The Ripken Experience Sign

Having a Ball

Ryan Long’s summer internship with The Ripken Baseball Experience was a home run.

Ryan Long is a senior from Centre Hall, Pennsylvania, majoring in management and marketing with a minor in entrepreneurship. He interned over the summer at The Ripken Baseball Experience in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

I chose to do my internship at Ripkin because it focused not only on baseball but baseball operations, “behind the scenes,” and how a tournament such as this one is carried out. I have been an avid baseball fan my entire life. I played until 10th grade and will proudly cheer on the New York Yankees at any moment.

Another reason I decided to choose Ripkin was that it was out of the state. Being almost 10 hours away from home and everyone I have ever known was a way for me to grow and learn.

I had four different main job titles during my internship: operation assistant, grounds crew member, social media content creator, and tournament official.

As an operation assistant, I was responsible for making sure tournament play across the entire facility ran smoothly and on schedule. A big part of that was ushering umpires to and from games, which involved timing and coordination among several people. The Ripken Experience extends beyond just the players to include umpires. It is the policy that the umpires do not walk to the back gate after their game is over, but rather get picked up in a cart and driven. At times it got crazy with multiple games finishing and others about to start. There were a lot of shuffling umpires, but our goal was to make sure we had the right people in the right place at the right time.

In this role, I also completed office work, which included the creation of the following week’s work schedule and making welcome packages for teams to pick up upon arrival every Sunday morning.

This year especially, in the face of COVID, there were numerous measures in place to ensure safety not only for the employees but for every single person who stepped foot into the facility. Facemasks were required, and there was a screening process at the gates.

Being on grounds crew was a major responsibility because of the pandemic. As part of the crew, I was getting down and dirty. I worked side by side with full-time grounds crew members to sanitize bathrooms, press boxes, doors, and other high-touch areas around the facility, including the dugouts before, between, and after games. Our goal was to keep everything as clean and as disinfected as possible.

We didn’t have one case of COVID all summer, which is a testament to the supervisors and crew members for all of our hard work.

Working as a social media content creator, I had control of this major organization’s social media account. I had to have an unbiased approach when posting anything about teams or players to ensure nothing could be perceived as favoritism throughout the tournament. My supervisors were not exactly social media gurus, which meant that I had much more creative freedom. It was my responsibility to show them how to work the features on the accounts and show them new trends and what is popular. I enjoyed this job because social media is such a large part of our society today, and it is a great way to attract new customers and keep old ones coming back.

As a tournament official, I announced games and kept the scoring book. This was a very hands-on job. I was interacting with the crowd of parents, the players, and coaches during pregame warmups and even during the game. This position is hands-down the most important of The Ripken Experience, in my opinion, because of the direct relationship this person creates with everyone taking part in the tournament. Here, I was really the face of The Ripken Experience and what participants perceived that experience to be.

This internship gave a huge boost to my college experience. I gained so much incite. I feel that every student should be required to complete an internship. They give you that hands-on, real-world experience in your field of study or interest. They can also help you decide where you want to focus your time and what job you may want upon graduation. They give you a chance to use everything you were taught in class; then you can apply what you learned during your experience back in classes or in public and professional settings.

This summer, I did a ton of public speaking and interacting verbally with spectators, teams, and co-workers, which helped me improve those types of skills. I also learned how to handle myself and act in different situations, to know the environment, and what actions and words are appropriate. So much of what I learned during my internship just naturally comes out of me now without me even noticing at the moment.

Overall, my summer in Myrtle Beach was amazing. On top of everything I learned, I got to explore and live in a state that I had never been to before. I have so many amazing memories, from riding around on the golf carts with other interns to singing “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” all by myself in front of all the spectators and making life-long friends. I am extremely grateful for the opportunity I was given to be an intern with The Ripken Experience.

To learn more about internships, contact Tom Shaffer, academic internship coordinator, at [email protected] or 814-949-5789.