As told to Norm Coleman
WSR How did you get your start in baseball?
JANNELL I was in college and majoring in accounting and as I was going into my 3rd year, I thought I will kill myself by the time I am 40 if I have to crunch numbers for life and sit in an office. I went to the career services and took a test to tell me what I should do. My test said I should try to get into sports. I was told about a college wood bat summer league that was having it’s inaugural season that summer and I should get an internship there. I did and I loved it so the next 2 years of college I interned for the Kinston Indians, which was a minor league club about 30 minutes from school.
WSR Explain college wood bat summer league?
JB: Summer wood bat league is college baseball players who play about fifty games during the summer. They play with a wood bat instead of the aluminum bat that is used in college. It prepares them in case they are drafted into the MiLB. I was an intern there and it was actually the first summer for the league I was working in. I sold tickets, hung banners, worked concessions, tickets and sold merchandise.
WSR Where did you go after this?
JB I then went on to work for the Delmarva Shorebirds and now I have come full circle and am back in Kinston. I was told that you either love it or hate it and I truly love it. I got out of baseball from 2005-2007 and lived in Greece but as soon as I was back to the States I had to get a job back in baseball. I had a longing for it. I am going into my 10th season in baseball this year and I hope to be in it for another 30 or 40 years.
WSR Who are the Delmarva Shorebirds? What did you do?
JB The Delmarva Shorebirds are the low A affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles and they are located in Salisbury, MD. I was the GM for the Merchandise and Concessions side of the team. I ran all the concession stands and catering and ordered all merchandise. I did EVERYTHING there for that aspect of it. I did all paperwork, hiring and firing and training of employees, ordering food, merchandise and all picnics and catering. We had a club level with a restaurant type venue and we did everything, including wedding receptions.
WSR Now that you are with the Indians, what does your job consist of? What do you do?
JB We have a very small staff for a MiLB team (3 full time) so I do everything from advertising sales, ticket sales, group sales, hiring seasonal employees, ordering merchandise, concessions, you name it, I do it. During the games though, the majority of my time is spent in the ticket booth making sure all the groups and picnics and birthday parties get their tickets and everyone is happy. And of course, PULL TARP when it rains. I also cater to all the players and coaches needs (probably more wants than needs). We pick them up from airports, drive them to doctors appointments, pick up their families at the airport—The Kinston Indians go above and beyond most MiLB teams as far as what we do for our team. We are known for that.
WSR What is the most difficult part of your job?
JB I wouldn’t say it’s the most difficult but it’s the part I like the least—selling advertising. I hate the stress of trying to get all the billboards and program ads sold. It’s always down to the wire.
WSR What is your most memorable moment with the Kinston Indians?
JB There are so many but I think picking up CC Sabathia from the airport in 1999 (I was interning then) and bringing him to Kinston. We all knew he was the next big thing so it was exciting to be the one to pick him up. What I remember most about that ride was that he wanted to keep switching my radio station and it irritated me that he didn’t even ask me if he could. Ha!
WSR Did you go to college?
JB Yes, I went to college at East Carolina University in Greenville, NC
WSR Did you play any sport in school? Do you participate in any sports now?
JB I was a cheerleader — I am not coordinated enough for sports — in fact I am scared to death to have something thrown at me. I automatically put my hands in front of my face. Once the season is over I do a lot of reading. I don’t have time for it during the season so I catch up over the off season. And sleep. I value my sleep!
WSR What do you do for relaxation after work?
JB I like to lay by the pool (or ocean as much as possible) with a good book.
WSR What is your favorite baseball movie?
JB My favorite baseball movie is of course “Eight Men Out” since it is baseball coupled with my favorite actor, John Cusack. “Bull Durham” with Kevin Costner is a close second since it is an NC baseball movie and I have been to all of the places where it was filmed so it makes it special. The part in the movie where they have a “Rain Out” was actually filmed at the site of my first baseball job—the Rocky Mount Rockfish stadium that was a local high school stadium in Rocky Mount, NC.
WSR What woman in baseball do you most admire?
JB As far as MiLB woman go I admire Katie Dannemiller. She has worked her way up and she started in Cleveland with Mark Shapiro. She is VERY dedicated and takes no BS from anyone. She has actually put aside her personal life to succeed in her career. She is now the Vice President for the Greensboro Grasshoppers in Greensboro, No. Carolina.
WSR If you could ask her one question, what would it be?
JB Fortunately I do know her, but I have never asked her if she has regretted putting aside her personal life to pursue her career goals. I know that she loves her job but at the same time now that she is in her 40s I am sure she is wondering “What if” about certain aspects of life. We all do.
WSR What woman in America do you most admire?
JB I am a huge animal lover and I admire Betty White for being an activist for animals and using her fame to promote that awareness. I am all for the great good of animals. I honestly like animals more than most people. That might sound terrible but it is true.
WSR Do you have a favorite quote?
JB My favorite baseball quote is "Baseball is, I think, the greatest game in the world." - Babe Ruth But my favorite quote is “Live life to the fullest, have no regrets”
WSR What advice would you give a young women seeking a career in baseball?
JB That it is difficult for you to get hired and be taken seriously in a predominately male field. You will definitely need to do internships (I did 3 total through college). It definitely helps in letting them see you are serious. You need to dress appropriately and DO NOT DATE THE PLAYERS!!! Women get a bad rep because of the ones who come into it in hopes of finding a player to date or marry. You need to keep it professional at all times.
Norm Coleman is an actor, writer and professional photographer. He resides in
Half Moon Bay, CA.
Assistant General Manager
The picture isn’t very good but it will do. Let me know if you need something different.
Assistant General Manager
– but the sailors praise the new boats