02 Oct Force Play: An Introduction
By: Jen Mac Ramos
Hello, folx, here’s a column called Force Play. Think of it as “Dear Abby,” but for advice on how to break into the baseball industry, no matter what department (from analytics to marketing to operations and more).
I’m your relayer of advice, Jen Mac Ramos. I’ve previously worked in baseball for an indy ball team and currently am part of both the stats and prospect teams at Baseball Prospectus, along with being a contributor at The Hardball Times. For my day job, I work as a program associate at a youth journalism nonprofit in California’s Central Valley where I help mentor youth and teach journalism. (It’s a total 180 from baseball, I know, but it is one of my dream jobs, so I’m content.)
It’s the midst of the pennant race on the field, but off the field? September is the month when many baseball job listings start to pop up—here’s an Associate, Quantitative Analysis gig and here’s a Premium Hospitality Club Manager gig—and there’ll only be more as it gets closer to the offseason.
Now, here’s the catch with this column: This advice is specifically geared toward cisgender women, trans women and men, nonbinary folx, and people of color. Why? If you take a look at front office statistics, it’s not necessarily the most diverse data in the world. And there’s a system behind it that keeps perpetuating that only cisgender white men with a high economic status who went to Ivy League institutions get considered for the top MLB front office jobs. It’s similar to a lot of white collar industries that way.
So I’m here to offer options to get into front offices. A barrier to entering sports as a career is economic inequity. Think of it this way: If you have a job offer to make more money in a non-sports role and you don’t have to worry about the high cost of living, the logical thing to do is to take the job that offers the most security — even if that means giving up any sports opportunity. For example, moving to a mid-sized city for a non-sports job and everything is within a reasonable cost of living as opposed to moving to Seattle, where the cost of living keeps rising, for a sports-related role
Not only that, it’s not often the case that these jobs—especially the higher paying ones—are offered to cisgender women, trans men and women, nonbinary folx, and people of color. In its annual report card, The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport (TIDES) gave Major League Baseball a C on gender hiring, but a B+ in racial hiring, though they received a C– racial hiring grade for managers and president of baseball ops/general manager.
I want to change that, because baseball should be for everyone. If everyone isn’t represented at the top, is it truly for everyone?
A few resources until the next column (which, barring any life circumstances, should be every other week):
I co-created the Non-Cismen in Baseball Analytics facebook group with Detroit Tigers analyst Maggie O’Hara as a place for cisgender women, trans women and men, and nonbinary folx to network and connect in the baseball analytics sphere. We welcome those who are already established analysts with a team or as an independent analyst, those looking to begin a career as a baseball analyst, students who want mentorship in the realm, and those who are looking to learn about baseball analytics but don’t exactly know where to start.
TeamWorkOnline’s baseball listings is where many, many professional baseball teams post their job listings. I highly encourage those interested to sign up for alerts in the categories that fits well with them.
There’s the Baseball Industry Network LinkedIn group that was started by Tyrone Brooks, who is now the Senior Director, Front Office and Field Staff Diversity Pipeline Program at the Office of the Commissioner of Major League Baseball. It’s a place to connect with those already in the industry and a way to find jobs, but more importantly, it’s a way to introduce yourself to those who already work in front offices.
If there’s a specific question you’d like to see answered in this column, don’t hesitate to contact me or tweet me a question (@jenmacramos). I don’t believe in the idea that there’s a question that’s embarrassing or not smart. After all, if you’re asking it, it means you want to know, and that only means you want to learn and add to your knowledge. So ask away, no matter if the question is about how to write the best cover letter or how to cold contact a baseball exec for advice or mentorship. I will try my best to answer every question that comes my way.
You can send questions for Jen to: firstname.lastname@example.org