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Invasion of the Job Seekers

Dec 23, 2013, 2:28 PM EDT


Everyone who goes to the Winter Meetings knows who the Job Seekers are. They’re the black and navy suit-clad twentysomethings wearing badges that actually say “Job Seeker” on them. They’re there for the Professional Baseball Employment Opportunities job fair. They pay a couple hundred dollars for the privilege of applying for a shockingly small number of low-paying jobs somewhere in professional baseball. You see them sitting for interviews at various tables in and around the hotel. You see them walking around in packs, trying to get up the nerve to talk to managers, assistant general managers and broadcasters. If you’re wearing a badge of your own — like “media” — you see them look down at it as they pass you by and then quickly move on when they realize that you can’t help them become the next general manager of the Tampa Bay Rays.

I’ve always been fascinated by The Job Seekers, but I’ve never actually sat and talked to any of them at length. Jeb Lund did, however, and he wrote a wonderful story about The Job Seekers and the odds and absurdities they face over at SB Nation. The odds?

When I walk away to talk to the next guy, or girl, or the next one after that, I’m struck by how many broadly impressive resumes are here. They often have wildly divergent credentials, but all sound perfectly reasonable — insistent, almost — as qualification for any baseball job. Worse, their end goal of running a baseball team means that they are all trying to fast-track to one of only 30 such jobs in the world. To put this in perspective: There are three times as many available United States Senate positions, and the qualifications for them are vastly lower.

The absurdities? Dealing with John Kruk, for example. Or paying over $1,000 when it’s all said and done in order to maybe — maybe — grab a $17K a year internship that probably has you moving to Idaho or somewhere like it.

It’s a great read. Go check it out.

  1. spudchukar - Dec 23, 2013 at 2:56 PM

    OK, them are fightin’ words, oh smoothed domed one. You live in Columbus, as in Ohio, for frickin’ sake.

    • ironhawk - Dec 23, 2013 at 3:01 PM

      Come on now. Ohio is clearly a better place to live than Idaho. I’m sure Idaho has it’s charm and it’s pros, but come on now.

      • spudchukar - Dec 23, 2013 at 3:05 PM

        They don’t call it the “Rust Belt” for nothing. And you obviously have never been here, being Central Idaho.

      • Reflex - Dec 23, 2013 at 3:53 PM

        I do not think anyone could pay me enough to live in Idaho. I’ve spent significant time in Moscow and Twin Falls, and lived in Marsing for a time. Never again.

      • rje49 - Dec 23, 2013 at 4:05 PM

        I’ve been to all the lower 48 states and lived in 6. Idaho is mostly a beautiful place. Ohio is on my list of places I’d never like to live in.

      • Reflex - Dec 23, 2013 at 5:25 PM

        The state is indeed beautiful. The culture, however, is as ugly as it comes. Things that have happened to me or friends in Idaho –

        – “Its really too bad the Supreme Court has not stepped in to kick the Kenyan out of office.”
        – “I hate how black people are getting all the advantages now that Barak Hussein Obama is President.”
        – From a call in radio show, without any editing: “Someone needs to go to that liberal (democrat) congressman’s home and kill his wife and children in front of him so he knows what its like to have something valuable taken from him, then maybe he’ll think twice about raising taxes.”
        – A Pakistani friend who tried to visit a theme park in Northern Idaho: No hotels would rent a room to him, despite the vacancy signs, they kept saying they were ‘full’ including the one he had reserved a room at. He had to rent a room an hour and a half away back in Washington State.
        – At the theme park he took his wife and children to he was followed by security guards everywhere he went..
        – After two hours of this, the head of security approached him, offered him a refund and asked him to leave because he was ‘making their patrons nervous’.

        I could continue. Its the tip of the iceberg. Entering Idaho is like entering the deep south in my experience, and while there certainly are nice people there the overall culture is tolerant of some pretty extreme prejudice and hatred. The Aryan Nations and other hate groups are headquartered there for a reason: The locals won’t bother to try and run them out, and the authorities won’t keep an eye on them like they would in many other states.

      • mikhelb - Dec 23, 2013 at 6:08 PM

        @Reflex you just expressed what the majority of my non-blonde, non-light coloured eye, non-english speaking foreign friends have told me about their experiences in every place they go to in the US (me: foreigner, and have never experienced a single thing like that when I am in California… except not treated “fair” by fellow hispanics, go figure). And it is also how most of the world sees the US, unfortunately because I’ve only had good experiences, then again I am always sporting a smile and being kind, the opposite of big, busy cities.

