2011 Summer Interns

Just a few of the summer interns remain at Minute Maid Park to welcome the new fall class. I’ll be here through Saturday for Social Media Night (Speaking of, if we sell out, I’ll look awesome, so let’s jump on that. Thanks!), but I’m starting to miss these people, whom I spent many, many hours with. I feel very lucky to have met so many talented and driven people. Best of luck to you all- in school or your careers!


One of my favorite things to talk to other baseball enthusiasts about is their memories. We all have them- I remember asking Mark McLemore for his autograph when I was pretty young. He walked over to me, a little girl in a gingham dress with a bow in her hair, out of a long group of boys. I handed him my ball, and he just stopped. He slowly started looking around like someone was playing a joke on him.

The ball was a practice ball- we had a million of those around my house, and I thought it was silly for me to buy an official ball at the stadium, when I had plenty of them at home. But I could just see it on his face- “What is this girl doing with a practice ball?” I’m pretty sure my mom has the picture somewhere…

This week I asked my Twitter followers to share their favorite Astros memories, and I’d like to post a few of them here. Please share your memories in the comments section!

@weslinder: DK pitched no-hitter on my 12th b-day. Family gathered to listen to Milo call it. Met DK later and thanked him for it. Nice guy.

@Jaylen1182: spending summers at the astrodome up in the cheap seats w/my sister & uncle. My mom paid for our babysitting w/astros tickets🙂

@david__brinkman: first game ever at the dome I saw Kile pitch, got a poster of him, and an Astros flashlight! Still remember the huge light board

@drewdavis71: I was 10 in ’81 when the Astros were in Philly. Screaming for Nolan Ryan to come over. He did, chatted and signed… Hooked since

@HideTheMuddler: My dad took me and my baseball team to a game in the ‘Dome for my 8th birthday. Someone hit a home run and they shot the cannon!

@lilhamdi612: best moment ever crying/jumping for joy with random folks for Biggio’s 3000. The Lee walk off GS was epic as well

@shawnhenners: When I was about 12, rode up elevator w dad and Milo. Dad said “that’s Larry Dierker!” I corrected him, humiliated.

@charleschr: Met Larry Andersen at ST in 1990 – great guy! Then he got traded for some kid 3rd baseman – Bag-something. I was so mad! #Astros

@skgator68:sept 25 1986-Mike Scott pitches a no hitter 2 clinch Playoffs on my 40th birthday- made me Late to b-day Dinner at mominlaws

@brianharter: At the Dome in 88, I was 7 or 8, J.D. picks me to demonstrate a pitching delivery during a clinic. Later he sees me waiting for an autograph, says “There’s my buddy!” and signs a ball for me.

monkeymel222: 86 stros I was 4 takin pics w Cruz, Scott, Doran, Puhl, Dickey Thon and others outside the Dome! #astrosmemories

RodairRat: My Dad and I watching games together and now doing the same with my sons

RobertInCypress: the standing O Bagwell got on his last Opening Day is my favorite Astros memory.

meganrowdy: My earliest memory is being about 2 and listening to games on the radio with my dad. “Holy Toledo what a play!”

Mahoney: the Mike Scott domination of the Mets in playoffs in ’86, the Nolan Ryan no hitters. #Astros

Intern Interview #15

Today’s subject is JP Wells, Human Resources Intern. He’s also a fellow Longhorn, so give him a warm welcome!

Name: JP Wells

School: University of Texas at Austin

Major: Economics

Hometown: The Woodlands, TX

Rachel Frey: Tell me one thing you have learned.
JP Wells : There is so much that goes on behind the scenes. As a fan, you only see what is on the field, but there is so much more than just that. I’ve also grown in my professional manner exponentially.

RF: What has been your favorite experience so far?
JPW: There has been a lot: getting to know a different side of sports, I have also been able to experience the hiring process. My resume is going to be so much better now.

RF: Do you have advice for anyone looking to intern with a sports organization?
JPW: You have to have the right attitude, aptitude and drive. That means a positive attitude, and to be willing to do whatever it takes to succeed at the task at hand. Aptitude means you need to come in with the right knowledge, and want to learn. Drive means to have a ‘high motor.’  Help everyone with a smile on your face.

RF: Tell me your favorite sports memory.
JPW: During my senior year of high school, I was named the Most Valuable Player of my district, and played in the Houston Area Basketball Coaches Association All-Star Game. But, the 2005 University of Texas National Championship game was pretty good too!

That’s Entertainment

Despite the cheesy reference in the title of this blog to my favorite musical, entertainment is part of the reason fans come to the ballpark. Besides the action on the field, the Ballpark Entertainment Department strives to make a fan’s experience at Minute Maid Park memorable. From El Grande video display, to the ribbon boards, and even the train, the BPE staff manages many parts of the action around the stadium.

