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Friday, November 30, 2007

MLB.com Job Openings - Stat Stringers

MLB.com, the Official Site of Major League Baseball, is seeking stats
stringers in these markets for the 2008 season:

Chicago
Cincinnati
Detroit
Miami
Houston
Kansas City
Milwaukee
Seattle
Toronto
Washington, DC

Stats stringers are responsible for digitally scoring games from one of the
30 MLB ballparks, which provides the data used in the live content
applications on MLB.com, including Gameday, Mosaic and MLB.TV, and by our
business partners. This is a perfect part-time job for a diligent,
responsible employee who happens to be a big baseball fan.

Responsibilities include:

* Arrive at the ballpark no later than one hour prior to the scheduled
start time;
* Double-check and verify all pre-game information: rosters, umpires,
weather conditions, etc.;
* During the game, enter the results of every pitch and game event (plays,
substitutions, etc.) using our proprietary software and coding language;
* Work closely with our game-night support staff (via AOL Instant
Messenger) to ensure proper scoring of all game events and accuracy of data;
* After the game, enter all post-game information: winning and losing
pitcher, saves, holds, time and attendance
* Validate all stats in software box score against the official box score
provided by the Official Scorer, and print out a final box score and game
text for the club PR staff

Qualifications include:

* Previous experience (including pressbox exposure) with a professional or
college sports team, preferably baseball;
* Exceptional (and demonstrable) knowledge of baseball and how to score a
baseball game;
* Strong computer proficiency (Windows OS and Windows-based software) and
the ability to quickly learn and operate new software;
* Regular availability to attend games in-person as required by the
schedule: weekdays, nights and weekends;
* A “team player” with a great attitude, including but not limited to a
willingness to make and learn from mistakes and the ability to work closely
and cooperatively (and take direction from) our game-night staff;
* Professionalism. It’s a fun job and we pay people to watch baseball, but
it’s also an important job and we want people who will take the
responsibility seriously.

(New stringers undergo an 8-10 week correspondence training program, and
co-score several practice games in the ballpark with a returning stringer,
before scoring any games solo in the ballpark.)

Those interested in applying should send a resume and cover later,
addressing the above-listed qualifications, to stats@website.mlb.com.

Only applicants that reply via e-mail will be considered ? no phone calls
please. Due to the volume of applications, we will only reply to those who
are under consideration for the position.

Several contributors to the site have done this and enjoyed it immensely, so if anyone’s looking for some extra dough and likes the idea of watching games live for free and has the time, it’s definitely something worth looking into.

Dan Szymborski Posted: November 30, 2007 at 04:42 AM | 18 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: general

Reader Comments and Retorts

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Statements posted here are those of our readers and do not represent the BaseballThinkFactory. Names are provided by the poster and are not verified. We ask that posters follow our submission policy. Please report any inappropriate comments.

   1. 8ball Posted: November 30, 2007 at 05:33 AM (#2628826)
Your link is wrong -- it links to this post.
   2. Dan Szymborski Posted: November 30, 2007 at 05:33 AM (#2628828)
There is no link - the entirety is contained within the blockquote.
   3. MSI Posted: November 30, 2007 at 06:42 AM (#2628874)
To anyone who has done this, do you find it distracts you from actually enjoying the game, or are is it still enjoyable (especially if you like to work with stats so much?)
   4. Best Regards, President of Comfort, Esq. Posted: November 30, 2007 at 07:30 AM (#2628903)
I was able to enjoy the game a lot more than I expected to, but you do find that you're not focused on the same things as normal. In the 30-3 game, I didn't realize that anyone had a shot at 3 HRs until they came up and it was mentioned. You're focused on the specific plays, making sure you get everything right.

This is a very, very fun job, but it's also VERY, VERY stressful. You really need to try to be absolutely perfect every time out, as hard as that is. There are a lot of distractions, the game moves faster than you think, and there's a lot of code to remember (though if you've worked with Retrosheet's PBP codes, you'll be familiar with MLBAM's -- they're almost precisecly the same).

I would say don't go out for this job unless you're 100% certain you can do this. It's fun, but it's not easy at all. But if you can do it, you're going to see a lot of fun baseball, and meet a lot of people you'll have wanted to meet. And if you want a long-term career in baseball, you'll make valuable connections, particularly at parks where you're right next to PR.

Oh, and make sure you have a healthy bladder -- you're going to need to go the entire game without going to the bathroom.
   5. Tschingsch Posted: November 30, 2007 at 07:35 AM (#2628906)
Those interested in applying should send a resume and cover later


Apparently they are targeting procrastinators... too bad the Philly job is apparently taken or I'd be a perfect fit.
   6. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: November 30, 2007 at 09:18 AM (#2628934)
Personally, I'm targeting one of the MLB.com reporter jobs. These would be cool too, though.
   7. Phil Coorey is a T-Shirt Salesman Posted: November 30, 2007 at 10:56 AM (#2628950)
Oh, and make sure you have a healthy bladder -- you're going to need to go the entire game without going to the bathroom.


that rules me out
   8. Lujack Posted: November 30, 2007 at 01:25 PM (#2628959)
So when the game update suddenly freezes for 10 minutes, then resets to three innings previous, is that because of MLB's server or the stat stringer?
   9. Slinger Francisco Barrios (Dr. Memory) Posted: November 30, 2007 at 02:16 PM (#2628970)
   10. thedad01 Posted: November 30, 2007 at 02:18 PM (#2628971)
So when the game update suddenly freezes for 10 minutes, then resets to three innings previous, is that because of MLB's server or the stat stringer?

