Moravian Students Explore MLB Fan Cave, Sports Industry
At the Invitation of John Quinones ’92, Students Visit Baseball Fans’ Nirvana
Located on the corner of 4th Street and Broadway, in the heart of New York City’s Greenwich Village, resides the 21st century baseball fan’s equivalent of nirvana. Appropriately named the Major League Baseball (MLB) Fan Cave, the venue is a first-of-its-kind space mixing America’s pastime with music, popular culture, media, interactive technology and art. At any one week, the Fan Cave might host Detroit ace Justin Verlander and Pittsburgh all-star Andrew McCutchen or hip hop icon Nas.
On Oct. 4, the Fan Cave also proved to be a great classroom setting for more than 40 Moravian College students and faculty interested in sports and sports management. Mostly comprised of students in the College’s “Mindfulness and Flow in Sport Organizations” course, offered by Katie P. Desiderio, assistant professor of management, the contingent took in a three-hour visit of the Fan Cave, but discussed a lot more than just balls and strikes. (For photographs from the MLB Fan Cave trip, click here.)
The trip was orchestrated by John Quinones ’92, vice president of recruitment for MLB, who offered insight from his two-plus decades working in human resources and the challenges and opportunities he sees awaiting the students, many of whom will enter the workforce in the next two years. He is uniquely qualified to talk on the topic because he oversees the recruitment of hundreds of MLB interns and staff members each year.
One of the more interesting points Quinones highlighted was that during his own months-long interview process with Major League Baseball one question wasn’t asked: If he was a baseball fan or not.
“My biggest takeaway from the trip would have to be the fact that to pursue a career in sports you don't necessarily need to know anything about sports,” said Casey Scanlan ’14, who visited the Fan Cave. “You need to know more about how the business operation works and how to present yourself professionally in an interview. Also, you need to know how to use your past work experiences as leverage to back up how you would be able to better the company that you are interviewing for.”
In addition to Quinones’ talk, Adam Duff, the MLB Fan Cave administrator, and Tyler Hissey, of Hill Holliday, who oversees MLB’s content strategy and social media, delved into what the Fan Cave’s objectives are, namely promoting the sport to young audiences through social media platforms such as videos, photos and blogs. This allows fans to gain background access to some of baseball’s biggest stars, along with celebrities, musical acts and other guests. Duff also expanded on how he turned his own internship at the Fan Cave into a full-time position.
ABOVE: April Whitzman, a 'cave dweller' at the MLB Fan Cave, led students on a tour of the baseball-centric facility. Whitzman is attempting to watch every game of the MLB season this year.
ABOVE: John Quinones ’92, vice president of recruitment for MLB, speaks with Moravian students interested in pursuing careers in sports and sports management.
Additionally, the class was introduced to diehard Blue Jays fan April Whitzman, one of three “cave dwellers,” who is attempting to watch every game of the MLB season, while chronicling her experiences online through videos, blogs and social media for the Fan Cave. Clad in a Toronto cap, windbreaker and T-shirt, Whitzman was one of a handful of tour guides who dished on the secrets of the Fan Cave, from the ping pong challenges to the venue’s front-lobby art exhibit.
Desiderio explained that Whitzman’s personality and enthusiasm really added to the visit. “People really want to see reality in aspects of life,” she says. “So these cave dwellers, in many senses, are a reality show, tweeting and posting videos about a sport they love. They are eating, breathing and sleeping baseball, and they really display the passion that lies within sports.”
While he couldn’t envision himself as a cave dweller, Eric Schultz ’14 sees the advantage of the MLB Fan Cave for a sport that is often criticized as being behind the times. “What I found most interesting was that the players come for free, and they come to better the organization and the league,” he said. “The players seem like they are open to do or try anything, whatever it’s a hilarious video skit or something else. And they seem to have a good time doing it.”
For Desiderio, the trip fits directly into the nature of her class, which is experiential in nature, with a student-centered approach. “Visiting the Fan Cave seamlessly fit in a lot of different ways, showing students another aspect of sports,” she said. “The Fan Cave is ground-breaking and innovative and our visit was reciprocally rich in enhancing the learning of students while concurrently generating an awareness of baseball beyond the ballpark. I think the natural response is this is a cool idea, but there is a flip side that we are able to integrate into our learning that there are risks in taking this kind of approach.”
In addition to the trip’s insight on sports and sports marketing, Scanlan appreciated hearing from Quinones, who has risen up the ranks to help lead one of the most visible brands in the world. “John shows that a Moravian education can lead you to the right place in your career, as long as you are able to use the tools you have gained at Moravian,” he said.
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