Senior Director of Creative Services, Kirby Kander leads the department with Director of Ballpark Entertainment, Brock Jessel. With their staff, they create Astros commercials on TV, the video clips and the animations seen on El Grande and the ribbon boards, along with many other duties.

Information Display and Entertainment Association (IDEA) has recognized much of the work done by the Astros’ BPE Department through the Golden Matrix Awards. For the past five years, they have received the Best Overall Video Display in Baseball award, in addition to many other awards. A complete list can be found here.

After spending regular business hours creating the videos, they bring in game day staff members to help run the show each night. The staff includes a technical director (whose job is much like the one I met in this post), cameramen, people to bring up information on several different computers, a statistician, as well as many others. Browse through the pictures below for a peek into some of the jobs.

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Intern Interview #14

Risk Management Intern Jonathan Ley sat down last week for his intern interview. As always, leave comments and questions below the post!

Name: Jonathan Ley

School: Tulane University Law School, Undergraduate at Cornell University

Hometown: Ithaca, NY

Rachel Frey: Tell me one thing you have learned.
Jonathan Ley: I learned how much preparation goes into the fans having a safe and enjoyable experience. Every seat in the ballpark is checked -every piece of the ballpark is inspected to make sure it is working properly.

RF: What has been your favorite experience so far?

JL: Working at the games and interacting with the fans has been my favorite experience. I can see what all of the hard work is for. If you did all of the work behind the scenes and never went to a game, you could forget what it’s for.

RF: Do you have advice for anyone looking to intern with a sports organization?
JL: Take advantage of the time you have. Each day is busy and the time goes by so fast, so you need to stay busy to accomplish everying you want to accomplish.

RF: Tell me your favorite sports memory.
MM: Watching Garrett Hartley kick the game winning field goal in the 2010 NFC Championship. (Jonathan was the legal intern for the New Orleans Saints at the time).

Intern Interview #13

 Matt and Brad are the Guest Services interns with the Houston Astros.

Name: Matt Fox, Brad Wilson

School: Lewis University, Texas A&M University

Major: Sports Management, Masters in Sports Management

Hometown: Chicago, IL, Fort Worth, TX

Rachel Frey: Tell me one thing you have learned.

Matt Fox: Communication is a big part of the organization. The meetings we have to hold and communicating with the staff is the only way we can succeed.

Brad Wilson: I have learned to prioritize better, especially between my daily duties, and the little things that inevitably pop up.

RF: What has been your favorite experience so far?

MF: The people- The staff are a bunch of characters. But they aren’t just a lot of fun, they are also happy to help you.

BW: When my parents came to a game. they enjoyed themselves, and I helped take care of them.

RF: Do you have advice for anyone looking to intern with a sports organization?

MF: Be flexible with the hours you work and the tasks you do. In this industry, you may need to shift gears to take care of an important task quickly.

 BW: Grow thick skin. Complaining will get you no where. Show up and get your work done.

RF: Tell me your favorite sports memory.

MF: When the White Sox won the 2005 World Series on a Bobby Jenks ground ball.

KM: Kentucky football beat number 1 ranked LSU in 2007. I had knee surgery, so I could not go to the game, but as soon as we won, I hobbled down there on my crutches and they let me ‘rush’ the field with my friends.

Intern Interview #12

Marketing Intern Kellen Begnoche is the subject of today’s Intern Interview. Welcome the Kansas native to Texas!

Name: Kellen Begnoche

School: Wichita State University, MSA

                   Kansas State University, Bachelor’s degree in Marketing

Hometown:  Moundridge, Kansas

RF: Tell me one thing you have learned.

KB: There are a lot of moving parts that go into a game, and fans do not see many of these pieces. In just one game you need people to sell tickets, promote the games, write advertisements so people know what’s happening at the game, and if there is a bobblehead or other promotional item at a game, there needs to be people to find sponsors and such, as well as many more duties.

RF: What has been your favorite experience so far?

KB: The experience of getting to know and hang out with the other interns has been my favorite experience so far. We are going through this process together and building friendships that will carry on after out time here.

RF: Do you have advice for anyone looking to intern with a sports organization?

KB: It’s all about the attitude. Sports isn’t about the money or the hours ̶ It is a very rewarding job in different ways. You get to do cool things, and meet cool people. A good attitude is especially needed in baseball, because it is a very long season.

RF: Tell me your favorite sports memory.

KB: When I was ten years old, I went to my first Kansas City Chiefs game, and they were playing our division rivals, the Broncos. I remember it was super cold and the Chiefs’ Kicker Pete Stoyanovich kicked the game winning field goal (54 yards), and everyone in the stadium chanted, “Elway Sucks.”

Intern Interview #11

Today’s Intern Interview is with Mattie Marion. This is her second summer with the Astros, and she is working with the Sponsorship department. She also helped make my Saucy Sprint experience possible.

