Back in little league, I can remember telling every person I knew that one day my goal is to play professional baseball in the MLB. This is a goal shared by many growing up, and as we get older, some of us begin to realize that the dream of playing may begin to fade. I am not writing this to tell you younger Simple Sabermetrics fans to give up on your dreams, but instead to educate you that if this dream doesn’t work out for you, there are still so many ways you can find yourself working in professional baseball around the game that we all love.
As you may be aware, the baseball industry is super competitive. With limited organizations and positions every year, the industry is always overwhelmed by the amount of people who are trying to get their foot in the door. Oftentimes everybody is applying for the exact same positions, and for every position they see open, causing the number of applicants to shoot through the roof.
I do want to note that the jobs I am going to be referring to in this post are specifically going to be in the Baseball Operations departments. These are going to be your analytics, video, and player development jobs rather than any jobs in areas such as public relations, marketing or sales.
As you continue to read through today’s post, you are going to receive some insight on how you can acquire your first job in professional baseball while also gaining some potential resources that will be very helpful in landing your first position.
Where Do I Find Open Positions?
A question that I often receive from people who are looking to get into the industry is “Where can I find job postings for internships in professional baseball?”
For me, the websites and job boards I checked most often were TeamWork Online, Indeed, and FanGraphs. These are the three websites that I seemed to find all of the open positions posted on and were the most useful for me in my internship search.
Below is an example of what the job board is going to look like on TeamWork Online. You will see that you are able to search through different jobs using keywords, specific organizations, or the departments that they fall in.
When searching through these job boards, my advice to you is to take some time and dive deep into the search. Sometimes jobs are posted under the wrong filters, or under different sections than you would expect. With that, explore all of the different filters and take the time to read the descriptions for each position that sparks some interest to you. There are going to be positions that have titles completely different from what the job requirements entail, and you don’t want to miss these because you didn’t take the time to read through the description.
The last place you are going to want to keep your eye on is each team's individual job postings on their websites. Not every position gets registered to Indeed or TeamWork Online so take some time every few days to search through the job openings page on every MLB teams website. You will definitely find some openings that you may have not seen anywhere else.
This piece of the blog is what I believe is the most important part of trying to land an internship or job in baseball. Making connections with people, and having the ability to stand out to employers is so important when it comes to the hiring process. The way I always thought about this was, “you are never going to know who people know, and how they are going to be able to help you.”
Something that I learned over time is that as large as the baseball industry seems, it really isn’t as big on the inside. I started to realize and pick up that many people from different organizations all know each other, and are connected through their prior experiences. Within teams, people from different departments all work together and have connections throughout the whole organization.
With this being said, trying to meet as many people as you can, and introducing yourself to as many people as possible is in my opinion the most important piece of landing a job. While it is definitely possible to land a position without knowing anyone, having someone who can vouch for you, and for your work is only going to help in the process.
How Do I Make These Connections?
What is so cool about the world today is that platforms such as LinkedIn allow you to contact and make conversation with people through the click of a few buttons. In less than one minute, you are able to find someone who is in a position similar to one you are interested in, and then send them a message.
Not only can this be beneficial in trying to make connections and meet people inside the industry, but you are also giving yourself an opportunity to ask questions and hear more about their positions. In my experience with doing this, I found that people are very open to questions and are very willing to help. It is likely that they were once in your shoes and know exactly what you are going through.
Send them a message, ask them a few questions, and then explain some of your interests in the game and where your passion is. They may be able to guide you to some open positions or give you some information on when they may be starting their hiring process that off-season.
Another easy way to make connections with people in the industry is to take the time to talk to organization representatives that you may see at a game. For example, in my time at Penn State, we always had scouts coming to watch our players. Before the game, I made sure to go down and introduce myself and let them know if they needed anything to just ask. Even if amateur scouting isn’t the direction you want to go, you never know who they may be connected to and the positive impression you left on them.
What is important about the information above is that all of these connections you attempt to make do not have to be only when you are looking for a job. Interact with people, increase your network, and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Down the road, when jobs do start to open, you will then be able to reach out to your contacts and let them know that you applied for certain positions in which they may be able to put in a good word for you!
Personally, I have never attended the Winter Meetings so I have a little less experience with how they actually do work in-person. I can speak on behalf of the many people I know that attended, landed positions, and how they set themselves up for success at the meetings.
Each winter, representatives from the 30 MLB organizations and the 120 MiLB affiliates gather to hold the Winter Meetings. Each year, the meetings travel to a different city to host the conference which has been a tradition dating back to the early 1900’s.
Representatives from every organization at the Winter Meetings include team owners, league executives, general managers, and so many others who are in the industry and gather for this event to represent Major League Baseball.
While the main purpose of the Winter Meetings is definitely not job hiring, this is a chance to attend a conference that is filled with hundreds to thousands of people who all work for different organizations gathered in one place at a time. Many employers do go to the meetings expecting to meet candidates and looking for future hires for their organization. It is not rare to get hired with a team due to someone you met and interviewed with at the meetings.
Like I mentioned before, I do not personally have any experience with attending, but the advice I have received and heard from many who have attended, is that it is a must for anyone looking to get into the industry.
The travel, hotels and experience can be a little costly, but you are putting yourself in a position to be surrounded by executives within the MLB with an opportunity to introduce yourself and show yourself off.
The best advice that I have received regarding the event is that you are going to want to prepare well in advance and be ready to go when you get there. It isn’t as simple as walking in and just being able to sit down for an interview. Send emails and LinkedIn messages out to team coordinators and executives that you expect to be at the meetings. By sending the message, and making each employer aware that you are attending, you may find yourself scheduling a time to sit down one on one to discuss a future position with several different teams.
Don’t Be Nervous to Reach Out
My last piece of advice when it comes to trying to land your first position in professional baseball is to not hold back or be nervous that you may be bothering someone. Like I mentioned before, there are so many people who are willing to speak with you, and were most likely in your shoes before. Ask questions, reach out to recent interns, and find out what helped them in their search. If you need a head start, here are some questions that you could use that are going to help you gain a little more knowledge about the person you are speaking with:
“What is your current job like? (Day to Day operations, etc.)
How did you get to where you are today? What were your past roles, and what were some of the most important things you learned along the way?
What advice would you have for somebody who wants to be in your shoes in the future?
All of these questions are going to give you some great insight on how somebody currently in their role got to where they are. The process can be a little stressful for sure, but stay positive, keep working hard, and good things will come!