Every March for the past 14 years, Baseballtown employees have flocked to FirstEnergy Stadium early on a Saturday morning. Why do we all show up bleary-eyed and with coffee in hand? For our yearly orientation.
I like to look at it as our Spring Training.
Everyone always says, “you’ve worked there for so long, why do you still have to go to orientation?” The way I see it, all pro athletes already know how to play their sports, but they still put in workouts before each season. There is one major difference between their spring training and ours. The Phillies and their affiliates, along with all of professional baseball, will spend their days working out and playing games in warm locations such as Florida or Arizona. This will not be the case for Fightins’ Orientation Day.
Unfortunately for those of us left behind in Baseballtown, our orientation will most likely take place under cloudy skies with a temperature of a balmy 40 degrees. If we’re lucky, it will only rain slightly and the wind will be nothing more than a strong breeze.
And yes, most of orientation is exactly the same every year. The front office is introduced, interns are introduced, promotions are discussed, and then you break into groups by department. In the department meetings you learn about any changes to your area and receive your uniform shirts and visors for the season. It’s pretty straightforward and tends to not last very long.
It is also a time to learn about any changes that may have taken place around the park over the winter, such as new foods added to the menu, new seating arrangements, or even new faces in the front office. While not every game day employee is able to make it to orientation, the majority come out every year and it truly shows you how many people it takes to keep the ballpark running as smoothly as it does each night.
Oh, and if you feel like sticking around for lunch, you can have your first hot dog and french fries of the season at no cost!
Confessional: If your job had an orientation day every year, what is one thing that you think or hope would be discussed? What would make orientation at your job interesting?
For me, the best part of orientation is getting to see all the friends who we only see during baseball season. It’s almost like going to a big family reunion, only with a family that you don’t talk to at all for 5 or 6 months out of the year. It’s great to catch up and hear what everyone has been up to during the off-season. The past two years have been a bit different as many of the game staff have spent the Christmas season working together at the ballpark, but it is still nice to get together again and talk about what may happen during the upcoming season.
Each year we laugh and joke about people who claimed they wouldn’t be back again, but each year they show up at orientation, ready for another season. It’s also fun to make jokes about what changes we hoped would take place, but in the back of our minds we knew they were too good to be true.
While I do not hold out any hope that this year orientation day will dawn bright, sunny, and 75 degrees, I am looking forward to spending the morning at the ballpark. Just as Spring Training marks the beginning of the season for the players and staff, orientation marks the beginning of another season in Baseballtown.
**It is clear that this post is going up well after Orientation 2018, so I will give a brief update. Thanks to Mother Nature and her decision to send us more snow three days before orientation, it was held inside the Fightins’ batting tunnel which offered a very up close and personal setting for the entire staff meeting. Luckily for us, when we broke into departments, concessions got to stay where we were and did not have brave the cold until we went back to our cars. Despite the different setting, the day went smoothly as it always does and we are now one home stand into the 2018 season!**