It’s a shame baseball teams are doing so poorly that they can only afford to pay an extensively qualified candidate with a 4 year degree and extensive certifications a monthly stipend…which I’m sure doesn’t include any benefits.
Someone should call the Teamsters so these employees can unionize and not be exploited by these teams that are essentially looking for slave labor….
The teamsters have expanded to white collar as well as blue collar workers…I dunno, though, if theyd be the best fit, as you state. They should unionize somehow though. This isn’t the first posting like this I’ve seen where a baseball team is seeking an extensively qualified candidate and is only willing to pay them peanuts. Obviously they get away with it. That doesn’t make it right, or fair.
Is it entirely logical given the realities of the marketplace? Without question. And that should be fully understandable by those who apply logic and quantitative analysis to the long-subjective pursuit of baseball analysis.
In my business, TV/film production, it’s the same. When I started out years ago, I was thrilled to be hired as a “Production Assistant,” a glorified gofer, for $40-50 a day, no benefits. And that was in mid-town Manhattan. And by “day,” I mean 12-14 hours on average. Sometimes 6 days a week. Sometimes with no more than 6 hours turnaround from one day to another.
And it’s worse today. Forget about getting paid anything for your first 1-2 years in the business. After that, if you’re exceptionally talented, you can expect to make 20% of what an experienced creative professional makes, for doing essentially the same work… as long as you own your own equipment and don’t charge extra for it. That’s what happens when universities are cranking out qualified people with degrees at 10 times or more the numbers as available jobs.
These, my friend, are the realities of capitalism.
kind of standard in the professional world these days.
talk to someone going through law school most people don’t land their first paid summer gig until they have a 4 year degree and complete the first 2 years of law school on top of that… they’re mostly expected to work somewhere for free or close to free the first year.
closer to indentured servitude than slavery though.
Comment by evil kevin towers — December 1, 2012 @ 11:00 pm
What a load of bollocks. Work for us for us and work for free. A monthly stipend! Yeah, I’ll feed my kids with the fruits of your bullshit. You know, I like baseball but these guys can go fuck themselves. Don’t pay Adam Jones quite so many millions. I’m not blaming the Orioles here. It’s the system. This is not what happens when colleges are cranking out graduate after graduate. This is what happens when a society, when a civilisation, when it loses sight of what an education is for. Stick your monthly stipend up your ass. Fangraphs should be embarrassed to be advertising this shit.
I was going to bring up the entertainment industry, as well. Everyone in this industry is expected to work for years without seeing any real benefit. When I first moved to L.A., I was an art department intern/swing, thrilled on the few jobs that I actually got paid to do. Even as you move up in the field, the ceiling is pretty low unless you can finagle your way into the union. Even bigger budget movies aren’t exempt from this, as the “Black Swan” lawsuit proved.
Comment by TheHoustonian — December 1, 2012 @ 11:43 pm
The Astros one was worse. Unpaid internship for a skill set that would fetch six figures in any other industry. They were just the fact that some people really love sports and are willing to work for free just to 1) try to get a foot in the door or 2) bask in the glory of “working” for a baseball team.
Comment by dustygator — December 2, 2012 @ 12:48 am
It’s not just about degree saturation. In most industries, you get paid for doing an intership, sometimes even at the same per-hour rate as a entry-level full-time employee (though obviously you make much less due to the hours). This is just a case of an extremely desirable, “glamorous” industry. The supply of people who have a certain skill set and want to work in sports is much larger than the number of people with the same skill set who want to work in say insurance or operations management.
Comment by dustygator — December 2, 2012 @ 12:51 am
As a recent engineering graduate who a) just flew into Nashville for the Winter Meetings job fair and b) is a huge Orioles fan, I can personally say that I would be elated to land this internship even without he monthly stipend. I get what everyone is griping about how someone should be paid fairly for work done, even if it’s labeled as an “internship” but the true value of experiences like his is the opportunity to network within the baseball business, gain some working experience, and pad your resume that could hopefully turn into a full-time gig somewhere.
