Before this semester, Kenny Yansen wasn’t a baseball fan.
But after working for the Lakeland Flying Tigers, a minor league team owned by the Detroit Tigers, the senior sports recreation management major said he’s “100 percent a baseball fan.”
The graduating sports and recreation management major relocated to Lakeland, Florida this past semester to intern for the team, and he said he’ll keep working there until September.
On weekdays, Yansen serves as a corporate sales intern and sells sponsorship deals to local-business prospects who want to advertise their brand in the team’s stadium.
But on game days, he takes on a different duty.
“I’m the audio person,” Yansen said of his responsibility on game day. “I’m in control of the music.”
He plays all the stadium’s sound effects, including the music the players walk onto the field to, as well as batting practice music, and controls the volume levels of the microphones.
Last April, Yansen attended an MLB Diversity Business Summit in New York, held by Major League Baseball. The event “brings in all teams, affilates, MLB.com and the MLB Network,” Yansen said.
He said he went because, despite the fact he wasn’t a baseball fan, he “wasn’t going to limit himself to only the sports he watched on television.”
“Baseball has one of the best business operations of the Big Four,” Yansen said. “I was not going to pass up on that amazing opportunity because I didn’t watch it on TV.”
Yansen said the Tigers emailed him details on the application process, and by December, he learned he was accepted.
Because Yansen grew up in Easton, Pennsylvania, which is just an hour away from Temple, he said he wasn’t too prepared for his “next big move.”
“It was hard because I got the internship and two weeks later I had to move to Florida,” Yansen said.
He’d only been to Florida for vacation and hadn’t lived that far from home before.
“It was tough in the beginning coming to a new place and not knowing anyone,” he said.
Yansen said he’d never thought about switching his major at Temple.
“I knew that I was going to get a good education and a network to work with because of all of the great professors I heard about and the resources that would be available to me,” Yansen said.
During his undergraduate years at Temple, Yansen co-founded the Sport and Governance Association, also known as Temple SAGA. SAGA is “dedicated to students that want to go into the law and governance in the sports industry,” Yansen said.
He said the organization has planned trips to the National Football League Players Association headquarters in Washington and brought in Leon Rose, a highly recognized sports agent, as a guest speaker at an event.
Yansen said he believes the student organization will still run strong even though all of the co-founders graduate this May.
“We’ll be friends forever,” Yansen said, “no matter how cliche that sounds.”
After his internship in Lakeland, Yansen hopes to find a job in New York.
Yansen said he’ll still root for the Tigers after September.
“I’m honestly a baseball fan now,” Yansen said. “We’ll see what happens come midsummer.”
Jane Babian can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.