The following story was submitted by Connor Starrs, a 2015 fellow of The Perfect Game Foundation.
The Perfect Game Foundation has opened numerous opportunities within baseball that I never even knew existed, let alone would have been able to pursue on my own. For example, through TPGF’s connections I was fortunate enough to attend this year’s Baseball Winter Meetings in Dallas as an intern for the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR). This was not only an amazing experience, but provided me the opportunity to meet with numerous MLB executives and people working in the business of baseball. Furthermore, TPGF’s extensive connections in the game ensure that when I pursue opportunities in baseball my credentials will be in the hands of top personnel backed by the support of TPGF, rather than submitted blindly along with hundreds of other resumes. Finally, TPGF has provided invaluable guidance throughout the whole process that has taught me a great deal about how best to approach employers and develop relationships within the business of baseball. Gaining employment in baseball relies on developing a broad an intimate network of connections within the game and TPGF provides the support and access necessary for this to happen.
The economics of the job market within the sports industry are decidedly skewed against aspiring workers because there are so many people vying for so few jobs. Therefore, making connections and gaining access to important people is imperative to setting yourself apart from the competition and getting a foot in the door. My advice for aspiring sports professionals is to focus on developing as many connections as possible within the industry, no matter how insignificant or irrelevant they may seem at the time. Even if someone cannot offer a position immediately, just seeking advice and getting to know that person will ensure that she thinks of you down the road if an opportunity does present itself. You never know which connection will be the one that leads to an opportunity that will jumpstart your career.
"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).