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Fearsome foursome set out for Job Fair

Intrepid quartet would like to get a foothold with a Minors team
November 30, 2012
The annual Winter Meetings -- the 2012 edition of which kicks off Monday in Nashville -- are a veritable who's who of the baseball world. To put it quite simply, anybody who's anybody in the industry will be there.

Yet many of those attending the Winter Meetings are on the outside looking in, having no connection to the baseball world beyond a strong desire to be part of it. I am speaking, of course, of the job seekers, approximately 500 of whom have signed up for the Winter Meetings' annual Professional Baseball Employment Opportunities Job Fair.

The Job Fair's $250 registration cost isn't small potatoes (not to mention the far more onerous lodging and transportation expenses built into the endeavor), but the chance to network directly with the entirety of the industry while pursuing as many employment opportunities as possible only comes once a year. During last year's Job Fair, the event's 500 attendees submitted their resumes a cumulative 5,000 times, engaging in 1,000 interviews in pursuit of 400 available positions (most of them entry level).

Throughout this year's Winter Meetings, four PBEO Job Fair attendees have agreed to write a journal chronicling their Nashville experience. These accounts will be updated daily on and Ben's Biz Blog, so please check in early and often to see how their weeks are progressing. But first, let's get to know the job seekers.

Clint Belau

At age 35, Clint is something of an anomaly among a generally younger slate of job seekers. He is originally from Ripon, Wis. -- "halfway between Green Bay and Madison" -- and moved to Phoenix two months ago in order to work on the grounds crew at the Peoria Sports Complex (the Spring Training home of the Padres and Mariners). He says that he and his 1999 Ford Taurus ("the definition of luxury") are ready to pursue the baseball dream wherever it may take them.

Why do you want to work in the world of professional baseball?

Baseball has been my one true passion my entire life. After a brief career in stand-up comedy and a longer career in the music industry, I've always liked my job but never loved it. I love baseball, and to have a career in the game has always been my dream. I've finally made the jump to pursue that dream.

What type of job are you looking to land in Nashville, and how are you feeling leading up to the experience?

At this point, I'm probably best suited for something in stadium operations. ... Ideally, I would love to work my way into scouting, since studying the game itself is what I'm most interested in.

Attending the Winter Meetings is something I've wanted to do for years. So as a baseball fan who's looking to be a fly on the wall and be in one of the ultimate baseball environments, I'm incredibly excited. ... As someone who recently ditched a solid career that I enjoyed to pursue my lifelong dream, I'm insanely nervous. Not knowing what type of opportunities will be available to me and a general unfamiliarity with the process leaves me very anxious about the situation ... but anxious in the "I can't wait to go on this mega-awesome roller-coaster" way.

Tell us one interesting fact about yourself, completely independent of the world of baseball.

Every major injury I've incurred in my life has been to my head area. That may or may not affect my writing style. Additionally, growing up I was in 4-H -- I raised chickens and took them to the fair. I dominated Fond du Lac County. I was the Miguel Cabrera of chicken raising.

Linda Le

A 25-year-old native of Toronto, Le has held jobs within the fields of human resources and retail and is now seeking to branch into baseball. She says "giving back to your community is always rewarding" and admires the extent to which professional baseball teams do just this. Le also notes the relative lack of females in the industry -- indeed, of the dozen or so job seekers who contacted me about potentially being involved with this article, Le was the only woman.

Why do you want to work in the world of professional baseball?

I believe that working in professional baseball can be very rewarding. I greatly appreciate the relationship between professional baseball and its association with charitable organizations within the community. I want to build a career in professional baseball so I can foster and strengthen current and prospective community organizations. I have the passion to become successful in this competitive industry -- especially in an industry that still lacks a healthy representation of females, I'm more driven to succeed.

What is your ultimate baseball career goal?

The ultimate goal would be to co-own an MLB team (Charles Bartlett Johnson status level). I say co-own because I believe that great things are meant to be shared. If that doesn't materialize, then I would like to eventually work at the director level in either community relations, event management or media relations.

How are you currently feeling about your upcoming Nashville experience?

