By Mark Smith
It came out of nowhere. and even as I type this, I keep wondering if it's for real.
While sitting at home on a normal Thursday night, I received a phone call from the 404 area code, and thinking it was a telemarketer, I googled the phone number to see if anything popped up. And there it was -- the Atlanta Braves. My phone had stopped ringing by then, and when I looked again, there was a voicemail. The Braves were asking to interview me for an internship within their baseball operations department. After a couple phone interviews and some email questions to research, I was offered the position.
The ride to this point has been an interesting one. I don’t believe in fate but rather that luck plays a role in all of our lives that I don’t think we fully appreciate or understand. After all is said and done, we look at all the coincidences and believe or want to believe they happened for a reason. but I think it's mostly randomness, which may be why I took to sabermetrics the way I did. I have some great friends, but few of them knew much or cared at all about baseball, which sent me on a search through the internet for a community to interact with on the subject. That led me to Rob Neyer, Keith Law, FanGraphs, The Hardball Times, and numerous other sites and communities that convinced me that RBIs didn’t mean what I had always thought they meant. That led me to Craig Calcaterra and Shysterball and several other commenters-turned-bloggers-turned-my-employers in Jason Rosenberg, The Common Man, and Bill among others. After a while, I heard about Baseball Prospectus, and a little after I began subscribing, they opened up internship positions. I applied and became an editing and research intern, which became a significant way in which I stood out when I sent in my resume to the Braves. All the while, I kept writing in one manner or another, but I also realized that real life was bearing down as my college and educational career was ending. Armed with a Masters in Education, I went looking for a teaching job, but with the economy the way it was, I couldn’t find an opening. It was my first real-world moment, but it sent me into another in which I considered alternatives. Wanting to work in baseball and seeing it as a possible opportunity, I sent out a few resumes. The Braves were the only team to respond at all, though it was only to say that there were no openings but they’d hold onto the resume for six months. Five months later, I guess they had an opening. Fate, luck, or whatever you want to call it, I’m headed to Atlanta within a few weeks.
It’s an exciting opportunity and one that I hope can lead me further into the business. I wouldn’t say that I am the best analyst/researcher out there, and there are so many things I have yet to learn and things I expect to soon learn. But before I head down to Atlanta to begin my life’s biggest adventure, I wanted to thank all of you. I want to thank the people who gave me opportunities and encouraged me - Craig, Jason, TCM, Bill, Joe Lucia, and John Perrotto and Baseball Prospectus. I want to thank you the commenters and readers. While I wonder about the role of fate and luck, I know I wouldn’t have gotten this without all the help and encouragement I’ve received over the years from all the people I’ve internet-met (I realize I’ve left out my wonderful family and real-life friends, but those kind of go without saying), and all of you have been awesome to interact with. I’ll wrap this up by saying if you make it down to Atlanta, I’d love to hang out and offer you whatever a lowly intern can. My only regret is that I won’t be here to check Chip’s relentless propaganda and rhetoric against pie.