Both and neither.

Over the last seven seasons the software has become so much more stable but there are still times when it freezes. It could be the server is running slowly tonight for reasons only the Good Lord knows. It could be a coding error on the part of the stringer which sometimes messes up the local game file to such an extent that the game has to be taken over remotely once the problem cannot be worked out. It could be the Official Scorer has changed a play and in the course of back-editing the code the program experiences a problem. It could be the Official Scorer wants to review tape before he makes a decision on the just completed play which may still be in the previous inning. There have been times, even now, when a play occurs that has never happened before and we have to "make it fit" which can cause problems. Sometimes we have to ask for help from the tech support person as to how they want a code handled and they may be busy with an even greater problem at another site. Sometimes you have to explain a code entry when they are not sure they follow what you have entered. Any of which can cause delay or error.

I performed in musical theater for several years when younger. In many ways this is very similar. The curtain goes up and you are "on". Everything is live and you have to perform. I second what Larry said in #4. The job (and it very much is a job) is fun but the pressure can be intense. You are not watching the game - you are reporting it. However, unlike the writers, you cannot let your attention wander. I rarely note what a hitter has done in previous at bats as I am totally focused on this at bat. You record the data on paper and in the computer - a perpetual double entry. The paper is your lifeline in the event of any tech problems. The greatest mistake you can make on the job is to not have a paper copy.

In 2006 I helped break a new stringer in at my local site. He was amazed and, initially, flummoxed at the speed at which things happen and the speed at which you must respond. As Larry mentioned, there is a lot of code to remember and, after working with it a while, you can anticipate code and construe what would be correct to enter for a convoluted play. You have to gain a rhythm of your own to match what is happening on the field. Doing it well means looking like the proverbial duck who looks serene on the surface of the water while paddling furiously underneath.

Don't be put off by the challenges. Just be aware of them.
   11. John Northey Posted: November 30, 2007 at 04:54 PM (#2629118)
15 years ago I'd have jumped at it, today I just don't have time. Sigh. I even have the experience they want (did very complex stats for my university team in the early 90's then used a typewriter for reports as my computer was a C=64, then wrote articles for the local papers on the team). Price of growing up I guess.
   12. zonk Posted: November 30, 2007 at 04:59 PM (#2629128)
Stupid question...

Do they employ mulitple stringers per team or just one? I'd love to do something like this, but 81 games would be awfully hard to pull off... both because of my day job, and also because I'd still like to take in the occasional lazy game with a beer in hand.

Perhaps those questions alone would make me a bad candidate.

Larry/thedad01 - how many games do handle each season?
   13. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: November 30, 2007 at 05:05 PM (#2629134)
that rules me out
Well, I can think of some other things...
   14. Bull Pain Posted: November 30, 2007 at 05:51 PM (#2629208)
I've been doing this in Triple-A for the last 2 years. It's a blast. If you are good and fast with computers, have a complete understanding of baseball scoring and can stay focused on the game at all times (which should be the majority of people on this site) then you can handle this gig.

I think in the MLB cities, MLBAM tries to hire multiple stringers to make sure they always have the game covered. So you won't be forced to work every game, but you might not get as many games as you would like either. I've been working solo for my team and always have to train one of their interns as an emergency backup.

I've read that the MLB gigs pay pretty decently. It's not so hot down in the bush leagues, where the teams are responsible for your pay.

The training is lengthy and pretty intense. You get to score fake games with dozens of runs, errors and bizarre plays.
   15. thedad01 Posted: November 30, 2007 at 05:56 PM (#2629222)
MLB has at least two stringers per team. I did 42 games this past season at the park and ten backing up rookie stringers online. They will make a schedule for you but they like it better if you can create your own. Their primary concern is dependability with accuracy a close second.

My partner and I have always covered for one another so there has never been a problem. If anything, since I am otherwise retired, I do tend to stay in town during a home stand "just in case".

I did not mention the backup part before. However, there is an added layer of support for rookies to ease the transition. Even after the training period, there is an experienced stringer watching the game online while the rookie works on site. In the situation I spoke of in 2006, I was also at the park with my new partner for the first 5-10 games he did helping him with the transition.

MLB wants it to work and the people are very nice to work with - providing - you approach the task responsibly.
   16. thedad01 Posted: November 30, 2007 at 06:00 PM (#2629227)
To second Bull Pain on the practice games. We do three in the off season. We just received our first. It is due later this month. I cannot say for the new hires, however, for the experienced stringers, the first two practice games generally are all of the bizarre plays that occurred in this past season. Everyone knows how to code 43/G to record an out. It's the single that turns into a double play with one runner scoring, one out advancing and the batter out for passing a trailing base runner on the play that we refresh ourselves on during the winter.
   17. Comic Strip Person Posted: November 30, 2007 at 08:56 PM (#2629703)
So, those of you who say it pays well, are you willing to give the rest of us an idea of what that means? I mean, I'd pretty much be interested in doing it for gas money and parking, but I'm curious...
   18. Mike Emeigh Posted: November 30, 2007 at 09:23 PM (#2629778)
I've been working solo for my team and always have to train one of their interns as an emergency backup.


So now I know where you hide at the DBAP... :)

-- MWE

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