Browsing articles in "Q & A with TPGF"

Happy Holidays!

Dec 28, 2017   //   by Caitlin Fischer   //   Q & A with TPGF  //  Add a Comment

THE PERFECT GAME FOUNDATION® sends you all good wishes for this Holiday Season and
shares with you some thoughtful insights from an Advisor and some of out Fellows.
We thank you for you support.

Best Wishes,
The Perfect Game Foundation


Betsy Nagelsen McCormack
In her own words

Christmas is my favorite time of the year. It’s the time to celebrate the birth of Christ. It’s the season to singsongs of joy and to bless my family and friends with gifts. Christmas is also the time when I’ve received my greatest “gift.” December is the special month my lovely daughter Maggie was born. It’s been said its “better to give than to receive.” I believe this.

Maggie and I try to practice “giving” every month – not only in December – because so much has been given to us. As a former professional tennis player, I feel it’s my life’s purpose to “give” back to the game of tennis. I do this through my training facility, R&B Tennis, located in Wellington, FL. We try to prepare young and aspiring players for careers in professional tennis and equally important, for the game of life. I’m thrilled to be part of The Perfect Game Foundation and its work.


Mallory Cecil

In her own words

Playing a sport and working in the Business of Sports are two very different experiences.
Having played tennis collegiately and professionally, I knew that I wanted to start
my career in the Sports Industry, but I did not have a clue where to start.
I was first introduced to the Perfect Game Foundation as a junior in college, when
I was starting to consider career opportunities. Seven years later, and into my
career, TPGF is still my most valuable resource when I am seeking career mentorship
and networking. The wealth of knowledge and genuine desire to help young professionals
succeed is what I love most about this foundation, and why I am proud to be a part
of it. I have also had the privilege to speak with upcoming/recent graduates who
are looking for the same kind of mentorship and insight I was seeking when I was
in their position. I currently work in Operations for the Women’s Tennis Association
(WTA), and my intern at the moment, is a young lady that I was connected with through
the foundation. The quality of talent that comes through the program speaks for
itself. The Perfect Game Foundation is one that keeps on giving.


Liam Gibney

In his own words

Ever since I was old enough to understand the complexities of the sports industry,
I have been fascinated with it. Since I was young, it has been my goal to work in
sports because I have always been told that there is nothing better than loving
what you do for a living. The Perfect Game Foundation has aided me by giving me
a crucial push in the right direction in gaining both experience and exposure within
the sporting world.

Through the Perfect Game Foundation, I was able to take on an internship at Columbia
University in the Sports Management Graduate Program. I worked for the office of
Vince Gennaro, who is the Dean and Director of the program. Gennaro is the President
of The Society of American Baseball Research (SABR), and the author of Diamond Dollars:
The Economics of Winning in Baseball. My experience at Columbia helped me to not
only develop my skill set within the sports industry and to experience a professional
office environment but also helped me to begin developing a network of relationships
with professionals and graduate students in the field of sports business from whom
I can learn as I progress.

This holiday season, I wish to stress the importance of what it means to have a
family and that we should never take it granted. My family has given me more than
I could ever ask for, but most importantly they have given me unconditional love
and support. That is something that no one could ever put a price tag on, and it
is something that I owe everything to. That is why this holiday season I ask that
when you get together with your family, make sure that you remind them that you
love them and that you are thankful for everything that they do.

Max Gaitan
In his own words

Sport and exercise is central to my life, both personally and professionally. My
passion for endurance sports led me to complete a Master’s in Exercise Physiology.
Starting in January, I will be taking my sport and exercise skills off the field
and into the research lab, where I’ll study the impact of exercise on Alzheimer’s

This Holiday Season I’m especially grateful for the work of The Perfect Game Foundation,
which has vastly expanded my professional network. My involvement with the Foundation
will undoubtedly impact my career path for years to come, as I’ve been given the
opportunity to meet individuals from all corners of the sport industry. Everyone
I’ve encountered through the Foundation embodies the ideals of giving and service
to others, and I hope that in this Holiday Season and New Year we all continue to
grow in these ideals.


