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Archive for February 2010


Top 10 Baseball Movies I Love

February 14th, 2010 | 2 comments »

Since it’s Valentine’s Day, and baseball is my first love, I thought I’d share my favorite baseball movies of all time:

10.  Major League

9.  Angels in the Outfield

8.  Fever Pitch

7.  The Sandlot

6.  Bull Durham

5.  Eight Men Out

4.  A League of their Own

3.  Field of Dreams

2.  The Rookie

1.  For Love of the Game

I’m sure some of you are going to be shocked not to see The Natural, but it’s just never been one of my favorites.  Maybe because I’m not a huge Robert Redford fan, I don’t know.  Obviously, for most it’s a classic, but I just couldn’t put it in my top 10.

Which baseball movie do you love the most?

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Hanging with Heyward

February 6th, 2010 | Comment »

Earlier this week I was lucky enough to spend some time with the number one prospect in Major League Baseball, Jason Heyward.  He and I are both involved with L.E.A.D., an amazing organization in Atlanta that is bringing baseball to the inner-city in a new and innovative way.  In the past, I’ve had the pleasure of volunteering with his mother, who is simply delightful.  I knew before I ever spoke with Jason that he was an outstanding young man because of his hands-on involvement with L.E.A.D. and the wonderful upbringing he had with such terrific parents.

I wasn’t disappointed in anything I observed about Jason Heyward up close and personal earlier this week.  I was lucky enough to get to sit in on his session in the batting cage, and I was struck by his professional demeanor.  While he carried on conversations with other players outside of the cage, he was completely focused inside the cage.  It was impossible to watch and not notice how seriously he took this opportunity to hit in the cage and get instruction.

I observed several things about Heyward’s routine in the cage.  In a round of soft toss I noticed that he was lifting his back leg up and bending at the knee when he swung.  Later, I asked hitting instructor, CJ Stewart, why Jason was picking up his back leg during soft toss.  CJ explained that this was part of a drill Heyward learned years ago that teaches the importance of shifting your weight during your swing from the back to front leg.  As a pitching instructor who makes my easily-embarrassed teenage girls stand on one leg for the “flamingo drill,” this is going to make for a great example.  Even Jason Heyward, the number one prospect in Minor League Baseball, goes back to drills to improve his game.  Take notes, girls!

Another thing I noticed was that Heyward talked to himself in the later rounds.  He’d call out a situation as he got in his stance, like “runner on second,” and then he’d say something like, “That’ll work!” after the contact if he thought he hit the ball like he wanted.  I also noted that he took the time to get in his stance before each pitch and both his stance and his swing remained consistent through all of the rounds he took in the cage. 

If you haven’t already heard, Heyward has a beautiful swing.  And  if you haven’t heard, you probably shouldn’t call yourself a baseball fan because it’s impossible to escape the talk of this rising talent.  His stature and the full follow-through on his swings most reminds me of Fred McGriff, who I’ve heard him compared to more than once.  It makes me excited to be a Braves fan.

For me, the only thing better than a top prospect who is reminiscent of Fred McGriff is one who is also a great role model for young fans.  Heyward is all that and more.  The first time I met him was in early November at a luncheon for L.E.A.D.  I’ve been to events in the past when sports figures or celebrities slipped in just before they took the podium and slipped back out immediately after they spoke.  It seems to happen more often than not, but it’s not what happened when Jason Heyward came to the L.E.A.D. luncheon.  I saw him pose for dozens of pictures with people and spend time talking to some of the young athletes who participate in L.E.A.D.  His speech was all about giving back and getting involved, and after observing him I don’t doubt that he will continue to be an integral part of L.E.A.D. throughout the years. 

The second time I saw Jason was the day following the luncheon when he participated in the celebrity clinic L.E.A.D. put on for inner-city youth.  Jason was there from start to finish, along with his parents and brother who were also extraordinarily kind and generous people. 

Going into my third encounter with Jason this week, I wanted to respect him while he worked in the cage, but I was also dying to talk to him about some of the subjects in my book.  I waited until he was done batting and then asked if he’d mind a couple of questions.  It wasn’t at all an interview but just a fun chat with someone else who loves the game of baseball.  He was incredibly generous with his time and knowledgeable about the inner-workings of the business of baseball.  It was truly a pleasure to talk to him.

