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Do you ever dream of getting a job in baseball? Maybe your dream is to be the general manager of a team, or would it be to replace Tom Cheek or Mike Wilner, or more likely Rob Faulds? If you have such a dream, and you want to make it a reality, you have to start somewhere and for many you have to start where the players start, in A ball. When I was in Auburn last month I spoke with Jason Smorol, the General Manager of the Auburn Doubledays, and Adam Kaufman, the Doubledays Director of Broadcasting and Media Relations.

Jason Smorol is in his third season as General Manager with Auburn. So how did Jason get to be the General Manager? Jason was teaching Sports Management at the Cortland campus of the State University of New York, and as part of that job was managing the program's intern placements. Jason placed an intern with the Doubledays and called up just before the placement was to start to make sure everything was OK for the placement. He discovered the General Manager had quit and the Doubledays offered him the job. Now, for clarification, the Doubledays did not offer the job to the first guy who phoned them after the incumbent quit. Before teaching at Cortland, Jason had previously been in baseball for a number of years, starting as the concessions manager for Watertown, moving on to be the Assistant General Manager, and then General Manager, at Batavia. After that initial foray into baseball Jason decided to teach students about the job. When asked to take over in Auburn Jason initially said no, but then had second thoughts and accepted.

The job of General Manager, even for a short season team, is a year round job, and a fun job says Jason. The quietest time of the year is October and November, but come December it is time to start thinking about next year. There are field bookings to look after, in addition to the Doubledays, high school, college, and senior league games are scheduled for Falcon Field. In the offseason the Doubledays are a team of two, Jason and his Assistant General Manager, Carl Gutelius, who has graduated from an intern position last year. In the off-season the team of two have to sell advertising, decide on the promotions, hire interns and staff, basically everything that revolves around the team operations.

Jason does not have much to do with the on-field baseball operations. He has to make sure the players have housing, road hotel arrangements are made, buses are booked and meet Blue Jay requirements, the clubhouse is OK, and on field promotions don't get in the way of the game. The baseball team itself is Dennis Holmberg's job.

The job of a minor league General Manager is primarily marketing and business. As a good teacher of sports marketing Jason says the job is everything that is thought in Sports Management. There is stadium operations (tickets sellers, ticket checkers, cleaning staff, grounds crew), marketing (radio broadcasting, web site, buying and selling promotions, buying and selling advertising, logos), food concession operations, and merchandise sales (sourcing the items, buying them and pricing).

As a good GM Jason knows where his customers come from. Attendance is 60% from Auburn, 15% from nearby Syracuse, 15% from greater Cayuga County, and 10% from tourists. Auburn has broken attendance records in the last two seasons. Some of the tourists come from Toronto, and a Toronto kid won their recent mullet contest, a dubious distinction. This year Jason has met some Torontonians who made the trip over on the Breeze, the new ferry between Rochester and Toronto. Capacity at Falcon Field is officially 2800, but now that our butts are bigger Jason notes the stadium is pretty full with 2600 fans in attendance.

On my visit to Auburn it was Thursday dollar night. Beer, pop, popcorn, were all $1. Before the game Jason was on the field, microphone in hand, welcoming the fans, promoting dollar night, claiming Auburn Doubledays were the "best deal on dirt" and that "Auburn fans are the best in baseball". The almost full crowd enjoyed the banter and did not mind the five first pitches. Jason even gave a couple of the amateur pitchers a chance to say a few words to the fans. So if you are good at marketing, sales, management and finance, and can be the MC of a baseball game, you too could be a general manager.

Adam Kaufman is the Director of Broadcasting and Media Relations, an intern position. Adam is studying at Syracuse University, the source of many of the TV and Radio personalities we hear. For the Doubledays Adam is the Director of Broadcasting on the road where he broadcasts the games with his partner. At home Adam is the Director of Media Relations which includes looking after Batters Box personnel who come down from Toronto.

Adam travels with the team so he can broadcast the games. Like the Jays, Adam and his partner split the radio duties, Adam does play-by-play on the first three innings and the last three. He also handles player and manager interviews, Adam's partner does the pre and post game shows.

As mentioned, at home Adam is the Director of Media Relations. Most of the visiting teams bring their radio crews with them and Adam prepares media notes. At the start of the season dealing with the new scoring software and internet connections were a challenge but all is under control now.

Adam is looking for a permanent job next year, broadcasting baseball, and one day would like to be a broadcaster in the big leagues. It is a long and difficult road but we wish Adam, and Jason, the best.
So You Want To Be a General Manager? | 2 comments | Create New Account
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_Rory - Tuesday, August 31 2004 @ 07:05 PM EDT (#38483) #
My dream is to become a general manager of a professional sports team.I have my under grad in physical education and I going to grad school getting my sports management degree.If any body know something that can help me please let me know.
_Rory - Tuesday, August 31 2004 @ 07:06 PM EDT (#38484) #
A life time jays fan !!!!!!!!!!
So You Want To Be a General Manager? | 2 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.