Entering Free Agency
It was former Commissioner of Baseball A. Bartlett Giamatti who once wrote: “[Baseball] breaks your heart. It is designed to break your heart. The game begins in the spring, when everything else begins again, and it blossoms in the summer, filling the afternoons and evenings, and then as soon as the chill rains come, it stops and leaves you to face the fall all alone. You count on it, rely on it to buffer the passage of time, to keep the memory of sunshine and high skies alive, and then just when the days are all twilight, when you need it most, it stops.”
For the past 18 years, I couldn’t help but think about that quote every year after our season ended, whether that was finishing with a 68-94 record (2003), or one game shy of going to the World Series (2018).
I thought about it after the team was swept by the Dodgers in the Wild Card Series in early October and I thought about it again last Thursday when I learned my role as Director of New Media, along with my coordinator's, were being eliminated at the Brewers in light of departmental restructuring.
This year marked my 18th season with the team and was definitely the most challenging one to date. And, while I’d be lying if I didn’t say a part of me does empathize with Mr. Giamatti, that doesn’t mean I am not forever grateful for everything this game and team has given me over the last 18 seasons.
IT BEGAN. I started by writing letters with marketing suggestions to the team back when I was still in high school. Then VP of Marketing Laurel Prieb was kind enough to indulge me and, to my surprise, wrote back. Inspired by this and a book called Veeck As in Wreck, I pursued my dream of working in sports.
A few years later, I was fortunate enough to get an internship with the team and the rest is history. I’ve run in the Sausage Race, slid down Bernie Brewer’s slide, toured the roof, been showered with champagne and weathered some not-so-fun storms along the way, too. IT BLOSSOMED. My time with the Brewers began before social media even existed, affording me the opportunity to create the team's social media presence and, along with my faithful assistant Aaron Oberley (who is also now a free agent, check out his profile!), maintain its voice, grow its following substantially and engage with legions of passionate fans over the past several years.
I like to say I got my foot in the door and never let them take it out.
LEFT TO FACE THE FALL (BUT NOT ALONE). “When one door closes, another door opens.”
“This could be a blessing in disguise.”
“Everything happens for a reason.”
Those are just a few of the clichés that friends and family have offered me over the past few days. Even Semisonic seemed to have a message for me when I turned on my 90s Spotify station for a long run to clear my head after learning the news: “Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end."
The outpouring of support even among a small circle has meant the world to me and I’m not ripping on my friends and family (or Semisonic) by any means. Clichés and platitudes exist precisely for those moments when you want to express an emotion but can’t quite find your own words to do so.
NOTHING LASTS FOREVER.
So that's why I turn back to the words of Mr. Giamatti, but fast forward to the end of the piece, the part that most don’t know about:
“Of course, there are those who learn after the first few times....And there are others who were born with the wisdom to know that nothing lasts. These are the truly tough among us, the ones who can live without illusion, or without even the hope of illusion.”
He goes on to say that he himself is not one of those people; however, if there’s one thing I know about myself, it’s that I am. Not to the point of cynicism, or lacking hope, but I am tough nonetheless. More than anything, 2020 has taught me to not be surprised by anything anymore and that it’s okay to deviate from a plan. You know, “If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you,” “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” and all that. Again, these expressions have become clichés for a reason—because other people have been there before and persevered.
So, no broken hearts and no tears either because, to pull another great quote from the baseball archives, “There’s no crying in baseball.”
NO CRYING IN BASEBALL. Tom Hanks famously said this line in A League of Their Own and aptly reminded us of it again back in March when he and his wife Rita Wilson were diagnosed with COVID-19. Thus, I enter free agency with only happy memories for the place I spent more time in than my own home; the people I spent more time with than my family (so much so that many became just as close); the place where I met and married Brian Moyer (who is also looking for a job by the way-check out his profile!); and the place where I have had the pleasure to learn and grow exponentially over the last two decades.
THE NEXT CHAPTER. If you’re reading this, it means you are someone I have connected with during my career and I thank you for being part of my journey.
If you are a friend wondering if there is anything you can do to help, please consider leaving me a LinkedIn recommendation if I’ve impacted your life in a positive way. You can also feel free to drop me a line if you have any ideas or want to connect. In the meantime, I’m open to freelance marketing, PR, social media and writing opportunities.
I’m not sure where this next chapter will take me, but I’m excited because I know it’s a Choose Your Own Adventure novel.
To be continued and, as always: Go Brewers.