30 jobs that looked appealing to me (i.e. they were internships that coincided with my start date) and dropped my resume off with those numbers scrawled on it.

Meanwhlie, during the downtime when no real jobs were being offered, I walked over to the Marriott where I had seen so many baseball men the night before. While typing up Thursday's entry, Dusty Baker comes up right behind me and starts complaining to a White Sox exec about the Chicago weather. At that same Starbucks, I see Jayson Stark find the only avaible seat to be at the kids table (oh, don't worry, I made sure to get a picture), and Peter Gammons strutting around in his sneakers talking rumors with Stark.

I also saw Jin Wong (Royals Director of Baseball Operations) and Art Stewart (Scout, Special Asst. to the GM) sit down at Starbucks and talk in hushed tones - I heard Stewart say something about "dealing with our favorite team, Washington" - so here it is, straight from the front office - the Royals are looking to swing a trade with the Nationals. I'd feel bad about posting a rumor like this, but that's probably close to how Gammons comes up with all his shit.

The first person I saw here who I had met before was Will Carroll - I also saw him in the Marriott Starbucks (definitely the place to be - I saw John Schuerholz chatting there too). I don't mention this enough, but Carroll is a tremendously nice and available person. After being shocked that he even remembered my name, he politely asked how the job search was going, and I picked his brain about rumors, happenings, and completed deals. It was great to finally see a familiar face and hear a friendly voice here.

The hotel lobby experience is interesting. It's half high school party, half dinner party. There's always at least 40 people standing and chatting, some loners who are just sitting/standing around, and others who seem to be having a good time. Of course, everyone's dressed up, and the smell of aftershave combined with all the male B.O. makes the lobby smell like a big industrial city in a third-world country. Huh, weird.

Getting back to the job fair - at 5 PM I checked the interview posting room. I was surprised to see my name posted for three interviews so far:

- The Williamsport Crosscutters Stadium Operations Internship ($500/month)
- The Vermont Expos Summer Internship (unpaid)
- New Jersey Cardinals Clubhouse Manager (TBD - probably around $700/month + dues + tips)

Not exactly the most tremendous offers in terms of salaries, but I came in with the attitude that I'd work for free. Any salary is a bonus, and I was ecstatic to be considered for the Crosscutters internship. Hopefully more interviews will be posted tomorrow along with most jobs.

The most surprising part here is the amount of qualified jobseekers that aren't getting any offers. Most adopt the same idea of "safety in numbers" by dropping of several resumes and many have some kind of baseball experience (which I don't) - or at the least are majoring or getting their masters in sports management (I'm majoring in economics... or statistics... or history? maybe classics?). One great kid I met in Wichita State's B.A. Sports Management program has already got some kind of internship set up through his university with the Wichita Wranglers - but he's only got one interview, and we applied for mostly the same jobs. All this makes me think, just like the college application process, this job fair is a major crapshoot. The story of an applicant being underqualified, but still getting an interview because his resume came after 5 straight horrible ones most likely holds true here as executives take only a couple hours (if that) to review job applicants.

Tonight will be another early night for me. Already exhausted from having to wake up at 6:30, walking around all day in a black suit and dress shoes sucks a ton. Tomorrow's another early day, with the first interview at 10:40. Hopefully I'll find some interesting folks tomorrow to talk to (maybe a young boy genius GM from Boston?), and post them on here.

And now as I'm typing this up in the Starbucks, I see J.P. Ricciardi pouring sugar into his small coffee and using three of those little straws to stir. Maybe I'll just stay here tonight.

Famous people seen today: Tim Kurkijian, John Schuerholz, Dave Littlefield, Ozzie Guillen, Art Stewart, Jin Wong, Lou Pinella, Dusty Baker, J.P. Ricciardi. (Also White Sox director of baseball operations and White Sox scouting director)

Theo sighting?: No! I'm getting desperate. Maybe I should start knocking on random doors?



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