Mollie Lane
In her own words

Wishing you and yours a healthy, happy, fulfilling Holiday Season!
After graduating this past May from Brown University, I now work as a Junior Associate in the healthcare practice at Weber Shandwick. Over the past summer, Del and The Perfect Game Foundation were key in helping me navigate my career path. As a former collegiate Division I lacrosse player and all-around sports enthusiast, I knew that the sports business industry fascinated me. Del helped me to narrow my interests, network with other professionals in the field, apply and for various positions, prepare for interviews, and set myself up for success. While I did not end up in sport business, I learned that it’s critical to take advantage of all networking opportunities and be a sponge for learning. There is something that you can take away from each and every conversation, even if it doesn’t seem like something that interests you. And finally, don’t burn any bridges and build a rapport with everyone!

Q &A with TPGF Fellow Caitlin Fischer

May 24, 2017   //   by Caitlin Fischer   //   Q & A with TPGF  //  Add a Comment

Caitlin and the Foundation connected early last summer with the assistance of TPGF Advisor Hank Torbert. She is a UVA graduate whose hometown is Leesburg, VA. Early on Caitlin assisted TPGF with the TPGF Golf Tournament at TPC Potomac in July and followed that by becoming the Editor/Publisher of “The Inside Pitch” Foundation newsletter. She took a job working for Bessemer Trust in Chicago in April and is setting into the Windy City quickly! An enthusiastic athlete, coach and sports fan her favorite baseball team is the St Louis Cardinals!

TPGF – Caitlin, you’re a UVA grad. Tell us how you selected UVA and give us a few comments on college life in Charlottesville?

Great question, right off the bat! There is just one disclaimer: I did grow up a Hokie because my mom played basketball for Virginia Tech. However, I remember visiting UVA for the first time in the sixth grade and I was in awe of the Rotunda, the Lawn, and the sheer kindness of those in the community. The atmosphere and academics seemed to fit my character and what I found was I wanted a well-rounded education that was focused on the liberal arts and the humanities paired with applied coursework.

My parents were very supportive and not once did my mom dissuade me from attending Mr. Jefferson’s university (she rightfully encouraged it!). Truth be told, I met the greatest people on the Grounds at UVA and thoroughly enjoyed every second of my undergraduate career. Charlottesville is rather near and dear to my heart and the best a college town has to offer. GO HOOS!

TPGF – We know you’re a basketball coach in your spare time – how did you get started doing that?


Basketball has been a huge part of my life. My mom absolutely loved the game and I was always around it growing up, whether it was playing it or watching it. I started coaching in high school because one of my friends asked if I would help out with a developmental league. I loved kids and sports, but I was a little apprehensive at first about coaching third grade boys. My friend and I continued to coach 3rd, 4th, and 7th grade boys teams in the Loudoun County area during my high school years. This past winter, my mom and I coached my younger brother’s freshmen high school team. My mom is truly the greatest coach – teaching the fundamentals, the importance of playing good defense, and how those who give the most heart and are humble about their successes will be the greatest players. I also have to say it was great coaching my little brother because of his attitude and level-headedness.

TPGF – What other sports did you play and what do you do now when you work out?


Soccer and basketball were my two main sports. I started playing soccer at age four on an all boys team in because I missed the sign-up for the girls league since I was moving to Charlotte, NC. I always played basketball growing up but I started playing in a league in third grade once I moved back to Northern Virginia. I preferred team sports because of the camaraderie and the friendships. Nowadays, I try to keep up with running, I really like long, endurance runs because as they are as good mentally as they are physically

TPGF – As you started your job search there were several career paths options that you found interesting. How did you finally settle on Wealth Management?


I knew I wanted to work for a firm where I would feasibly be able to help and serve others. My first semester of my fourth year in college, I was looking into private equity because of how intriguing the line of work seemed to be. However, I found that those roles had minimal relationship development and were heavy on the quantitative side for an entry-level analyst position. I rerouted to exploring marketing positions, but I found that those firms were also serving relatively large clients. In regards to wealth management, my dad’s background was in private wealth management and I was able to see how appreciative and grateful he was for his clients and even to this day he keeps in close contact. I also had the pleasure of speaking with Mike Okun at Bessemer Trust, who was a tremendous help in not only passing along my information, but describing Bessemer as a firm that is bar none in the industry today. I could not be happier and I absolutely love the people and the type of work I am doing on a day to day basis at Bessemer. Private wealth is the perfect medium for those who are both social and analytical but want a more personal business relationship and that is what I found I enjoyed the most. I am very, very thankful for this opportunity and the people who supported me along the way.