I was initially nervous only because I don't own a pair of cowboy boots and I don't know how to square dance. For the Winter Meetings specifically, I'm excited -- I'm attending for the Job Fair -- but I'm also interested in attending the Trade Show and networking with baseball executives. I'm a "glass is half full" kind of person so if I leave with no offer of employment, I will still consider my time in Nashville a learning experience.

Planning on striking up any conversations in the hotel lobby with baseball bigwigs? If so, who?

Anyone from the Miami Marlins. I'm from Toronto and I would love to get a perspective on the recent trade between the Marlins and the Jays. I also hope to chat up Benjamin Hill -- I hear he's got great insight on the operations of Minor League Baseball. (Author's note: This is debatable.)

Tell me an interesting fact about yourself, something completely independent of baseball and professional goals.

I'm a fried food aficionado -- if it's fried, chances are I will eat it. Also, in the past year I've been fortunate to travel to several places including Iceland and Japan.

Minoring in Business

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Chris Miller

Miller, 22, is a native of Zanesville, Ohio ("Yes, the one with the escaping animals"). He interned with the short-season Princeton Rays in 2010 and Mahoning Valley Scrappers in 2011, and is now looking to break into the industry on a full-time basis. Specifically, Miller wants to find employment within a team's media, public relations or production department, and he says he's open to almost any team, regardless of their location.

Why do you want to work in the world of professional baseball?

Nothing beats going to the ballpark every day. I enjoy everything that associates itself with Minor League Baseball -- from promotions, mascots, unique food items and more.

What is your ultimate baseball career goal?

Land a job in the media department of a team and eventually work my way up to an assistant general manager or GM role. I still wait around every year for the phone to ring during the MLB Draft however.

How are you feeling about your upcoming Winter Meetings experience?

Beyond excited -- ecstatic. I've always wanted to go to see Nashville for some reason, which is odd considering I have absolutely no knowledge of country music. I'm eager to see old co-workers, the Grand Ole Opry, some higher-ups in baseball, and mostly importantly, the chance of landing a job.

Are you planning to strike up any conversations in the hotel lobby with baseball bigwigs?

The Pittsburgh Pirates are more important to me than they should be, so I hoping to run into their manager, Clint Hurdle.

Tell us one interesting fact about yourself, completely independent of the world of baseball.

I went to the high school named after and located in the hometown of John Glenn -- first American to orbit the Earth. I also am always trying to improve my golf game -- currently sitting on one hole-in-one.

Eric Schmitz

A native of North Collins, N.Y., Schmitz, 25, already has ample sports industry experience under his belt (albeit all of it of the internship variety). He spent two seasons as a ticket office associate with the Triple-A Buffalo Bisons and is familiar with the Nashville area after working a season in the Sounds' ticket office. Additionally, he has logged two seasons with the NHL's Buffalo Sabres as a merchandise intern.

Why do you want to work in the world of professional baseball?

As far as opportunity and experience goes, you can't beat starting a career with time in baseball, especially in the Minor Leagues. The hours are long, but the hands-on experience you'll get in so many facets of an organization can't be understated. The grind of a baseball season -- the extended homestands, games one after another ... there's really nothing out there in pro sports that can prepare you as a professional as well as baseball can.

What type of job do you want to land in Nashville? Are you willing to relocate?

I'm hoping to find a full-time job since I already have three years worth of internships in baseball alone, but I realize I have to be willing to do whatever it takes to find a spot for myself (even if it's another seasonal job or internship). I'm ready to move wherever I need to be. The summer I spent with the Sounds in Nashville was such a great experience, professionally and personally, so I can see myself being successful anywhere. To be honest, I'd rather relocate if it came down to it.

What is your ultimate baseball career goal?

I can't say there's a definitive role that I'd consider my career goal, I'm just looking for a good job in a good market where I can be successful. Whatever capacity that's in ... works for me.

Tell us one interesting fact about yourself, completely independent of the world of baseball.

I'm really into soccer. I played in college at a pretty solid Division III program and am very active with the American Outlaws, a U.S. National Team supporters group. I've traveled to see them all over the U.S. and even on enemy soil (Canada counts!) as well.

Benjamin Hill is a reporter for and writes Ben's Biz Blog.