Describe your very first job and what lessons you learned.
My first job came in high school, when I worked in advertising dispatch for our local daily newspaper. I found myself sneaking off to the newsroom to watch and listen. I tried to learn on my own what professionals considered newsworthy.
Describe your first job in your industry and what you learned.
I was hired by the Vero Beach Dodgers, the single-A affiliate to the Los Angeles Dodgers in the Florida State League. I did everything from stocking the concessions shelves, to selling ads for the programs, to pulling the tarp (over the field) in the rain. I learned the value of interacting with the fans, as I learned all of their names, the food and beverage preferences, and their favorite seat locations.
What were your salaries at both of these jobs?
I made a little over $5 an hour at the newspaper and I made $16,000 a year with the Vero Beach Dodgers.
Who is your biggest mentor and what role did they play?
One of my mentors is Peter O’Malley, the former owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers, who gave me my break into baseball. He clearly taught me the importance of treating the fans and employees as well as possible. Another is (Major League Baseball) Commissioner Bud Selig, who has grown thegame to all-time heights in attendance, popularity and revenues. He always does what, in his opinion, is in the best interest of the game.
What advice would you give to a person just entering your industry?
People must truly have the passion, and not be star struck. They should expect long hours and low pay in the early years. And most importantly, they must be fortunate enough to have a spouse and family that understand the travel, emotions, exhaustion and stress associated with the sport. Yet, if someone truly loves what he or she is doing, that person will never actually work a day in his or her life.
If you weren’t doing this, what would you be doing instead?
I spent a little time in between teams in sports broadcasting and enjoyed myself. I hosted a morning-drive talk show in Los Angeles and was a weekend sports anchor on NBC there, as well. I would have continued to pursue that — or play-by-play broadcasting or game show hosting!