TPGF – What advice do you have regarding the ‘search process’ for those who follow you?


Patience is a virtue. That is by far the biggest piece of advice I can give. However, I may add that you have to actively pursue or at least “keep swimming,” throughout the entire process. Also, do not underestimate mentors, I have been so lucky to have so many great people who truly want me to succeed and who have given me opportunities I otherwise would have never had.

TPGF – You’ve moved into a new city – Tell us about that process?


It has been a major change, especially since I am so close to my family and friends back on the east coast. My move has made me appreciate how much I have even though I moved to a completely new city. My parents were extremely supportive, along with the rest of my family and friends. Fair warning: when you visit home, everyone will have a million and one questions to ask you. I would say, once I settle down and get into the swing of things I will feel more at ease. What is nice is that there are so many areas to explore and things to do in Chicago – there is never a dull moment!

TPGF – Rumor has it that you may be a STL Cardinals fan? Is that true? How did that happen since you grew up in the DC area?


One hundred and ten percent true! My dad grew up in a small farm town about an hour outside of St. Louis. From a very young age, I was told the only baseball team I could cheer for was the Cards. I can’t complain because they are one of the most well respected sports franchises.

TPGF – Any advice you have for those about to go through the interview process? Both with regard to finding jobs of interest and the interview itself?


As aforementioned, you have to be patient and there is nothing wrong with being particular during the process, as long as you are willing to take the time and put forth the effort. In regards to the interview, I would say you have to show up to the interview with questions that really make the interviewers think. Especially in regards to their firm and the culture they try to instill. Moreover, read up on what is happening in the news about their firm and do not be afraid to ask loaded questions because you should be interviewing them as much as they are interviewing you. Also, the more and more you fine tune your story the easier it will be able to convey that you are interviewing for the right reasons and not just because you had a time slot. You always have to be mindful of other people’s time and graciously thank them!

TPGF – The Foundation believes strongly in ‘Pay it Forward’ – you subscribe to that concept?

Absolutely! No question about it.

Interview with Mayu Fielding

May 24, 2017   //   by Caitlin Fischer   //   Q & A with TPGF  //  Add a Comment

Mayu Fielding is the Education Coordinator for the Pittsburgh Pirates.  As such, she manages an extraordinary program from Pirate City in Bradenton, FL. Born and raised in Venezuela Mayu graduated from Universidad Metropolitana (VE) in Caracas. She is a teacher first and foremost. Her passion is communication, culture and appreciation for all that we have in our lives.

The Perfect Game Foundation talked with Mayu and discussed the following subjects:


TPGF – Mayu how did you and the Pirates connect in Bradenton?

Mayu – 10 years ago, the Pirates ran an ad in the Bradenton paper looking for an Administrative Assistant at Pirate City. I thought it might be a good seasonal/part time job, while I searched for a full time teaching position, so I applied. Well – I immediately loved the work and the Pirates interest in excellence. My job as an Administrative Assistant became more and more involved with the players development. The position for Education Coordinator was created and here I am going on 10 years with the organization! The Pirates are wonderful and I could not be happier doing this work.

TPGF – Approximately how many Pirate players do you work with each year?

Mayu – It varies but about 120 is a good estimate and they start as young as 16 years of age.  A lot of the work is done at Pirate City but I also travel to all our minor league cities. This past week I was in Charleston, WV working with our Class A team.
Additionally I frequently go to the Pirate Academy in the Dominican Republic and work with our young players down there.
Our focus with the players is always on life skills so they can become more independent in their daily lives.
I also work with our teachers who are working directly with our players helping them with life skill issues and self-confidence. The Pirates have local teachers in all the minor league cities as well as in the Dominican.

TPGF – What advice would you pass on to those young people who would like to work in sports?

Mayu – Attention to detail!  Developing a solid work ethic!  There is nothing more disappointing than seeing projects or documents show up with misspelling, grammar errors, punctuation mistakes etc., so that attention to detail is really important (and not just in a sports career!)  The work ethic issue also important as it sets the tone for what your colleagues can count on from you during your working career. It also sets the stage for developing a ‘go above and beyond’ attitude about your work.
At the end of the day the most important things we can do with and for each other is to communicate well and often! Especially in this digital age, when person-to-person communication is becoming a lost art!

