Swat Spotlight: Sam Menzin '12 Reflects on Season Working With American League Champion Detroit Tigers
Sam Menzin, Swarthmore Class of 2012, spent all four of his college years on the Garnet baseball team. Upon graduation, he took his involvement with the game to another level, taking a position as an intern in the front office of the Detroit Tigers Major League Baseball team. The Tigers captured the 2012 American League Championship and reached the World Series, ultimately falling to the San Francisco Giants. Prior to the World Series, Sam gave his perspective on working for a World Series team to swarthmoreathletics.com.
Q. What exactly is your position with the Tigers?
A. I'm an intern in Baseball Operations, working for the General Manager, the Assistant GM, the Baseball Legal Counsel, and the Director of Baseball Operations. I'm involved in both the preparation for salary arbitration as well as any analytical research in terms of player evaluation. I also assist in other projects within Major League operations.
Q. How has your experience been in this past year? What's the best/coolest/most envy-inspiring part of your job?
A. I began the internship only 10 days after graduation and my experience has been nothing short of incredible. Aside from my daily responsibilities, which in my mind are highlights, some of the most exciting parts of the job have come recently as the team goes deeper into the playoffs. I held the gigantic American flag in the outfield during the National Anthem before game 3 of the ALCS which is an experience I'll never forget. The sound the crowd makes is completely different on the field. I was also on the field with the rest of the front office after we clinched the American League Pennant over the Yankees. However, I think my favorite aspect of the job is my constant interaction with members of the front office staff, both within baseball ops and throughout the other departments.
Q. How do all the things you learned in your four years at Swarthmore translate into your new career?
A. I'd say the amount of time I spent in McCabe is the thing that I find most rewarding. The work ethic that the school literally forces on you is something that I look back on fondly, even if I hated it at the time. There is also a peculiar camaraderie among friends and classmates that studying at Swarthmore creates, and that's a good thing. In terms of how Swat baseball affected me, I think the message I took away was never to give up, even as cliche as that sounds. My first few years were filled with more failures and injuries than I'd like to remember. But being part of a team, especially the group we had, made my senior year the most fulfilling time of my collegiate career.
Q. We know that you've been a Yankees fan for most of your life - what was it like working for the Tigers while they were playing the Yankees in the ALCS this year?
A. To be honest, I didn't give it a second thought that we were playing the Yankees. It is a consequence of working in sports--you lose your fandom. But I don't think that means you lose your love of the game or your passion for it. It's just different. Especially in baseball, where the demand for jobs/internships greatly outpaces the supply, if you wait for the job you wanted when you were 12 years old, you'll be waiting for a long time. I did get a lot of calls and texts from people back home and at Swat trash talking me about the situation--but I'll take going to the World Series.
Q. What advice would you have for liberal arts undergrads who are interested in working in the sports world?
A. My advice to anyone interested in sports would be to find whatever aspect they are most passionate about, whether that's marketing, media relations, labor relations, etc., and try to be as qualified you can be for that role. You need to separate yourself from the thousands of other students who are just as qualified. I'm an intern, so I'm not the best person to give advice, but people tend to enjoy talking about their experiences so I'd suggest contacting someone in the position you'd like to pursue and just listen to what they have to say. You don't even need to ask for a job, just learn from what they say.