An Out of the Park Opportunity
June 26, 2014
OMAHA, Neb. - Softball season might have wrapped up a month ago, but sophomore pitcher Hannah Harris has still been busy on another college diamond with her marketing internship with Louisville Slugger.
The Santa Barbara, Calif., product and All-MW Second-Team selection wrapped up her first work assignment this past weekend at the NCAA Baseball College World Series in Omaha.
Here's a Q&A with her recapping the experience and looking ahead to other summer events.
Q: Sounds like you are having a productive summer and learning a lot at your internship - give us the background of how you got it and what you've done so far.
HH: "It started on June 11 and goes through August 6. I'm mainly working at major softball and baseball tournaments, and they fly me out and take care of my hotel and food at each event. We're basically working at the Louisville Slugger booth at the tourney each day, and are promoting the bat line and selling products to fans. I just got back last weekend from the NCAA Baseball College World Series in Omaha, Neb., and next go to Denver. That will be a big high school softball tournament that a lot of college coaches will be at, including our's."
Q: How fun was it to work at the College World Series, and what did you specifically do?
HH: "At the start, we set up a semi-permanent 20x30-foot tent that also had TV's, kiosks and merchandise with T-shirts, hats and whatever. We were among 50 or so other vendor tents and food stands, and it was in the Omaha Baseball Village on the first base side, just outside the stadium."
HH: "Our main focus was to promote the 2015 bat line. On Father's Day, we did a special bat hunt promotion on social media - #bathunt - and had people follow us on Instagram and Twitter. It had clues about where we had hid 15 plates around the city of Omaha and also at the stadium. If you found one you got a new bat and also a customized bat. I had one of the plates next to one of the statues, and kids were running up to me and another intern. During the trip, I roomed with another player from Ball State - Sammi Cowger - and we were called the `Louisville Ladies'. It was a blast."
Q: Talk about your daily routine and any highlights.
HH: "It was a crazy experience with non-stop action the first few days. We'd be there by 9 a.m. each day and would be there past the last game's end which was after 11 p.m. We got to meet a lot of great people, including the head of marketing and events coordinator at Louisville Slugger. We also got to see Roger Clemens when we were working out at the hotel. We also got to watch four different games, so that was awesome. We were there for opening day and I got to see Irvine vs. Texas, and TCU vs. Virginia, among others."
Q: How did you land the internship?
HH: "Our Louisville Slugger representative sent an email asking if anybody wanted to apply from our team, and Coach Ford forwarded it to me. After I applied, I had two phone interviews, and later they told me that I got it. It was a little intimidating to do a phone interview with 4-5 people you couldn't see, so I tried to be relaxed and politely make light of the situation."
Q: What did they quiz you about in the interview?
HH: "They asked me what I knew about the brand and the history of the company. Mostly they asked about me and my softball history and what I'm studying in school."
Q: Now that you're sitting in the stands watching baseball, versus pitching in the circle, how different is the pace between the two games?
HH: "Completely different. College baseball is a lot slower, and the strategies are different. I enjoyed being in the stands, but it also made me want to play since there were so many fans there. I got the chills each time a new pitcher came out and wondered what it would be like it if was me."
Q: What tournaments will you be at next, and will your duties be similar?
HH: "The next tournament Denver goes through early July. It will be similar, but we have to will set up and take down our tent each day (while the tent at Omaha stayed up each day). Then I go to Vegas in mid-July for an NSA tournament, then the Premier Fast Pitch Huntington Beach tournament at the end of July through early August."
Q: Talk about what you've learned about the products you're working with.
HH: "I've learned mostly about the baseball bats and BBCOR standard which is the regulation for college baseball. It's mostly about physics, and how fast the ball can come off the bat. Also, I've learned what bats are better for different types of hitter and the different materials - composite, alloy and hybrid - and how they differ."
Q: With all this knowledge, are you itching to get your first college at-bat?
HH: "Yeah (laughing), I'm hoping Coach will put me in since I know so much more about bats."
Q: What are some of the fun parts about being an intern at Louisville Slugger?
HH: "It's been enlightening to meet all the other interns and other people from across the country. I've learned about different parts of the U.S. and different lifestyles, and also see first-hand what it's like to work in the field. Overall, there are eight guy and eight girl interns, and we rotate and are assigned to different tournaments. A lot of them are athletes, too. Among the ones I met at Omaha were Luke Johnson who plays football at Dayton, Adam Unes who plays baseball at Illinois-Springfield, and Cade Randolph who plays baseball at Blufton University."
Q: What are you hoping to get out of the internship?
HH: "I knew it would be fun, but didn't know what to expect beforehand. Now after meeting all the full-time staff, I would really enjoy working for them in the future. I really like the marketing aspect, and want to pursue it with them or another company."
Q: Talk about your major at Fresno State and how it has prepared you for the internship.
HH: "I'm a mass communications/journalism major with a focus on advertising. This is definitely a great starting point. Fresno State doesn't have a specific sports marketing major, but my classes have still prepared me for what I'm doing. In my first two weeks, various advertising and copyright things have already come up that we've studied and talked about in class."