Q & A with John Angelos

Apr 23, 2017   //   by Caitlin Fischer   //   Q & A with TPGF  //  Add a Comment

Interview with John Angelos

John P. Angelos is the Executive Vice President of the Baltimore Orioles, a position he has held since April 1999, leading the club’s front office and overseeing day-to-day business operations. He also serves as President and Chief Operating Officer of the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network (MASN), overseeing the network’s business operations. John went to college at Duke and then got his JD at the U of Baltimore School of Law.

Q: John – I know our readers would love to hear about your early years. How you picked Duke, what you majored in and how you decided to go on and get a law degree?

A: I selected Duke in the aftermath of attending an all boys prep school for twelve years. Gilman School in Baltimore had a strong focus on preparing students to attend some of the most highly regarded colleges and universities and among those Duke offered an early action program. Through that program, I was accepted very early in my senior year and after visiting just a handful of schools including Duke and a few Ivy League possibilities, I made a decision based on Duke’s reputation, size, and campus environment. While that decision did work out for me, in retrospect I likely did not visit enough diverse schools and really consider schools based outside of the east coast, of various sizes, or offering differing emphases on curriculum, mission, and campus culture. Today, I advise college candidates to visit as many different types of schools as economically possible, including urban and rural, small and large, private, parochial, and public, and schools on both coasts and all regions of the country of any interest as this will challenge the many assumptions we make as teenagers about what is important. I also advise some students to consider taking a gap year, or traveling the world, or taking advantage of one or several paid or volunteer internships and deferring entering college immediately after high school as this may be a better choice for some. College is a great opportunity and a great time in life, and it will be the best of both when entered into with a lot of thought and without following a any one accepted approach to learning.

Q: Since you sort of grew up in a baseball family what was that like – baseball talk at the kitchen table?

A: Baseball talk and sports talk in general is a great thing, and when it is experienced with those across generations it takes on the added dimensions of expanding not only the pool of player knowledge and different ways in which the game was played and the business of baseball was conducted from Era to Era but expanding the inevitably different points of view we each have in part simply because of circumstances of when we were born and how and when we grew up. Baseball is a game of vast data and statistics but that data is just a way to express the vast company of characters who have populated the history of the game. Baseball is a game of the people because it engages the most fans, players, scouts, coaches, and staff, and that bigger than life scale of the national passion makes baseball talk the best of all sports banter. For me, adding in the dimension of team ownership and family business certainly overlaid a few unique aspects to the conversation, including the role of finances, public relations, team operation, and others, but over the past many years that I have been involved and whether in my twenties, thirties, forties, or later years, that the best way to sort through the business issues that overlay the game is to filter out the business bias as much as possible and view the game just as you did when you were a kid, long before team ownership was a gleam in the eye, for by viewing the game as every kid in America does you will most easily stress what is most important in arriving at the best solution to whatever the business or baseball issue may be.

Q: You not only run the Orioles but you also run MASN – what is a typical work day in your life?

A: The Orioles ownership group has over the past quarter century developed a multi-platform approach to sports brand presentation that only a handful of other sports teams in the four major sports have been able to create. Developing and managing a team owned and managed subsidiary media network in the forms of a regional sports television network, an in house radio network, and an iconic sports venue in Oriole Park at Camden Yards is rewarding for the two primary reasons that such a platform allows those interested in the team to experience it in an integrated manner on all platforms presented by one guiding force as opposed to by many different participants with often competing interests and objections and also allows the media platform to backstop and secure the long term financial stability and presence of the team in the local community free of a threat of relocation from a smaller market to a larger one. The major benefit of MASN is that as long as it exists in strong financial form it insures the Orioles franchise could remain in a market the size of Baltimore permanently. MASN’s guiding business objective however is to promote the game of baseball in the form of 300 games of two MLB clubs, the Nationals and Orioles, across a seven state Mid Atlantic region and the fourteen Nielsen designated market areas that we reach. MASN promotes a two teams on on one network, with a chance for fans to see every club in MLB play and to see hundreds of games from the powerhouse AL and NL East divisions. My job is to make sure that MASN sells the concept of the power of MLB as the best entertainment form in America and promotes equivalently the two teams across those markets and reinforces the fact that MLB is the number one spectator sport and highest cumulatively rated sports media property in the US, just as that is the joint goal of MASN and both of its clubs.

Q: Do you find the television world interesting?