I think that the people who are saying “that is just what the industry pays” are just fooling themselves.
There is no market for these jobs, we are talking about what 2 or 3 of these positions for a team, so at the most 90 positions. That is not a market and the fact that these clubs are not willing to pay anything means that they don’t consider it important. If the fill the position, great, if they don’t fill it they don’t care.
These businesses are going to be around for a long time and whether they are run efficiently or intelligently is not exactly a high priority. A good analyst, as far as most of these guys are concerned, is not going to make or break a team. You can tell by the crappy pay they give to everyone that is not actively involved with the major league roster.
I like baseball, at least the analytic side of it, but I would not bust my nut or my pocket book trying to work for these teams.
Where I come from firms don’t have any problem hiring 1Ls or 2Ls, but ask them for a job after you pass the bar and the answer is “why pay you to do research when I can hire 3 students to do the same work for half the pay.” Rule 15 certification makes it worse, allowing law students to actually practice law. Your only real bet is to try and stick with a big firm as an interchangeable part working 100 hour weeks for 30K a year. /rant
I think people who see this as their foot in the door are miscalculating. Unless you combine old school scouting skills with this analytical skills, there aren’t that many positions. Even if every team has three pure analyst positions, that’s 90 spots for the entire league.
I’d guess at least one per team as a lead analyst that is paid decently, builds the models and provides year to year stability and 2 low/un-paid internships that burn through smart people every year. That’s 6,240 hours of number crunching if all three people only work 40 hours per week.
So really, you’re sacrificing a year at a job making 70k-100k a year, and maybe make 40-50k, to say you once worked for a baseball team. Or maybe you assume that you are way smarter and better than the person just like you who is a year older and had the position last year.
Or maybe I’m totally wrong and baseball teams are really slow at picking up on the whole statistical analysis thing.
As a current Sport Management/statistics undergrad who intends to work in baseball operations with a ML club I know I’m taking note of these postings. I’m a few years away from actually applying for a job in the majors. But they’re useful to see what exactly teams are looking for. I know I needed to learn SQL and other software, now I know exactly what to learn.
I guess I’m disappointed that the “pay” is low for something like this. But its to be expected, high demand for the job they are offering. Someone out there is willing to do it cheaper than you are because its a job in a game. Not to mention the potential for growth after getting your foot in the door with an internship like this. I’d *like* more money, but its a trade-off that me and many others are willing to make.
This is how entrance into many professions works now. I’m in the process of getting a Master’s in Communications, and I would kill for a quality internship that would grant me the ability to move up more easily. I’m more discouraged by fact I cannot even give my skills away.
Heather, I’m not sure if your post is directly responding to mine, but I definitely agree.
It’s really unfortunate, and sometimes depressing, that I literally cannot give away what I think are some valuable talents I possess. I’m not really sure what the future holds for this type of practice.
Most of us on this site would love more than anything to be in the baseball industry. If I had the skills for this job, and it was feasible to relocate, I would totally want this internship.
Its hard to believe this is actually a “high competition” field as some people seem to be arguing. Who would really do this? Only some kid fresh out of college from an upper-middle class family that lives with their parents and can afford to postone their lives for a year. Its hard to believe there are really that many people applying for these positions. And no one who really knows what they are doing would apply because these people are already in well-paying positions.
They’d be better off being employed (with something like the Earned Income Tax Credit) than unemployed.
If the wage at which it’s worth it to employ them (plus all the various mandatory benefits) is lower than the minimum wage, then they won’t be employed. Same as if you make companies give mandatory benefits to full time workers but not to interns or part time; they’ll shift people to part time and internships, even though people would generally be better off working one full time job for $X/hr and no benefits than two part time jobs that also pay $X/hr and no benefits.
