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Minor League Madness

Samantha Leonard | Friday, September 7, 2007

Have you ever been to a minor league baseball game?

It probably lasted two and a half to three hours. Now think back. Did you ever see those people in khakis with radios stuck in their ears? Well, those people are the front office staff.

The typical workday for a front office staff member, in professional baseball, is 14 to 16 hours. Now imagine having 10 games in a row. It can get pretty ridiculous.

I have spent the past two summers in this crazy environment and am not sure how I survived.

It seems simple to prepare for a minor league baseball game, especially if you are not playing in it, but that is not the case at all.

There are usually only 10 to15 people running the behind-the-scenes operation, along with four to six interns.

Everyone in the office knows how to sell a ticket, and then there are tasks you only find in minor league baseball, such as washing a giant bird costume. There is constant media presence, with phone calls from radio stations, press releases for the next promotion and commercials shot in the stadium.

Along with the regular 4,000 fans, there are the group picnics and birthdays, where somehow 500 people are fed in just half an hour by a staff of five or six.

Almost every game is sponsored by a local business or organization, and that sponsorship usually entails some sort of promotion or giveaway. Ever get a ball cap or bobble head while walking into the stadium, thanks to such and such company?

Getting 2,000 bobble heads out to 2,000 anxious adults and children is a task in itself. Throughout the day, the staff is making sure everything is correct for that sponsor, with the giveaways ready to go out and the announcements written to welcome the fans.

During the game, the staff walks quickly down the concourse, watching everything imaginable. There are the foul balls that seem to always aim for the 80-year-old woman or four-year-old boy who has stopped paying attention three innings ago. There’s also the number one headache for any staff member; the terrible dreaded rain cloud.

No one hates rain like the front office staff of a minor league organization. Unlike the big leagues, the staff is also the grounds crew. The thought of being on hour 13 and pulling an enormous piece of tarp across a soaking wet field in a storm is by far the last thing any staffers want to do, but it is part of the job and they do it, usually smiling and making fun of each other all along the way.

My point in writing this is to show that sure, those nine guys out on the field work hard and put on a hell of a show. But that show would not be possible without the hard work of those staff members running by with an icepack for the grandma in Section 104.