A: The larger media world contains within it the television industry, and the television industry in turn includes within it the sports media world. When a club management is running it’s sports team operation and it’s venue, and all that entails, and while that is a considerable and interesting involvement, without having direct access to the television and larger media industry the team is missing tremendous opportunity. My experiences over the past eleven years of having unique access to the sports team and sports television world’s has provided that opportunity for the club and has been just about the most interesting involvement I could imagine.

Q: Since you are such a forward thinker – what challenges do you see ahead for Major League Baseball?

A: The future off Major League Baseball and the broader game of baseball is incredibly bright. Last year, major and minor league baseball attracted almost 110 million paid fans to see a professional baseball game, and tens of millions more boys, girls, and their families in the US and around the world participated in college, amateur, and youth baseball. With that said, the challenges and opportunities ahead for Mlb and for the great game are considerable, and they are exciting as well. The five areas where Mlb and the game have vast opportunity to grow and improve our business performance by best practices are in my view: 1. Achieving significantly expanded, proactive, and professional industry-standard levels of promotion and marketing of the league, game, and sport domestically to all core and casual demographic groups around the country in support of every local club in their markets; 2. Reaching a state of on-field competitive balance in MLB that is equivalent to that already existing in the best sports leagues in the US and globally as the only realistic and responsible method of growing and protecting the business and popularity of the game of baseball and protecting it from a flattening and then decline in popularity, revenue, and general financial health; 3. Defining a sensible ballpark re-investment and franchise expansion business plan at the major, spring training, and minor league levels that makes all franchises part of a collective league-wide ballpark preservation masterplanning and funding effort that in turn protects the integrity of the league, the presentation of it’s jewel events, and the value of its local clubs by protecting the quality of it’s venues; 4. Reviewing the manner in which MLB and the clubs deploy substantial percentages of revenues to the research and development function of scouting and player development with the goal of better and more appropriately compensating our scouts, minor league coaches, and players who execute that function while making the research and development system far more efficient, less redundant, and more accurate in predicting future performance of amateur athletes at the professional level; 5. Realigning the international marketing of MLB and efforts to grow the game abroad around existing dominant institutions such as the Olympic Games, “dream team” methodology, expanded international amateur programming and marketing, and other international models to reach equivalency with the international efforts of the other major sports US leagues; 6. Reenvision multimedia content distribution in ways that serve the best interests of fans, consumers, players association members, and clubs.

Q: You’ve built such a great team of people working on both the MASN and O’s side of things – what hiring strategies have you employed to end up with such great people working for you?

A: The first and last guidelines in building business or baseball teams for me are the ones that a great baseball man, former Orioles general manager and farm director, and a friend explained to me. Syd Thrift used to explain how building successful teams that possessed chemistry was about recruiting for it by design not trying to create it after the group was built. Syd also was an advocate of measuring everything, coaching the coaches, and evaluating the evaluators using internal communication and external experts to constantly evaluate how the Orioles were doing as compared to other teams. Syd brought that mentality to the Orioles from his many decades with the best baseball minds and in his building the renowned Royals Academy that Ewing Kauffman supported, rejuvenating the Pirates, and many other accomplishments. I took that same mentality to MASN when I recruited the executive team and we launched the new twenty four hour, 365-day media network, and we have the same group together eleven years later.

Q: You love the world of music – who is your favorite song writer/singer?

A: My favorite songwriter is Margaret Valentine, who is also my wife. My favorite singers vary across many diversity talented people and genres, including everyone from Neko Case to Shirley Bassey, Billy Joel to Tom Waits, Johnny Cash to Neil Young, Roger Waters, Eddie Vedder, Edith Piaf, Led Zeppelin, and many more. The best live performances I have recently seen were Florence and the Machine at the Hollywood Bowl, Tom Waits and the Kronos Quartet at the Bridge School Benefit, and the Blind Boys of Alabama at the New Orleans Jazz Festival. The best album I recently listened to was Ryan Beaver’s Rx, and in my view we all need to get back to listening to albums and away from rushing past the great collected work artists create to sample this or that. As Robin Williams’ character in Dead Poets Society famously explained, science and math help us live and the arts are what makes life worth living. We would do well to live by those words and get out and support what songwriters, singers, and artists of every type do to better our lives and make society more livable.

Q: For all of those young people reading this who aspire to work in the sports industry – what words of advice do you have for them?