        In contrast I’ve had awful experiences traveling to the southern part of ‘my’ country, being from the north, we are viewed as “gringos light” (i don’t like the word “gringo”), and that’s not good because they judge you a priori.

        Good holidays/merry christmas/etcetera.

        CHEERS everybody!!!

      • spudchukar - Dec 23, 2013 at 10:00 PM

        The original definition of ignorance, is of course, not knowing. It is most applicable here. I always try to remind myself, that while I find it difficult to understand the mentality of places like Mississippi, that elections show that nearly 1/3 of the population still votes liberal. And in progressive strongholds like NY and Mass. a similar trend arises only in the opposite.

        I have lived in Idaho since 1978, from Sandpoint in the north to Twin Falls in the south. So I have a particularly acute understanding of the mindset of the residents throughout the state. The whole Aryan nations thing, which has its “headquarters” in Northern Idaho, outside of the progressive city of Coeur D’Alene, between Rathdrum and Hayden Lake used to exist. Even in its supposed heyday, the Butler compound was mostly symbolic. It drew a lot of national attention, but its most successful campaign, the so-called “call to duty” managed to draw a total of 52 devotees. That is accurate. A total of 52 souls came to the much ballyhooed event, its largest attendance ever.

        A great deal of southern Idaho is Mormon controlled, and it is where most of the populous is located. Cities like Idaho Falls and Twin Falls are agricultural based economies that are thriving, and are bastions of backward thinking rednecks, who have never encountered people of different persuasions.


      • spudchukar - Dec 23, 2013 at 10:18 PM

        And they try hard to live up to the image that many outsiders have of Idaho, and I and many others despise those places.

        But that is not representative of all of Idahoans, or all of its locales. If you would visit Sandpoint, or Ketchum, you would find an entirely different populous. Granted most of the inhabitants are transplants, but then we all came from other places. Blaine County, where I live is one of the most progressive places in America. Yes, it is fabulously wealthy. But many of us are not, and we do sponge off the affluent to one degree or another, but still it garners the attention of the privileged because of its beauty, live and let live mentality, and its unique residents.

        This comment would be frowned on by most who live here. They revel in the opinion that was voiced by commentors above. The fewer people who come here to experience the grandeur the better, but I for one cannot accept the implicit selfishness. They say that if you call a place paradise, then you can kiss it good-bye. I plead guilty.

      • jerseydevi1 - Dec 24, 2013 at 10:33 AM

        I love the comments from some people in this thread. Here’s a hint: most of those people that you just called:

        1. Extremely Prejudiced
        2. Full of Hatred
        3. Needing to have an eye kept on them
        4. gringos light
        5. backward thinking rednecks

        Have similar thoughts and opinions regarding you and have names that are equally offending for you and the areas you live. Not saying they are right, wrong or indifferent, but that is a fact.

        I always was taught different strokes for different folks. There is a reason this Nation is so large, so that we can all live in relative peace and harmony. If you don’t like Northern Idaho, Los Angeles, Mississippi or New York…don’t live there. And don’t give me the I can’t move excuse either, because as spudchukar mentioned, there are pockets of like-mindedness all over the place.

        I know I will get flamed, and that’s fine I have my big-boy pants on. Just remember, for ever person you try to silence or shout-down someone wants to do that to you and your opinion as well.

      • Reflex - Dec 24, 2013 at 2:39 PM

        I am proud of the fact that I do not tolerate racism, sexism, homophobia and xenophobia. I do not accept that those things are ‘different strokes for different folks’. They are beliefs to be combatted everywhere they arise.

        To be clear, I do not look ‘down’ on people like that. They need to be educated. I grew up in a sexist, homophobic household with some racist tendencies. It took time, experience, and exposure to other people, lifestyles and cultures to change those things in me. But one thing that never helped me get over it was people simply nodding and deciding that it was fine for me to believe what I believed. Instead my beliefs were challenged, routinely, by those who had experience being gay, living as a female, living as a minority, being raised Muslim or in another country. After a while it became fairly obvious to me that my beliefs were misguided and ill-informed.

        I am thankful that others took the time to challenge me, both in real life and on the internet, for the years it took me to get past my upbringing. Part of paying it forward is to not simply accept those beliefs in others.

        Yes, Idaho has pockets of tolerance and acceptance. They also have broad swaths of bigotry ingrained in their culture. Those aspects should be called out, frequently and loudly until they change. In fact, it is a moral and ethical imperative that we do so, as constant exposure to the light is what tends to drive change.

      • stercuilus65 - Dec 26, 2013 at 10:34 AM

        “Reflex” defender of all things good and noble you are my hero educating all the ignorant savages. We are blinded by the glow from your halo! Thank God he sent you down to educate and fight the evildoers!

