Learning how to run the show
CMU interns get on-the-job training
With stylish sunglasses and a megawatt smile, Derek Lynch looks good in purple.
The Colorado Mesa University graduate is spending the summer interning with the Grand Junction Rockies. His duties are in media relations, and he plans to use the summer to get valuable experience to see if this is the right career path for him.
“With all the experience I get here, it will give me an idea if I want to pursue a career in the baseball field,” he said.
The 22-year-old from Brush, who graduated from CMU in May, is one of eight interns employed by the Grand Junction Rockies this summer.
The internship program has been extremely beneficial for the Rockies and the sports management program at CMU.
“When we came to Grand Junction, the Rockies ownership said we have a great relationship with Colorado Mesa, and we’d like to see that relationship grow,” said Tim Ray, the Grand Junction Rockies’ general manager.
Ray contacted Dick Bell, the sports management program coordinator at CMU, and the internship program was launched.
For three months, the interns are an intricate cog in the day-to-day operations of the Grand Junction Rockies, and on game day, it’s “Game on.”
“We have three full-time people,” Ray said. “Then on game day that grows to about 80.”
The interns are the glue that holds things together, and they are involved in virtually every aspect of the operation that doesn’t involve a bat and a glove. From ticketing to merchandise to concessions to media relations and more, the interns are a busy bunch, buzzing around Suplizio Field.
“What’s great about this is, not only are they getting first-hand experience, but we’re paying them, and they are getting experience in every facet of baseball (operations),” Ray said.
Bell said it has been a perfect partnership.
“The fact that they are allowing CMU students to fill these spots is really huge for the university, the sports management students and our program,” he said. “It became apparent that with their association with the Rockies organization and their internship experience, they would have a distinct advantage in landing jobs in professional sports, particularly baseball.”
Bell and Ray said a number of former interns have moved on to get full-time jobs in professional sports fields.
“I was really excited because I’d heard of some great opportunities from this internship,” Lynch said.
Chazlyn Monger, a 2011 Palisade High School graduate, said the competition for the eight internships was steep. Now she’s ready to soak up the experience.
“I just switched to sports management, so this is something to get my feet wet, and I can understand what all is going on behind the scenes,” she said.
The 21-year-old CMU senior also already had her eyes opened.
“I’ve been to a ton of baseball games, and I had no idea all this goes into it,” she said.
Bell said interns who are set to graduate or have already graduated often attend Major League Baseball’s winter meetings with résumé in hand to see if they can snare a job in professional baseball.
Ray said former interns have moved on to get jobs with baseball organizations at places such as Great Falls, Montana; St. Louis; Jackson, Tennessee and Denver.
One former intern is now an assistant general manager with another Pioneer League team.
“We’re starting to develop a good reputation,” Ray said. “Other organizations know they will get a good intern from us.”
Ray said he keeps in touch with most of the former interns, which date back to when the club was in Casper, Wyoming.
Bell said the Rockies’ organization has been fabulous.
“They have taken an interest in each student and mentored them throughout their internship and afterwards,” he said.