If the amount of money people can get paid to work isn’t enough for a decent living, then the appropriate thing to do is to supplement what they could make up a decent level through the EITC directly and other programs, rather than imposing a minimum wage and mandatory benefits and demanding that they be fired and the company automate or reduce labor intensity. Imposing a minimum wage is a incredibly stupid and inefficient way to do it that doesn’t save anyone in the economy money, but does ensure that people are never able to get that first job and training.
Comment by John Thacker — December 2, 2012 @ 7:31 pm
You’re right that none of us have a really great idea about the number of people applying, neither the people who think that it’s high competition or low competition.
You know who does have a good idea? The Baltimore Orioles organization that’s posting the job does. They think that they can fill the position sufficiently at this rate, and that they’d be okay with the results. If they’re wrong, then perhaps they’ll raise the wage, or else they’ll be sacrificing potential wins because they don’t value good analysis enough.
The fact that they offer a low wage indicates that they strongly believe that the lure of doing this for a baseball team is a dream internship for enough smart people that they can get away with it.
Comment by John Thacker — December 2, 2012 @ 7:36 pm
Jason I hear you but you’re missing the point. This is just how it works in a whole raft of different industries in the U.S. these days. College students who get very good degrees have to spend a lot of time during those degrees doing low- or -unpaid internships with anyone they can find just to be in a position to get internships with a major company after they graduate. And they’re lucky if they get a stipend for those post-graduation internships.
Add to this the large student loan amounts that they have to start repaying soon and you’re right — only a pretty rich student could afford it. But it’s still happening, and no doubt a lot of poorer kids with poorer parents are being excluded from the very job market they paid a ton of money to acquire the skills to compete in. It doesn’t add up, because the system is broken. And don’t think it doesn’t create upward pressure on those of us lucky enough to graduate earlier and get on the ladder. Don’t fall off. Don’t get made redundant. Don’t be at a company that gets downsized. Or you’ll be back in that pool too, and though you’ll have the experience they are trying desperately to acquire it’s still a pretty uncomfortable place to try to tread water in while you try to make that experience count.
Comment by Sam Samson — December 2, 2012 @ 7:43 pm
There is no shortage of minimum wage jobs. The minimum wage is not costing people jobs. Pretty much every developed country has either minimum wage laws or set national salaries negotiated with labour that cover all workers. It is part of being a developed, modern country. The US, for a long time, had effectively full employment with minimum wages much higher than they are now.
The unemployment problem in this country is not with people trying to find minimum wage jobs. It is with people who used to, and still expect to make a living wage.
The unemployment problem in this country is caused by lack of demand. Companies have nothing but money to hire people. The “job creators” don’t create any jobs, because they have no one to sell their trinkets to. They have no one to sell their trinkets to because people have no money. Driving wages down does not grow the market. If you have no market in your own country, you have to sell to some other country (a proper country with equitable wealth distribution). If you have to sell to some other country, you now live in a third world country.
Seriously, what work do you think isn’t getting done in this country because employers can’t afford to hire workers they need and want? I don’t think anyone is interested in a political discussion on this site. But, as someone who has had to work several minimum wage jobs, I was always thankful there was a minimum wage, and I certainly never had any trouble finding the job. In fact, I always had my pick of jobs. Of course this is just my own anecdotal experience, but the entire history of the developed world shows that all workers making a living wage is a good thing for everybody (even the employers, whether they realize it or not).
Interesting commentary here.
I just yelled to my wife when I saw this saying “OMG! My dream job”, but yeah I kinda fall into the Xeifrank category of solid income, but at a point where I don’t want to abandon that for a job paying nothing (even if it wasn’t an internship).
I love the O’s (see handle), but I just hope they are paying some real money for some real statisticians as well. You get what you pay for.
Comment by oriolesoptimist — December 2, 2012 @ 11:55 pm
Even then, you can find better jobs with these sorts of qualifications. If you can work for a baseball team, who says you can’t work in IT for Yahoo, Google, or any other company in Silicon Valley? They’ll dish out $100,000 a year for you and most won’t work you like a financial analyst making $200,000 a year.
