Hey fans! My name is Nicole Sorce, and I am one of the lucky 20 people to be interning for the Trenton Thunder this summer. I am a rising junior year at Ithaca College in upstate New York, where I am working towards a degree in Sport Management. My career in sports began in high school when I was the statistician for Pope John XXIII Regional High School’s junior-varsity baseball and varsity ice hockey teams. When I got to college, I immediately contacted the ice hockey team to see if I could work for them, and luckily for me, their team manager position was open. I’ve been managing the team since October 2009 and am now fully in charge of all hockey operations. I one day hope to become a general manager or have a job in sport media.
The New York Yankees have defined my life since I was in diapers. I was born in Sparta, NJ, to a diehard-Yankees-fan father and a clueless-when-it-comes-to-baseball mother. From a young age, I knew I wanted to work in sports. Baseball is my first love (and hockey is my second, in case you were curious). I interned for a Can-Am League team called the Sussex Skyhawks last summer, and that experience proved to me that I wanted to gain more experience in professional baseball. Finding an affiliated team to intern for was my main goal, so I applied at the Trenton Thunder and a few other less notable teams.
I remember the first time I came to Waterfront Park. It was in mid-January of this year, and I was on my winter break from school. The Thunder had contacted me for an interview, and I was thrilled. I showed up to the park at 10:30 for an 11:00 am interview. I was plenty early, so I sat in my car for a few minutes and looked at the beautiful stadium standing before me. It was way nicer than I expected for a minor league stadium, but then I remembered where I was – the Double-A Affiliate of the New York Yankees. My good friend Mike Quick of MSG always says, “To be early is to be on time. To be on time is to be late. To be late is to be fired.” His words of wisdom popped into my head at about 10:40, so I headed inside.
When I opened the green door to the main office, I got chills. The first thing I noticed was the Yankees border they had on the walls. Coincidentally, I have the same exact border in my bedroom at home. I got this in the bag, I thought to myself as I started to walk down the long hallway. I couldn’t believe what a great first impression their front lobby had on me. It screamed professionalism and “the Yankee way” just by how I was greeted by the ever-so-polite woman at the front desk. I told her I was there for an interview, so she pushed a few buttons on her phone and told me to take a seat. The black leather couch, two elevators, and TV in the waiting room was definitely a step-up from what I experienced last year, so I knew that if I nailed this interview, I would definitely be getting a worthwhile experience. As I waited for my potential boss, I observed Susanna answer the phones. The way she spoke so clearly and professionally actually intimidated me.
The interview went very well, and from the moment I got back in my car, I had a gut feeling Waterfront Park was going to become my second home for the summer. And a few weeks later, as I was walking across the cold, snowy Ithaca College campus, my phone rang. The area code was 609, not Ithaca’s 607 or my native 973, so I knew it was South Jersey. I answered, and it was Steve from the Trenton Thunder offering an intern position for the 2011 season. I was ecstatic to say the least, and I gave him my definite “yes” less than 24 hours later.
I came back to Trenton in March for intern orientation, and that’s when I knew I made the right decision to accept the Thunder’s internship offer. From the very first meeting with everyone who worked there in attendance, I knew I just became a new member of a very motivated group known as “Team Thunder”. The enthusiasm that each employee showed for the team they worked for made me immediately follow in the “full-timer’s” footsteps. That night when I got home, I added #TeamThunder to my Twitter bio.
I have now been interning for the Thunder for almost a month, and I never knew I could enjoy a job so much! It’s been a very cool and interesting experience so far to say the least. Most fans don’t realize how much actually goes into every game that they attend. There are various departments within the Thunder’s front office that maintains every aspect of every event that happens at the park, including ticketing, promotions, stadium operations, merchandise, and baseball operations, just to name a few. As in intern, I get to spend 2 weeks in each department during my office hours (two days a week, 9:30-5) over the course of the summer.
During my first two weeks, I got to work with Joe-Pa and Murph in the merchandise department. I had the chance to see how a team’s store works, and I’ve even picked up a few pointers on what sells well and what doesn’t. Interns usually get assigned busy work during the course of the day, but it is all an essential part of the Thunder’s operation as a whole. While in merchandise, I got to take inventory of the team’s home and away jerseys, help restock the team store, put away deliveries, sell souvenirs in the crowd during games, and help organize the “Launch-a-Ball” promotion (which is a highly complex process!!).
By my third week, the park did wind up becoming my second home, and I was learning very quickly the right and wrong way to do things. I also came to realize that Derby will not get up off the office floor during one of his naps, even if a cart full of baseballs is about to run him over on the way to the clubhouses… but if you ask politely, he might budge.
I’m currently working in the Promotions/Broadcasting department. I already have a very strong background in sport media – I attended the Bruce Beck and Ian Eagle Sports Broadcasting Camp for 3 years (2008-2010) and got to learn directly from professionals in the industry on what it’s really like to cover a sports team. Last summer, my duties were always in the press box. I love sport media and am looking forward to spending more time in this department. So far I got to run with the Storm Chasers for a game – what a workout! Meg, Krysten, and their team of promotions assistants organize each on-field activity between innings and are constantly coming up with ways to improve the game experience for the fans.
Stay tuned as I explore more of the front office departments throughout the summer. I usher for games most of the time. Find me and say hello! You can also follow me on Twitter – @nicole_sorce.