A: Read a lot of Books. Thirty or more every summer throughout your younger years. Never stop doing that. Give time to books and they will give you back much more time than you put in to them. Go as far in your education as possible as additional exposures, education, and credentials will distinguish you from your peers. Learn to write and communicate as well as you can as doing so will help you think clearly, and the ability to think clearly will permit you to be marketable to any employer in any field. Don’t worry with learning the substance of any one profession as you will be taught that later. Worry only about learning the thinking process applied to any and every profession and human endeavor. As an aside, learning how to read, think, analyze, question, write, and speak will not only make you marketable, distinguish you from others, and get you a job that is rewarding, it may also help you to save yourself and your society from those who will use demagoguery and propaganda to infringe your freedom and individual rights. So, start reading and never stop.

Q: Last question – what National League team do you predict the O’s will play in the World Series this year?

A: The San Francisco Giants. One of the best run organizations in sports, right up there with the Spurs, Steelers, and others, and the Giants focus on pitching, defense, and thinking outside the box between and beyond the lines. Moreover, the Os and Giants colors complement one another, and although I am a bit biased, I think we have the two best cities and two best ballparks anywhere.

Q & A with Tyrone Brooks

Oct 10, 2016   //   by rhireynolds   //   Q & A with TPGF  //  Add a Comment
Tyrone Brooks is everything The Perfect Game Foundation aspires to provide to its fellows, but he did it all on his own. He followed his passion to land a valued internship with the Atlanta Braves after he graduated from the University of Maryland with a double-major. Within weeks, he was hired as a full-time employee. His ravenous appetite for learning all aspects of the game was quickly noticed, and he moved into new and more important roles in short order, even a scouting role he wanted to master in order to better understand the player evaluation process
In 2016 he was lured away from the Pittsburgh Pirates to head up Major League Baseball’s diversity initiative. He is roundly considered one of the most talented “rising stars” on the MLB landscape.
He recently spoke with us, at length, about his career and his philosophies.
TPGF: You had a double major at the University of Maryland, in accounting and marketing. When and how did baseball become a key mission in your life?
TB: I started playing baseball at age 5, and I always loved the game. I played all the way through high school, but I knew I wasn’t quite good enough to play Division 1 ball, so I focused on my education.
I’d always loved the University of Maryland. It was destined to be my school. I got into photography there, and since sports are a big part of the school, I was able to get into sports photography and that kept me closely involved. I thought about pursuing it as a career, but being actively involved in sports was my number one goal. I was determined to find a way to be directly involved.
Over Christmas break, just a semester before I graduated, I found a book called the “Internship Bible.”  Most of the intern jobs were Wall Street or business based, but I saw a listing posted by the Atlanta Braves, for a position Hank Aaron and Stan Kasten had put together. I applied, got an interview, and got the spot. It was just a three-month deal, so I knew I had to come in and make an impression.
TPGF: TPGF exists to give people like you an introduction to the sports industry, to be the person you know. How did you do this without any help?
TB: For me, it was a “right place at the right time” sort of thing. That’s part of it, but after that you still have to deliver.
I understood where I was in life, and I understood my skill set. I knew what I could bring to the Braves, and I was eager to impress them. I love the game of baseball. I love its history.
Just being in a Major League front office, even as an intern, was fascinating to me. Watching the draft unfold, and seeing what the Braves looked for in young men, was eye-opening.
Then, another person in the front office left the club and I got the job.
Right place, right time. But also, I knew I had to show the club what I could do to even be considered for such a job.
TPGF: Your first position in baseball was with the Braves, as a trainee and intern in the baseball operations department. Within three months you were hired full-time to be an admin in the Scouting and Player Development department. How did that happen so fast?
TB: I was eager to be as well-rounded as possible, and I let everyone know that. There was never a time when I thought “This is my box on the organizational chart and that’s all I’ll be.”
The Braves were a scouting based organization, and I realized the importance of it. They had a training system, a “scouts school” and I dove into that. Scouting is a craft, and to be successful you have to work at it. Thanks to the staff at the Braves, they worked with me and took the time to help me learn the craft.
TPGF: You then went to the Pirates and it was all baseball jobs, rather than business or marketing. Was that the plan all along, or did it just happen?
TB: By this time, I was all about being the best baseball person I could be. I wanted to know all the jobs, all the crafts, and be the best at it.