Sure, it’s cool to be working with a baseball team and it’s great that you get to do what you like. Trust me, if they paid me $100,000 a year to do sabermetric analysis, I’d do it and I’ll work 80 hours a week. But the fact of the matter is, they don’t and that’s saddening considering how much money these teams make.
Presumably the intern is going to be compiling a bunch of data, spitting out queries, fixing the copy machine, and fetching coffee. They probably don’t need a lot of high end training for it. Keep in mind, too, that these are often designed to be very brief testing out a potential long-term (and well-paid) hire.
But, if they pay below-market rates for real, full-time statisticians or analysts, it strikes me as a penny wise, pound foolish approach. Just one savvy call on player performance trends or usage strategy could be worth millions for a franchise, so it seems like a no brainer to outcompete the market for the better quantitative analysts. Such people are often paid 80 – 200K by companies (and agency programs) with much smaller budgets than the Orioles, so I’d assume the O’s pay fairly well.
Yes and no. When I read the job duties, I saw them as ones a lot of new college graduates should be able to do fairly effectively. That’s a pool unlikely to be supporting a mortgage and family…
Beyond that, yes, I’m guessing a team would be fishing the bottom end of the barrel if they offered anything less than 100K for real analyst positions. There are only so many trust-funded geniuses with advanced quantitative training and a decade of workplace experience, you know?
FWIW, I interviewed for an intern position with AA San Antonio, and the monthly stipend was $1,000. Not sure how much better the parent ballclub pays (if any), but that at least gives a general guideline to go by.
Actually, Adam Smith would laugh at the Astros and point out that the market has indeed spoken–look at their roster! Yikes. Better talent goes to better teams, and I would hope that better qualified statisticians look elsewhere!
Phew, this is depressing. Hey you kids, get off my lawn. And my ladder.
This is all dredging up memories. I interned for MacNeil/Lehrer in the ‘mid-80s. Then had several law internships. I became a bankruptcy lawyer when I graduated during the 1990 recession. That was one of the few growth areas in the legal profession back then (and not a bad skill to have now). I lived for a while on 8th Avenue off 29th Street, above a bar, in a place with no Certificate of Occupancy. We installed a tub, toilet, stove and hot water heater ourselves. We paid $400 a month for a 2 bedroom at first. And yes, that was cheap even back then, but we’d had to shower at friends or use a camp shower bag.
My wife is a bit younger and had to pay her way through school working at a gift shop before we met. She got an aviation degree and an FAA internship. I had to support her before she started getting paid. 1950s style.
Anyway, apologies for the ramble. I don’t envy those getting started in this economic environment. People starting off during a recession or low growth period can have their entire economic lives effected by it, lower peak earnings and lifetime income, etc.
Comment by LIz Phair — December 3, 2012 @ 12:53 pm
I interned for an MLB team in baseball Ops – this was pretty recently. It was an amazing opportunity, but the pay is borderline offensive. I remember thinking when I interviewed that, I would PAY just to get in the door. I worked 7 days a week and learned a lot, met great people, but in the end it is just not sustainable. It had been my dream to work in Baseball Ops from the time I read Moneyball, but you quickly realize that the front office is not a meritocracy – you only move up when someone (often times your friend) gets fired.
I was fortunate that I came from an upper income family, and that my parents were willing to help pay, but there are a lot of kids, smarter and more qualified, that could never even dream of taking on an internship because it is just not financially feasible. In the end it is supply and demand, but this is not a free market – we’re dealing with an oligarchy, that can, and does set, its own price.
It seems to me, that the front office is the next market inefficiency. The issue is that it is very difficult to quantify how good an analyst or scout for that matter actually is. There is not intern WAR or scouting WAR, so until front offices feel that they can actually approximate the value of said employees, why invest in them…
Comment by MLB Ops Intern — December 3, 2012 @ 12:53 pm
As someone who possesses all these skills, and is currently employed, I can verify this is accurate. That said, no one is forcing anyone to take this job.
