I remember when I went to my first Winter Meetings in Nashville. I went to the job fair looking for work and was surrounded by 500 other people in the same boat as me. There were only four radio jobs available and unfortunately I did not receive any of them. I did however make a contact, a good contact, and that eventually led me to a job.
Part of the reason I am at the Winter Meetings now is to interview people who might be a good fit to come work for the Smokies, and it is a great experience meeting all of these new people and getting to know about their skills and experiences. It is a different experience being on the other side of the interview table. One thing I try to do during the interviews is let the interviewees know I understand how hard it can be to get an opportunity, and that I have sat in the exact same seat they were in today.
I try to give each candidate enough time so that when they stand up and walk away from the table they can feel good about the interview. Even if they don’t get a job it is important to me that they learn something that can help them in the future.
Today the Cubs had their annual affiliate dinner. This is always a fun event, but this year it was particularly exciting because there have been a lot of changes in the organization. Brandon Hyde was promoted from Director of Player Development to the Cubs Bench Coach. To fill Hyde’s position the Cubs promoted their Director of Amateur Scouting Jaron Madison. I would like to congratulate both Hyde and Madison on their promotions, and more importantly on their success. I look forward to working with Madison as the season draws closer.
Possibly the biggest change in the Cubs organization was the off-season naming of Rick Renteria as the new manager of the big league Cubs. I got a chance to talk to Renteria today and he is really excited for this opportunity. The new manager brings a lot of positive energy to the position and I think the players will really like having him around. It’s always good to play for someone who is a great guy and knows how to lead constructively and in a positive fashion. Renteria was previously a bench coach for the San Diego Padres and over the off-season he interviewed with both the Tigers and the Mariners in addition to the Cubs. He said that he is very excited to be the new manager in Chicago.
One of my favorite parts about the winter meetings is that so many people go to them and you never know who you are going to run in to. Today I was happy to see two former Smokies colleagues; Justin Shackil and Roger Hoover. Shackil is covering the meetings for a major MLB outlet, and Hoover is here with the Jacksonville Suns. I’d like to thank them and everyone who has worked with me at the Smokies Radio Network and helped over the years to make us one of the best broadcasts in minor league baseball.
As a director one of the things that makes you the proudest is when you see guys you have worked with, and worked for you, work really hard and succeed. It is always a great feeling to see someone succeed and know that you gave them an opportunity to do so.