SBJ/June 9-15, 2014/People and Pop Culture

My Start in Sports — Drew Sheinman

Drew Sheinman watched (right front) Mets Keith Hernandez and Gary Carter hoist the 1986 World Series trophy.
Photo: COURTESY OF DREW SHEINMAN


I was one of two executive management trainees
in Major League Baseball, selected through a nationwide talent search. It was their first-ever executive management trainee program. That was my first job out of college. I was 22.
 
When I was at college, I took every opportunity I had at the UMass Sports Management program to either get experience or make an experience. It was also part of my research initiative on how to bring a Major League Baseball franchise to Massachusetts, which allowed me to network with various executives, and that is how I found out about this training program.
 
Oh, my God. I remember it like it was yesterday, getting that letter with the Major League Baseball mark on it. Not knowing if I was being accepted or not. Probably one of the most exciting days in my life, other than having my kids.
 
I remember the first day on the job. They took your picture, and they made a card with your picture on it. It was the office ID for employees to work in the building and mine had the mark of Major League Baseball on it, and I will never forget how special that was.

I got to sit in on meetings. Not just marketing meetings, but on league administration, player development. My particular interest and passion was around marketing.

Photo: COURTESY OF DREW SHEINMAN
I worked most closely with Tom Villante [former MLB executive director of marketing and broadcasting]. He is retired now, but he was a pioneer in the sports marketing world. I knew about him because he was a famous advertising executive.

I had to organize and assimilate various research reports on how to market to youth in Major League Baseball. It was more trying to generate the next generation of baseball fans. They had a whole pile of reports — they did some pretty extensive research — and it had to be organized into a recommendation.

My recommendation was, in terms of getting young kids more involved, they had to be more entertainment focused. Instead of just selling baseball, they had to sell baseball as entertainment and create a greater relevance for young kids. There were different ways to do it — music was an important part of this, as well as through animation and special effects. A better use of the mascots to be more family friendly at the parks.

One of the great highlights is they gave you a season-ticket pass to both the American League and the National League. That pass is like a credential, but it looked like a credit card. There was a red card for the National League and a blue card for the American League and it gave you access to every ballpark in the country.

To young people trying to get into this business, my advice is to take advantage of every opportunity you can to meet the people with real operational experiences and don’t be shy about it. Be creative; be entrepreneurial; and be tastefully aggressive in terms of how you can get out and meet new people. You never know where it is going to take you.

See also: My Start in Sports — Mike McCarthy

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