Major League Baseball Summit Offers Jobs, Tributes

Major League Baseball fair attracted candidates and Black history luminaries, as our sports contributor reports

Major League Baseball and the New York Yankees hosted the 2014 Diversity Employment and Business Opportunity Career and Trade Fair on April 14 and 15 at the Hammerstein Ballroom and the New Yorker Hotel in Manhattan.

The two-day summit provided job seekers and entrepreneurs with opportunities to connect directly with decision-makers for employment and business opportunities at Major and Minor League Clubs and other MLB media entities.

“I’m really interested in media,” said Brooklyn native Jose Dessources. “I’m into photography. I’d love to participate in photography in any way by being creative.”

In an uncertain job and economic climate, the two-day summit provided attendees with access to human resource and procurement executives from all 30 MLB Clubs, MLB Network, MLB Advanced Media, Minor League Baseball Clubs and MLB’s Central Office in New York City. “It’s a perfect opportunity for people to network and learn from other professionals that have been here for a number of years,” said Washington Nationals Manager of Human Resources Alan Gromest.

“There’s professionals here that have been with clubs anywhere from a year all the way up to thirty plus years. So you’ll want to learn from everyone that you talk to.”

Attendees of the summit traveled near and far to participated in the trade fair. While Howard University students were prepping for final exams, Bison sophomore Rikki Froahmader received a scholarship through MLB Network to attend the summit, She took the bus from Washington, D.C. to New York City and is excited to gain potential leads on employment: “I’m here to take advantage of the opportunities that Major League Baseball has provided in getting an internship or a job, she said.

Buck Bedia, a senior from Texas Southern University flew with two classmates and a professor to the Big Apple to attend the two-day venue. “Networking is the main thing he said. “I was here last year and networking was the big thing that I took out of it and also a job.” A Radio and Television major at Texas Southern, Bedia’s dream job is to make sports movies. “I have a few ideas and having an experience with baseball would enhance the storytelling of making a movie.”

Joshua Boyd, a recent graduate of Fisher College played baseball there and sees the synergy of meshing his love for the game into a career path. “I’d love the opportunity to work for Major League Baseball,” said the Hempstead, NY native.

The fair hosted a lot of candidates. Milwaukee Brewers VP of Human Resources Sally Andrist was one of many people that did interviews with potential candidates on the spot. “It’s been very successful,” she said. “We’ve had a lot of good candidates come through from a lot of different fields and it’s good to get a chance to connect with them face to face.”

At the end of the summit, baseball commissioner Bud Selig addressed participants. Reverend Jesse Jackson was sat in the audience and praised the commissioner for his efforts in honoring Robinson. “To honor Jackie in this way honors the best in America,” Jackson told Selig. “In many ways, had Jackie not succeeded, you could not have Atlanta Falcons or the Braves or the Carolina Panthers. You could not have these southern teams if Jackie had failed.” Jackie Robinson’s daughter, Sharon also presented Selig with a large plaque.

In conjunction with the trade fair, the Yankees hosted Jackie Robinson Day at Yankee Stadium in their interleague game against the Chicago Cubs. Originally scheduled for Tuesday, the game was rained out and played on Wednesday April 16 at Yankee Stadium. As part of Jackie Robinson Day ceremonies, the Yankees honored Nelson Mandela with a dedication of a plaque in Yankee Stadium’s Monument Park. The plaque celebrates the life of the former South African leader and commemorated his Yankee Stadium visit and address on June 21, 1990. Former New York City Mayor David Dinkins, Nelson Mandela’s grandson Zondwa Mandela, MSNBC’s Reverend Al Sharpton, Political activists Harry Belafonte and Reverend Jackson as well as Jackie Robinson’s widow Rachel Robinson and his daughter Sharon Robinson were all in attendance for the historic day.

Check out video from the event here.

(Video Credit: Eric ‘Ziq’ Austin)

(Photo Credit: Angie Vasquez)

About Brandon Robinson

Brandon Robinson Headshot

Brandon Robinson is an entertainment and sports journalist. He’s appeared in The Source, MaxPreps, VIBE, EBONY Online, SLAM, MadameNoire, Regal Radio, Queens Times Ledger and Brooklyn Courier. He grew up inspired by late journalist Ed Bradley. He currently co-hosts Jocks, Geeks and Gamers, a lifestyle show with Brian Mazique and Randy Bishop that appears on Blog Talk Radio and YouTube. When Brandon is not chasing the next big story, he’s visiting grade schools and middle schools in both New Jersey and New York expressing the importance of following their dreams by effective planning and hard work. You can follow him on Twitter at @ScoopB and learn more about him here.