I have a career dream, but I am worried it might be a bit of a long shot. I’m a huge fan of Major League Baseball, and I’d like to have a career in the league someday. No, I’m not an aspiring professional baseball player: I’m talking about working a front office. In a perfect world, I’d love to be a general manager. You know, dealing with agents, making trades, signing players — that kind of stuff. But even if I never get the top job, I’d love to be involved in the day-to-day operations of a Major League Baseball team!
I should note that I’ve never played baseball at a professional level and I’ve never coached whatsoever. I don’t know anyone who works in baseball, and I don’t know how to get a job in a front office. Experts, what can I do?
You don’t have to know how to throw a perfect curveball or drive a pitch over the fence to become a successful professional working in the front office of a Major League Baseball team. These days, the front offices of professional teams are filled with people who come from all sorts of different backgrounds, from former players and coaches to lifelong scouts, statistics experts, and business professionals.
If you want to get a job in a front office, your best bet is to pair a relevant educational path with a private passion for the game. In particular, for the finer points of contracts, trades, and the advanced statistics that preoccupy the experts working on modern front offices.
First up: your education. Front offices deal with contract negotiations and player evaluation, among other things, so consider a relevant college major and perhaps a graduate degree. Business, statistics, and sports management are all solid choices. Of course, general managers can have all kinds of backgrounds — some current general managers hold English degrees — but it doesn’t hurt to maximize your chances of learning applicable knowledge.
You will really need to know your stuff to work in a front office. Make a point of reading up on baseball. No, we don’t just mean the game recaps and box scores: you should be exploring the world of “sabermetrics,” where stat geeks have breakthrough insights into how the game actually works. Read websites like Baseball Prospectus and Fangraphs. Comment, post, and learn. Websites like Fangraphs actually post job opportunities from major league teams, so keep your eyes peeled and be ready to prove your worth with articles you’ve written and math you’ve done for the benefit of the sabermetrics community. This doesn’t have to feel like work, of course: maybe you’ll have the best fantasy baseball team in your league thanks to your dedication!
And don’t neglect general skills, either. Learning how to program can be key, for instance, and you should know your way around a spreadsheet and a Word document. You should understand things like business and statistics in general, not just as they relate to baseball — after all, it will be your job to find new ways to apply this knowledge to baseball!
A team with a great statistics department has a real advantage in Major League Baseball, As a result, the smartest teams are always looking out for the best new talent. But how you get there doesn’t have to be boring. Tom Tippett, the Senior Baseball Analyst for the Boston Red Sox, was previously seen helping design the most accurate baseball simulation game on the market! You might break into the majors after being a writer for Fangraphs, or a game designer, or an employee of a minor league team.
In other words, it’s tough to predict what will lead you to the majors, but easy to say which skills you should pay attention to and develop. Your passion could become your career, so don’t give up! Just follow your dream and pursue exciting opportunities while combining your fun with hard work, developing marketable skills, and (possibly) earning degrees in areas of statistics or business. Good luck! We’ll be “root, root, rooting” for you to take your skills “out to the ballgame.”