Name: Mattie Marion
School: Baylor University
Major: Sports, Sponsorship & Sales, and Marketing
Hometown: Bellaire, TX

RF: Tell me one thing you have learned.
MM: One thing I have learned is how to stay organized and keep track of the smallest details. This is important in sponsorship fulfillment, because the littlest things can build a strong relationship with sponsors.

RF: What has been your favorite experience so far?
MM: This is my second summer to intern with the Astros, and my favorite thing so far has been shooting the 2011 Pet Calendar. I was able to be there for the shooting where I played with several puppies, I worked on the final layout, and after I came back for this summer, I saw the final printed product in the Team Store

RF: Do you have advice for anyone looking to intern with a sports organization?
MM: Interning is a must. It is a great experience and is the best way to get your foot in the door in sports. It puts you miles ahead of others applying for jobs.

RF: Tell me your favorite sports memory.
MM: My most recent favorite memory is when Baylor beat Texas last year in football!

Working Your Network

Last week I sat down with Astros Vice President of Marketing & Ticket Sales Jennifer Germer and Director of Marketing Clint Pasche to talk about the paths they have taken in their careers. Germer and Pasche not only have put in long hours of diligent work into their careers, but they both also say that networking has played a hand in their success. 

Germer double majored in college and graduated with her Sports Studies and Health & Wellness degrees. She planned to go into rehabilitation as her career, but after a summer of caring for home-bound patients, she reconsidered her career path. She decided to focus on her sports studies training. She moved to San Diego, and found a sports marketing and event management position with Elite Racing.

“You got in at the ground level [at Elite Racing] and there were so few people that on your events, you had to do everything- the logistics, marketing, advertising, sponsorship,” Germer said. “So, I got a wide exposure to everything. Then after a while I figured out that I really liked the marketing side of it.

A former coworker at Elite Racing let Germer know about a marketing position with Disney (who then owned the Anaheim Ducks and the Angels), to promote the Ducks and the Angels. After she worked there for a few years, the Angels were sold to new ownership, and she chose to stay with them.  

While with the Angels, she met Jay Lucas, who is now the Senior Vice President of Communications for the Astros. Shortly after he moved to the Astros organization, he recruited her for an open marketing position with the Astros.

“Every step of the way has been from somebody I have worked with, and kept in touch with, and networked with over the years,” Germer said. 

Pasche began his career as a tours intern with the Astros. He spent two summers in this position, and during his second, he started to branch out and work with other departments.

“I did more networking in my second year, and got to know what media relations does, what marketing does, what ballpark entertainment does, ticket services does,” Pasche said. “I guess it was shadowing, but more importantly, it was getting to know these people.”

He returned to A&M, and even worked part-time during summers in the ballpark entertainment department during game days. This allowed people to get used to seeing him around.

He went on to get his masters in sports administration at A&M, and worked as a graduate assistant in the marketing department.

“After networking and getting on the good side of people (in the Astros), they actually called me to interview,” Pashe said. “This is a great example of how to use your internship as a tool to network and show your work ethic. It really can pay off.”

Networking isn’t just reaching out before and during your internship. Interns should also maintain open lines of communication after they leave a position to so people remember you when they hear about opportunities that would fit you.

“Always stay in touch with your direct supervisor,” Germer said. “Every once in a while, send a note that says ‘Hey, just thought about you today, and wanted to see how you were doing,” or something like that.”

Intern Interview #10

Today’s subject is the Urban Youth Academy intern, Ryan Young. He not only coaches at the academy, but helps research new areas for the academy to target, plans events, and designs some of the promotional materials. Here is a post I wrote not too long ago about the Urban Youth Academy.

Name: Ryan Young

School: University of Loyola-Chicago

Major: Business

Hometown: New Berlin, WI

Rachel Frey: Tell me one thing you have learned.

Ryan Young: I have learned how to work with, and manage, 75 different personalities through my work with the young players. I have learned to gear them to have a good attitude and be a team member.

RF: What has been your favorite experience so far?

RY: Over the last two weeks, I’ve put together five proposals for events, and researched market development ideas for the Urban Youth Academy, such as a Career Development opportunity for the players in high school, and an Urban Youth Academy Career Conference we would like to start in the near future.

RF: Do you have advice for anyone looking to intern with a sports organization?

RY: Be prepared for personal and professional challenges. If you are an intern, you need to realize your tasks are set by your supervisors. However, if you finish your tasks, they will be open to letting you branch out and explore new tasks and opportunities, which are the exact moments you’ll need to take advantage of.

RF: Tell me your favorite sports memory.

RY: High School Men’s Volleyball is huge where I am from. In my conference, we had 10 teams- eight of which were on the Top Ten list for the state. We went three years without winning a conference game, but then we finally won a game in conference—a sweep! Our coach went running around the gym with a broom like a mad man. It was like winning a championship to us.