      • Reflex - Dec 26, 2013 at 6:24 PM

        If you are racist, homophobic, sexist or xenophobic then you deserve to be preached at, at the least. If you are not, then stand up for what you believe.

      • Reflex - Dec 26, 2013 at 6:27 PM

        (attempting to fix the quote, likely will fail and necessitate yet another post)

      • Reflex - Dec 26, 2013 at 6:28 PM

        Perpetrators, collaborators, bystanders, victims: we can be clear about three of these categories. The bystander, however, is the fulcrum. If there are enough notable exceptions, then protest reaches a critical mass. We don’t usually think of history as being shaped by silence, but, as English philosopher Edmund Burke said, ‘The only thing necessary for the triumph [of evil] is for good men to do nothing.’

        Maybe this time?

  2. steele9153 - Dec 23, 2013 at 3:22 PM

    c’mon Craig, no need to be so snarky.

  3. jwbiii - Dec 23, 2013 at 4:04 PM

    My next door neighbor’s son was one of those guys. The Winter Meetings were in Las Vegas that year and he flew from Chicago to Las Vegas on the same flight as the Cubs’ front office delegation.

    Kid to stewardess: Do you know if that is Jim Hendry?
    Stewardess: Yes, he is.
    Kid: Could you give him my resume?
    Stewardess: Sure.
    A few minutes later, Hendry walks back to coach.
    Hendry: You’ll have to talk to my assistant, Randy Bush. I’ll introduce you in the airport.

    So he had his first job interview at baggage claim in McCarron Airport. He didn’t get a job with the Cubs, but he got one with the Tigers. He spent the summer at their Lakeland base, lived in their spring training dormitory, made almost no money, but has lots of great stories. If I tell an anecdote about Joel Zumaya, Fu-Te Ni, Toby Harrah, or other Tigers players or staff from 2009, I have a good source.

  4. janessa31888 - Dec 23, 2013 at 5:24 PM

    I live in Ohio and yes, it is a boring place. No championships. But its not as bad as people make it sound like.

  5. mikhelb - Dec 23, 2013 at 6:16 PM

    I’ve heard of journalists who attend the Winter Meetings and are treated like crap by blog writters, ex-players-turned-analists, fired-GMs-now-working-on-TV, baseball “personalities” and others of their kin, just because they were not with ESPN/MLB Net/FoxSports/a big US newspaper.

    Not a good sign when bloggers view themselves as “important baseball personalities” and think they are bigger than the baseball players themselves.

    • Reflex - Dec 23, 2013 at 6:23 PM

      Based on your description, ‘bloggers’ are not seeing themselves as bigger than the baseball players, but instead as bigger than journalists for smaller and/or local media companies. Which may be accurate given that many bloggers have a larger and more diverse audience than a reporter from a local paper, even one from a relatively large city like Seattle or St Louis.

  6. meatcarroll - Dec 23, 2013 at 7:07 PM

    Stop hating on Idaho, I’m a Pakistani-American and I got with all kinds of pretty white girls there. Seemed pretty tolerant to me. Maybe the older generation is racist but the new age internet gen’s seen it all, they treated my like any other normal guy once I opened my mouth and didn’t sound like Apu.

    • Reflex - Dec 23, 2013 at 7:56 PM

      In other words, once you went way out of your way to be as ‘white’ as you possibly could. My friend is Muslim, has a beard, and while his English is good he has a noticeable accent. He is also fairly dark skinned. I suppose he could do his best to lose his culture, faith and maybe start bleaching his skin, but I’d suggest just living somewhere that is not going to treat him like crap for being an immigrant.

      • stercuilus65 - Dec 26, 2013 at 10:39 AM

        Yes I’m sure you have a handy “muslim” friend just for this post!

      • Reflex - Dec 26, 2013 at 2:08 PM

        Working for a large international corporation in Seattle I have many friends from various backgrounds and ethnicities. On my current team three members are muslims. Several others are Hindu(I’m in tech, lots of Indians in my field). The friend in question is one I worked with at Microsoft for many years, he is from Pakistan.

        I know, the idea of people being friends or even knowing people of other cultures must be a shock to you in whatever whitebread area of America you live in.

  7. somekat - Dec 23, 2013 at 7:43 PM

    There have been plenty of occasions where I’d of been willing to pay a couple hundred bucks to be in close quarters with Rube Amaro, with only light security around. I’m sure there are a lot of other fans from other teams that feel the same way about their respective GM

    Why am I just learning about this now?

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