“Find your passion and get paid for doing it,” Scott Palmer, director of Media and Public Affairs for the Philadelphia Phillies, said at the second annual College Media day held at Citizens Bank Park.
More than 100 college students, including three from the College, participated in the event sponsored by the Phillies last Friday.
The day, intended for students interested in sports media careers, included three different speaker panels, lunch, an optional ballpark tour and a press conference with Phillies assistant general manager Ruben Amaro Jr.
Palmer, a former sportscaster for ABC Channel 6, moderated each panel, which informed students about the different areas of work in sports.
The first panel featured speakers with jobs in public relations and communications like Rob Brooks, broadcasting manager and host of the Phillies’ weekly television show. Brooks said that he never imagined himself working in sports but told students to “be persistent” and not to “roll over all the time.”
Another panelist, marketing publicist John Brazer, explained some aspects of his job: “Everyone wants a piece of Ryan Howard,” he said. “It’s our job to make sure that we get him exposure in a way that he is not overtaxed.”
When asked about Brett Myers, the Phillies pitcher who was charged for assaulting his wife in Boston last June, Brazer said, “The Phillies admitted that it wasn’t exactly done the way we should have. It was a trying time for the organization.”
The second panel introduced the marketing and sales aspect of the business with speakers like Phil Feather, manager of the internship program, and Brian Mahoney, corporate sales manager. Students learned of the possible internships and gained advice about how to land the coveted positions, which sometimes lead to jobs in the front office.
“I don’t care about your grades, I don’t care about your GPA,” Feather said. “Show a willingness to do anything.”
“If nothing else, you should learn this: You can get a job in baseball if you want,” Mahoney said. His anecdotes combined the ideas of perseverance and luck.
“I wouldn’t be here without a lot of luck,” Palmer said. He even grabbed the cameraman, who told his “luck” story in which he overheard of a job opening while working as a bartender in the Philadelphia area.
Brazer was a religious studies major with a minor in history at the University of Virginia. Interestingly, Brazer got a chance to work for the Phillies by an unexpected meeting at a wedding and an impersonation of blues singer Joe Cocker.
After a lunch that included a typical ballpark cuisine of hot dogs and hamburgers, students attended the “Meet the Press” panel that included Michael Barkann, host of “Daily News Live,” and Phillies radio broadcaster Scott Franzke, among others.
The various panelists offered similar sentiments stressing the importance of getting an internship and sometimes taking the smaller jobs. Panelist Ken Mandel, a reporter for mlb.com, said that he used to have a job that entailed photocopying and running statistics to different people around Yankee Stadium.
Barkann particularly stressed the importance of getting print experience before going into broadcast because broadcast “doesn’t give you the fundamentals for learning the business.”
Later at the press conference, students had the ability to ask Amaro questions and take pictures. Although Amaro said that he doesn’t discuss trades, he did comment on Aaron Rowand’s trade rumors. “He’s our center fielder and we don’t see him going anywhere anytime soon,” Amaro said.
When asked his thoughts about Jimmy Rollins’ comments about being the team to beat this year, Amaro said, “I am glad Jimmy thinks we have a very good club but they have to prove it on the field. I think personally the team to beat is the Mets and we can’t rule out the Atlanta Braves and their bullpen.”
Second baseman Chase Utley’s $85 million contract extension was discussed. “When you can sign guys like Chase and Myers long-term, it makes us feel good,” Amaro said. “Our goal is to keep our quality young players in our uniforms.”
Is it the Phillies’ year for a championship? “The last two years made the team hungrier and made them understand how important the first part of the season is,” Amaro said.
According to some students, it’s about time Philadelphia claimed a title. “As a Philadelphian, I would like all our teams to do well. It creates an atmosphere and I think it’s important for our fans,” Amaro said. “In no other city does a fanbase feel like they are a part of the team.”
The day ended with an optional ballpark tour throughout the stadium including the press box, batting cages and locker room, where most students took pictures. Students also scored free tickets to the “On-Deck” pre-season games against the Boston Red Sox.