Every year that I attend the winter meetings, I pick one job fair seeker—usually at random—and offer to let him or her tail me around for the week. Last year, my new friend Bryson Asmus stuck to me for four days and ultimately got a job in sales with the Brewers. This year’s experience was very different.
I entered the Opryland and, on my way to checking in, I encountered two job fair participants. Neither had any clue who I was, which is perfectly reasonable—I’m nobody they should know, and I wasn’t wearing a nametag, anyway. Both were nice kids, but both made the same mistake: They asked me my name but not what I did or why I was there. I was wearing jeans and a non-button-down shirt, so they probably guessed I wasn’t there for anything serious. Nice as they were, they didn’t win my lottery.
So I got to the sign-in area, I met two more job fair guys. They overheard me talking to the MiLB staff who run the event. But neither seemed that interested in what I was doing there until they saw my get my credentials. They were nice, and I exchanged cards with them, and one I know got hired by a club—which is awesome—but neither was my pick.
When I got to the MLB Radio booth, a 19-year-old seeker smiled, approached, and said “hello.” I asked what he was there for and we chatted. I told him it was his lucky day, and he looked at me like I was crazy. I told him who I was, what I did, and how I run this lottery thing. He still looked at me sort of like I was crazy, but he still enthusiastically agreed to follow me around. I took him around and introduced him to three different execs, and then he excused himself to say hello to somebody else. We lost each other. Two days passed, and he emailed me to say how much he regretted getting separated. He told me he was grateful to have had the chance, but by then it was too late.
A week or so before the meetings I posted an opening for an intern. I got 50-plus resumes, and everyone I spoke with was terrific. I found the perfect intern after just one round of interviews. So what makes an attractive candidate? Well, I never read resumes at all. This is because I know my resume coming out of college wouldn’t have stood out at all, academically, and I don’t want to lean too heavily on the sorts of things that fit on a resume. (I will sometimes spot a candidate with a pristine resume and an obviously bright future—but the skill set might not fit. In which case I do what I can to get him or her hired at the next place he applies.)
Cory Turner lives in Florida, less than two hours from my house. We met in Nashville, due to his persistence and good sense of timing. We were trying to find an interview area t the job fair but ended up on the floor by the MLB media. I was immediately impressed by his ability to handle a job interview on the floor. Also, everyone at the job fair had the standard suit and tie, but Cory wore jeans and a dress shirt and, just by dressing business casual, stood out from the crowd. He’d come to the meetings with no scheduled interviews, but was crashing it to grind out some work. He took the risk to get there, of devoting his time to the chase. When I asked him if talking to pro athletes would ever faze him (the biggest obstacle to an internship like this), he told me about his background in college baseball—he had actually played against one of my clients. I gave him the internship. And then, because my lottery winner was nowhere to be found, I figured—what the hell? I asked Cory if he wanted to follow me around.
He met tons of people from the media and from ball clubs. He has shown so much initiative already—he’s got an incredibly bright future in this industry.
One last person I met at the fair whom I want to mention. I was going through the security area in Nashville on my way home and met a man named David Adragna. He really had no idea who the hell I was, which he said rather eloquently. He said he was looking for an area scouting job after he had previously worked for the Angels. After I took care of another meeting—yes, I had scheduled an airport post-security-screening meeting—I met with David, and wow. I’ve rarely met anybody so young and with a better grasp of how to get a foot in the door. He understood scouting more than almost anybody I’ve met in the game. I couldn’t offer him a job—he has no interest in my side of the business—but I introduced him to my mentor, the longtime GM and scout Murray Cook, and it’s my hope he’ll end up with a job in baseball scouting
The job fair applicants have gotten brighter and sharper every year, and they really understand what getting into the business means. As always, some stood out more than others but its always fascinating for me to think the next Theo Epstein could be in that group. Instead of a singular experience, I’d like to think I got to help multiple people. I am already looking forward to DC in 2016. Maybe someone reading this will win my little lottery and get stuck with me for a week!
Res Ipsa Loquitor
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