Chris Haydock of the Dodgers was rather typical of those. Well, not so typical when he decided that would be the way he would like to go for he was only 12, a time when most kids are still dreaming of becoming the next Roger Clemens. But Chris was growing up in Palm Springs, Cal, at a time when the then California Angels trained there. He read a story about the general manager Mike Port and thought, "That would be a great job."
From then on he pursued that quest. He played baseball in high school but he knew he didn't have the skills to make it on the field. He did however get with his school guidance counselor and learned that there were some 50 colleges in the country offering sports management courses. Since his family was originally from the Midwest and traveled back to Chicago every year, he took a sidetrip to the University of Indiana. He'd wanted to attend a big school and this was it for him.
He majored in Sports Management, minored in Business. Such programs offer internships which are usually non-paying but which offer invaluable on-the-job training. After his junior year, his was with the Palm Springs team, an independent club which then had former Dodger G.M. Al Campanis as general manager.
When he graduated from Indiana in 1996, there were no fulltime jobs in sports to be had. That's not unusual for there are always far more applicants that openings. So, he took an internship with the Dodgers in marketing, then took another with the Vero Beach team. His pay-well, there wasn't any but the experience was great.
Still, no fulltime spots opened so he took another non-paying internship; this one with the Arizona Diamondbacks in the minor league department where he worked under Mel Didier, a former Dodger scout. After a few months, the Dodgers called. They did have an opening in the minor league area and, yes, they would pay.
Chris has been there ever since. In his first years, he worked in the minor league area by day, then served as assistant video coordinator at night. Here he would pull up tapes for pitchers like Kevin Brown and Andy Ashby for the Dodgers customarily have the next day's starter study the opposition in this manner. He also would have batters drop by to peruse tapes of their performances, players like Adrian Beltre and Alex Cora.
"They were always very helpful and I really got an education in the game from the best players. It was fascinating."
The long days that he put in are typical, too. "If you love it, you never think about that," he maintains. Tommy Lasorda always says, "If you love what you're doing, you'll never work a day in your life." a philosophy that Chris believes in.
He's 31 now and has risen to the role of administrative assistant in the player development department. As such, he has a myriad of duties dealing with the budget, travel, equipment, rosters, maintaining relations with the commissioner's office and working closely with the affiliated clubs. He credits Luchy Guerra with guiding him along the way.
He's in his 11th season in baseball, ninth with the Dodgers. Indiana, his alma mater, has him give a guest lecture each year to those who would like to travel the same road. His advice, "Get your foot in the door anyway you can. Once you're there, do everything they ask you to do ,then find more things you can help with as well."
In many ways, making it in the front office is more difficult that making it on the field. Chris says, "You have to have a passion for it." He's been there, done that.
Hardly the easy way but anything worth it never is. So, dream big, kids. And work even more to make it a reality.