The original front-office environment was critical for me. Being there, with those life-long professionals who understood the game, helped me understand what a team should look for in a young player. I understood that, and was able to develop my own evaluation skills.
I loved scouting, because I was out there on my own accepting the challenge. I loved being in the players’ homes, getting to know the families, and establishing those relationships. There’s a lot more to scouting than just seeing the talent. I loved that part of it.
TPGF: Now, at MLB, you’re the Senior Director for Front Office and Field Staff Diversity Pipeline. What’s your mission in this position, and how do you go about planning for the future?
TB: The mission is to help the teams identify and recruit talented people, whether they’re minorities or women. We need to help them get in the door to show what they can do. There’s been a lack of a true pipeline, historically, and we need to proactively feed that pipeline.
I’m like the poster child for this program. For a hundred years, general managers were just ex-players who moved into the front office. Now, many of them started out like I did, as interns. The pipeline is shifting, and we have to be ahead of that curve to keep it going.
The key is the teams, not MLB. The teams have to be invested, they have to buy in, and that means getting out there to identify candidates and keep track of them.
Every team is involved in this. They need to be aggressive and inclusive. Historically, they’ve been able to take the easy road. Now, we have to reach out, identify, and enable.
TPGF: There are various types of diversity issues, including race, gender, ethnicity, and now “non-baseball” people in key analytical roles, even as general managers. How do you see that?
TB: I saw this whole revolution in baseball first-hand. It unfolded in front of me. There were these really smart people, Wall Street types who could make a fortune moving money, but they also realized they could use their skill sets in a different way. It wasn’t as financially rewarding, but it was far more rewarding in a different way.
“Money Ball” changed the game. Information is power. The more you know, the more you can quantify, the better you’ll be.
With it came bigger front-office staffs, with a new type of staff. That changed the general manager’s job, because it wasn’t just about a staff of former players anymore.
Now, we need to keep expanding. There are talented women who can run baseball teams and understand the metrics that make teams successful. You don’t need to have played in the big leagues, but you need to understand what makes a big league organization successful.
We need to be in tune with this and understand how information works.
TPGF: Baseball has been seeing a decline in the number of African American players. Why do you think that is, and how can it be reversed? Since most field staff positions are filled by former players, this seems to be a critical trend.
TB: This is a long-range plan that starts at the grass-roots level. We need to get more kids playing, just for the fun of playing the game. It doesn’t need to be formal and organized. Just get a ball and a bat and go play, like kids always used to do. We are finding ways to make that happen, and we’re seeing a lot of progress. It’s a wonderful game, and the best part of it is the playing.
The NBA and NFL have done a great job at marketing themselves to these kids. I give them credit for that.
We show these kids, through MLB programs, that baseball can be a key to a great education. With that, you can be successful in life.
We have programs in place where we can identify young players and provide the coaching and development they need. We’re working at it actively.
TPGF: What would be your direct message to the younger Tyrone Brooks when he graduated from college? Are there any pitfalls you’d warn your younger self about?
TB: Every kid needs to focus on their own skill set, and understand it. That’s a lot to expect from a high school or college kid, but I managed to do it and anyone else can do the same.
Be aware of what you can do the best. Be ready to jump right in and do it.
This is all about the power of relationships, too. Meet people, get to know them, understand them, and make sure they understand you. Follow up. Stay in touch. Expand your network.
It all comes down to relationships. At some point, you’ll know a person who believes in you, and who can help you. The relationship you built with that person will be the key to your success.

Bob's Blog

  • 07/18/2019 Of Views, Trenches, and QBs: Greetings blog faithful, here on another Thursday Blog Day. This one just happens to fall on July 18, 2019. Summer took a long time to get here, in Mi...
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  • 07/05/2019 Happy 4th! Let's Take A Blog Week Off: There are certain weeks when it seems unreasonable to hit the Thursday target for a new weekly blog. Thanksgiving week instantly comes to mind, as do ...

In His Words

"There is no substitute for Excellence – not even success. Success is tricky, perishable and often outside our control; the pursuit of success makes a poor cornerstone, especially for a whole personality. Excellence is dependable, lasting and largely an issue within our own control; pursuit of excellence, in and for itself, is the best of foundations,” The Heart of the Order, by Thomas Boswell (Doubleday, 1989).