Allow Myself to Introduce… Myself (The Rookie Challenge)

The final question in my final interview with the Hickory Crawdads was, “What are you going to be this Halloween?” For better or worse, honesty is policy. Still, I hesitated before nervously delivering a stuttered response. “As of now, I – uh … I plan on – uh… dressing as a – uh….. Hooters waitress.” Great, guess I can cross the Crawdads off my list. I should have said Big Bird instead.

One week later, Crawdads Director of Promotions Brett Koch gave me call.

“We’d like to offer you the position as group sales assistant,” he said. “I know you’ll probably want a couple of days to think abo….”

“Yes!” I cut him off. “I’ll take it! I’m there! Thank you!” Two days into the new decade, I left my home in Waltham, Mass. (Andrew Buchbinder, Crawdads Director of Media Relations, chastises me whenever I say from I’m from Boston. Waltham is all of 12 miles west of Beantown).

I pulled into Hickory on January 4, a day later than I was scheduled to arrive due to car trouble (that story in itself may be another blog). I am now in my third week with the Crawdads, yet this friendly, welcoming, dedicated (and sometimes delirious) staff has made it feel like home.

With that, in the words of Austin Powers, “allow myself to introduce… myself.” I was born and raised in Waltham, Massachusetts, a diverse city with a population that exceeds 60,000. I played high school soccer (goalie) and basketball (bench). Oddly enough, I’ve never played baseball. But there’s something undeniable about baseball’s culture, history, and statistics that drove my ambition toward working for a Major League team.

I graduated from Springfield College in May 2009 where I double-majored in sports journalism and English. During my four-year tenure at the small, private institution, I completed internships with a newspaper, magazine and TV station. I served as the student newspaper’s Editor-in-Chief, and my intramural basketball team reached the final-four in consecutive years. I’d delve into other extracurricular activities during the college years, but that probably wouldn’t lead to a good first impression.

Anxious for a way into the baseball industry, I accepted an unpaid media relations internship with the New Hampshire Fisher Cats after graduating SC. I didn’t have a dime to spare, I would be lucky to get six hours of sleep in one night, I was living with my aunt/ friends/ any roof that had a couch under it, and I loved every minute of that summer. All the while I knew that eventually the experience would lead to something positive – and it did.

Thus I find myself in Hickory, North Carolina, where office breakfasts consist of fried chicken wrapped in biscuits. Hickory, North Carolina, where 10th St Dr NW is indeed a road. Hickory, North Carolina, where red traffic lights turn a four-mile drive into a 15-minute excursion. Hickory, North Carolina, home of the Crawdads, and home to yours truly.

Gregor enters his first season as group sales assistant with the Crawdads and second year in minor league baseball, after spending the 2009 campaign with the New Hampshire Fisher Cats of the Eastern League (AA).  The Waltham, Massachussetts, native is a 2009 graduate of Springfield (Mass.) College.

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