What, precisely, is “unfair” about VOLUNTARY unpaid labor? It’s far more unfair for you to stop two third parties from working together on mutually agreed upon terms than it is for these two parties to work together at whatever price they have mutually agreed upon.
The pay is low because the demand is next to nothing. There’s probably less than 100 positions like this available in the U.S. and more than 2,000 people on fangraphs who could do this stuff. I’m sorry you went to college specifically for this. However, it does make my dreams of being a major leaguer look less childish.
Comment by Wellhitball — December 3, 2012 @ 6:39 pm
The key is debt, kiddos. The only way to keep the plebs toiling is to first ensure they have no ability to support themselves (read: land). All the land is already owned. Once land is taken, create a system where — just to get your foot within sight of the door — you need to take on a massive load of debt (or come from wealth).
Remember, our system requires — REQUIRES — a mass class of underlings (and increasingly a mass class that aren’t even underlings, they are, as Scrooge would say, excess population). And all the caveats in the world doesn’t change those not so-terribly-pleasant facts.
yeah, there are few positions available in baseball analytics with ML teams. Yeah, I’m trying to get into a narrow field. Like you said “more than 2,000 people on fangraphs could do this stuff”.
Its a popular job. The job is in high demand. Unfortunately there are few spots for eager jobseekers. Getting a job with a ML team is and will be hard to do.
But you should feel anything but *sorry* for me that I’m going to college (literally just completed my first semester) to work in baseball. I love baseball, I love competition and I love statistics. Any job with any team would be amazing. I am aiming much higher than “intern”; but that is likely going to be my starting point. I won’t make much money and I’ll have to fight to get a job but it will be an incredibly rewarding job. I know I will have fun.
I’m not going to go as far as to say that baseball analytics is the most financially “smart” career choice, but it is a growing field. Teams are generating more revenue (thank you TV deals) and teams are looking for more and more analytics guys. Its a growing industry and profession. I already have a few very good connections, I am very motivated and I will make it work and importantly, I will enjoy it.
Interviewed for a few Baseball ops internships in the past. You run the gamut of backgrounds and it’s a crapshoot. A lot of the ops internship positions want superb econometric and database skills equivalent of a cs or mathematical econ grad (not your run of the mill econ grad at a typical undergrad place).
Howevever a lot of these places also are filled with ops people without much of the technical background either and I’m curious how they broke in. Daniels in Tx was a cornell econ grad; but in my interview experience, these days even decent technical skills aren’t enough and they are looking for database/econometric superstars. Not sure how successful he would’ve been landing in an internship in the current market.
Case in point, the point of contact for this job posting: Sarah Gelles. Amherst grad that majored in a fluff liberal arts major (Law, Jurisprudence & Social Thought)….wonder how much sql, eviews, R sabermetric analyses she’s doing/can do when she’ll be your boss.
The Sustainable Fisheries Group (SFG) at UC Santa Barbara is seeking a full-time Researcher/Analyst to support their on-the-ground fisheries reform projects in various parts of the world. http://sfg.msi.ucsb.edu/jobs/current-job-openings
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SFG seeks an individual who can, with limited supervision, perform mathematical analyses using computer models and statistical programs. Specifically, the applicant should have the technical skills to refine existing models used by the SFG and develop new models to address questions related to spatial fisheries management and conservation, fishery sustainability, stock assessment, marine spatial planning and seafood certification. Model development may include data collection for parameterizing and ground-truthing of the models; strong coding skills preferred. The applicant will be required to carry out both theoretical work and analysis related to diverse geographical regions, including California, Latin America, Indonesia, and others. The successful applicant will possess strong communication skills to document methods, contribute to peer-reviewed scientific publications, and deliver presentations on model development, analyses, and results. A master’s degree or above is preferred for this position. The technical work carried out by the successful applicant will inform the SFG’s demonstration projects, in which innovative approaches for reform of fisheries management and management of other ocean uses are implemented in case study regions around the world.
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Comment by Git Payed — December 12, 2012 @ 3:34 pm