With the natural talent that he has so well refined through his hard work, Jason Heyward is sure to be an impactful addition to the Braves lineup.  More than that though, he’s a terrific role model for all the young fans.  You may not agree that sports figures should be role models, but the bottom line is that they are and so often they forget the little guys out there watching them with hopeful eyes.  Jason Heyward is someone all Braves fans, young or old, will be proud to claim as our own.

So, a big thank you to Jason Heyward and CJ Stewart for letting me have a front row seat outside the cage, and a special thanks to Jason for letting me pick his brain on boring things like revenue sharing!  Also, thanks to Dexter Fowler, Jay Austin, Scott Robinson and Telvin Nash for letting me watch their sessions in the cage as well!  It was an afternoon any baseball fan would love to have!

For love of the game,

Kristi

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Do You Want to Work in Baseball?

February 5th, 2010 | Comment »

On Monday, I attended a panel discussion at Morehouse College in Atlanta led by Pat O’Conner, the President of Minor League Baseball, and Darryl Henderson, who is in Special Operations in Minor League Baseball.  For those of you interested in pursuing a career in baseball, here are some of the tips they gave (and some I’ve picked up along the way):

1.  Your resume should be free of any grammar or spelling errors.  Have a teacher, parent or anyone else you trust check and double-check it before you submit it for review.  As a matter of fact, have multiple people take a look.  I list this tip first because the easiest way to NOT get a job in baseball is by submitting a resume with grammatical or spelling errors.  Your resume will end up in the trash, no matter what phenomenal experience you might bring to the job. 

2.  Attend the Baseball Winter Meetings.  There are two major reasons that you should save your pennies to attend this event.  First, you can interview for jobs in MLB and MiLB.  There is an entire room full of job postings, aptly named the Job Posting Room.  You identify the jobs you want to apply for and prepare a resume that you submit for each.  Interested clubs then contact you and schedule an interview that will take place while you are at the Winter Meetings.  It’s one-stop job shopping.  Second, the Winter Meetings are a great place to network!  Ready for another common saying?  It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.  Not 100% true because sometimes what you know is important, but I will say that it’s usually not as important as who you know.  This is true for baseball or any other industry.  Get to know as many people as you can.  Ask them questions about their job, it will show you have genuine interest and people usually like to talk about themselves.  Ask for their card and follow up after you get home with a hand-written thank you letter.  I’m always amazed at the feedback I get when I send a hand-written thank you letter to someone I’ve met.  Apparently people don’t receive these very often, and I can guarantee it makes an impression.

3.  Be willing to start at the bottom.  Have you ever heard the saying that nothing worth having comes easy?  Well, it’s true.  Almost everyone I’ve met who works in MiLB or MLB started out as an intern selling tickets, or raking the field, or working a concenssion stand, or all of the above.  Aside from former players, most people break into baseball by starting as an intern.  A prime example: Pat O’Conner, the President of Minor League Baseball, said he did everything from selling tickets to cleaning bathrooms.  I would advise taking any internship you can get and then giving it 110% every single day.  Show up on time every single day.  Do everything you’re asked and then find things you haven’t been asked to do and do those too.  That’s how you get your next job in baseball.

4.  Go to PBEO.com and become a member.  This is the official employment site for Minor League Baseball.  They also have Major League Baseball opportunities.  Being a member of PBEO gets you notifications when new jobs are posted, allows you to search posted jobs, gives you the opportunity you to post your own profile employers can search, allows you to gain access to job fairs, and gives you a subscription to a monthly newsletter with job postings, tips and more.  A one-year membership is $50, but if you’re serious about getting a job in baseball you won’t flinch at the price.

5.  Don’t think a passion for baseball is enough.  While it’s an asset, it can’t be the only reason you give for wanting to work in baseball.  If you get the chance to talk to potential employers, tell them what you can do to improve their organization, how you’ll make the job of your superior easier for them, or what skills you’ve gained from other employment or education that will benefit their organization. 

Follow these simple rules and you’ll give yourself the best shot at obtaining a job in baseball.  Most of all, be persistent and never pass up an opportunity to network with people connected to the game.  I wish you the best of luck in your quest to work in baseball!

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