Justin Horowitz is a 22-year-old baseball operations intern with the Boston Red Sox. This year is his second season with the team. Justin is from San Diego, California, and graduated from the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University in 2013.
GSABR: How did you get your first few opportunities in sports? How did your educational and athletic background help you get there?
Justin: From the time I was a little kid, I’ve wanted to work in professional sports. After my freshman year at Georgetown, I went back to California and interned at The Upper Deck Company, a sports trading card and memorabilia company, which was a great way to get some initial exposure to the sports business environment. After my junior year, I landed my first internship with the Boston Red Sox. I truly believe my educational and athletic experiences at Georgetown were vital in achieving all of these opportunities. Not only does Georgetown’s reputation speak for itself, but the development in my analytical and time-management skills has been priceless. My years of playing experience were also important in earning the chance to interview with a professional baseball team.
GSABR: In your first stint with the Red Sox, what were your primary responsibilities and what were your most important learning experiences?
Justin: Last season, I was the advance scouting intern for the Red Sox. I was responsible for generating all kinds of scouting reports, charts, and video that was given to the players and coaching staff to help them prepare for their upcoming opponents. By exposing myself to so much information, I began building a mental encyclopedia of hundreds of MLB players. It’s a huge asset, since I will need a strong base of player knowledge if I hope to contribute to important team personnel decisions in the future.
This season, I’m working in a bunch of different areas, but especially our growing Player Personnel department. We are responsible for scouting and analyzing professional international players that hail from all over the world. We tend to focus on emerging market areas for talent, such as Cuba, Japan, Korea, and Taiwan.
GSABR: Working in baseball operations, how important is it to be a “baseball guy” at the core rather than a “stats guy” or even a “business guy?” How does one develop that baseball-specific skill set?
Justin: I’m fortunate enough to be entering baseball at its most open-minded time in its history. No matter your background, if you have the passion, strong work ethic, persistence, and a little bit of luck, you can find a place in this game. From that starting point, you have the opportunity to develop a baseball-specific skill set by immersing yourself in the abundance of information available to a baseball operations employee.
GSABR: How would you describe the Red Sox front office dynamics and organizational culture? What differentiates your team from others in the MLB?
Justin: Since I’ve only worked for the Red Sox, I honestly cannot say how our front office differs from others around MLB. But I can say that I work with some of the smartest, hardest working, and most entertaining people I’ve ever been around. We are a very tight-knit group, since we spend so much time together during the week. It’s a special feeling to work so hard for a common goal, and hopefully we get the chance to celebrate a little more success this season.
GSABR: Going forward, how do you see your role and responsibilities fit into the overall organization strategy? And where do you see yourself a few years into the future?
Justin: Right now, I’m enjoying my time as an intern in Boston. Hopefully down the road, I’ll get the opportunity to become a full-time employee, whenever that may be. Many people intern three or four times before finding a full-time spot. I need to work hard and develop my scouting skills. As long as I can continue to find ways to add value to a front office, I know I have a future in this game.
GSABR: What would you recommend for students interested in working in baseball operations? What can they do right away to demonstrate their ability to people in the industry?
Justin: Obviously, the guys in charge want to make sure that candidates have shown the interest and passion that is absolutely necessary to work in this game. That can be through playing experience, team management, clubs, organizations, personal projects, or anything else associated with baseball. Furthermore, having a unique angle that separates you from the talent and gives you something to talk about during interviews is useful (mine was attempting to start a small business in college, which failed in spectacular fashion, but I guess made me appear innovative). Finally, being up to date and knowledgeable about baseball is of the utmost importance (not only current teams and players and their statistics, but also contracts, player evaluation, etc.). I would encourage anyone to be persistent but patient. It’s not easy to land an opportunity, but if you truly want it, you can find a way. It’s 100% worth it.
Image courtesy of Wikipedia
Special thanks to Justin Horowitz for his time and insight
Interview by Nik Oza