Job Posting: Astros Internship

Internship – Baseball Operations/Decision Sciences – – Houston Astros Baseball Club (Houston, TX)

**Read the information below COMPLETELY. Failure to follow the instructions will affect your candidacy.

• If selected for an interview, you will be asked to come to Minute Maid Park in person. You will be responsible for any travel arrangements you choose to make for interview purposes.

• The Astros offer scholarships to eligible students. The Houston Astros Internship Scholarship Program has been established to increase opportunities for undergraduate students of limited financial means to be able to complete full time internships with the club.
• These are full time, unpaid internship opportunities, which require interns to work a 32 to 40 hour work week. In addition, it is mandatory that the candidate receive college credit for their participation in the internship program.
• Specific duties and responsibilities will vary based upon the department but this is a “hands on” internship opportunity.
• If there is a requirement such as language fluency or computer program knowledge, you MUST meet that requirement before selecting that as a department of interest.

• Energetic and enthusiastic. • Outgoing, positive attitude and personality. • Must be a “team player.” • Interested in more than just working in a high profile environment. • Ability to multi-task and work in a fast paced environment. • Willing to offer ideas and suggestions. • Punctual and professional.

Start date: 5/14

Duties & Responsibilities:
• Develop database-driven applications and reports, using tools such as Visual Studio, C#, SQL Server Reporting and Integration Services, and web technologies.
• Assist the staff by performing occasional reporting, data mining, or other tasks that require advanced technical capability
• Develop and maintain documentation supporting the maintenance of technical systems.
• Partner with Director to develop applications for mobile devices

Qualifications/Minimum Requirements:
• Development experience with Microsoft Application Development tools including Visual Studio, .NET 2.0 and later, ASP.NET MVC, Visual Basic, C#, AJAX, HTML, CSS and Javascript
• Strong knowledge of SQL Server RDBMS systems including: Table definition, data normalization, stored procedures, table indexing, SSIS, and SSRS.
• Experience integrating multiple data sources, formats and media into a single interface
• Advanced knowledge of Microsoft Excel
• Excellent written, verbal, listening and presentation skills
• Ability to multi-task and manage projects on strict deadlines in a fast-paced work environment
• Possess high degree of discretion, integrity, professionalism, and accountability
• Passion for baseball and the ability to work within a team framework?
• Ability to work flexible hours

Note: When you apply for this job online, you will be required to answer the following questions:

1. I understand that this is an unpaid internship and I WILL receive college credit for my participation in this internship.
2. I understand that I am responsible for my own housing and expenses while participating in the internship.

Apply for this position

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David Appelman is the creator of FanGraphs.

55 Responses to “Job Posting: Astros Internship”

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  1. Herbalist says:

    Too bad..I would apply but all i know is how to evaluate talent, not source data..

    UC Berkeley 2013

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  2. Herbalist says:

    By the way Jeff Luhnow..if you are reading this. I liked Lowrie and wished that Sabean would have had the intelligence to trade for him..Also nice pick up of Landon Powell..he hasn’t really panned out but I think he was still a good “take a shot” with a minor league deal type of player.

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  3. Big Daddy V says:

    I thought the internship from a few weeks was bad, but an UNPAID internship where you would have to be doing actual software development and data processing? That’s just straight-up illegal. And no, offering college credit is not enough.

    +18 Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Big Daddy V says:

      *from a few weeks ago

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    • Evan says:

      Yeesh, I’d think in a competitive job market, a foot in the door is worth a summer eating ramen noodles on a daily basis.

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      • Adam D says:

        just because a person is willing to do it for free (and I’m sure there are plenty) doesn’t make it less illegal.

        +5 Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Butterball says:

        reading over the qualifications/job description, it doesnt seem all that ethical considering theres no pay. some desperate college kid will do it thinking he’ll have a future in baseball, but its not realistic. more or less using someone if you ask me.

        +20 Vote -1 Vote +1

      • BX says:

        It’s technically illegal, but universities generally turn a blind eye to it and encourage it so it goes on.

        Fully unpaid internships (NOT including internships that aren’t “paid” but have living stipends) are only legal if the entity offering the unpaid internship is a nonprofit/won’t make money off the intern’s labor.

        note: i am not a lawyer.

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    • Joe says:

      They’re ridiculous if they think they can get a kid with those skills. I did something similar for good money in undergrad, and If I could get an RA who could do that (particularly work in C#) I’d pay the market rate out of faculty funds. Those kids are gone in nanoseconds.

      +8 Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Johnny Slick says:

        Yeah, as a guy who is just finishing up a continuing ed group of courses on C# and who understands exactly how rare these skills are, even in my home city of Seattle… an unpaid internship to do this is unconscionable. Yeah, it’d be fun for a 19 year old kid living off his parents’ trust fund, I guess… but realistically, even for someone starting out this is a skillset which pays out $50k-$75k a year. At best, they’re going to get some kid who is in way over his head and whose “work” is just going to have to be redone by some later, much more expensive IT guy.

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    • LTG says:

      The word you’re looking for is not ‘illegal’. There’s no law against unpaid internships. Instead, you want the word ‘wrong’, as in it is wrong to acquire the fruits of someone else’s labor without equitable remuneration (regardless of what the law says).

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      • jbdickson says:

        There’s a law against unpaid internships where the work you have them do is essentially what you’d have to pay someone to do.

        The loophole they’re using is the “college credit” portion, which makes this ok.


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        • Katie J says:

          Nope, it’s not OK. To be legal an internship has to meet ALL SIX of these requirements – not just one of them -

          1. The internship, even though it includes actual operation of the facilities of the employer, is similar to training which would be given in an educational environment.

          2. The internship experience is for the benefit of the intern.

          3. The intern does not displace regular employees, but works under close supervision of existing staff.

          4. The employer that provides the training derives no immediate advantage from the activities of the intern; and on occasion its operations may actually be impeded.

          5. The intern is not necessarily entitled to a job at the conclusion of the internship.

          6. The employer and the intern understand that the intern is not entitled to wages for the time spent in the internship.


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      • DD says:

        As a high profile internship, it would look good on a resume to a real employer tho…

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      • Slartibartfast says:

        Actually, illegal is the correct word. Technically speaking, about 99% of internships are illegal.

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      • Slugger27 says:

        LTG – come on man, if you don’t know what you’re talking about, then dont correct someone that does.

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  4. Jeff says:

    Hmm, the Astros are a Microsoft shop. I guess technology isn’t that big a deal to them. It doesn’t sound very interesting from a software design perspective and on top of that no pay. I’m sure they’ll find someone though.

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  5. badger80 says:

    Is this what they’re now calling major leaguers in Houston?

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  6. CarlosLee4MVP says:

    This is an amazing opportunity. It is unpaid but there are benefits you get to watch all of the games for free and get unlimited cracker jacks. You will also get a Jed Lowrie autograph.

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  7. Andy says:

    If anybody in the Astros front office is reading this, I sent in a project a couple of weeks ago about what kind of players tend to experience more relative success against good pitching. I hope to hear back!

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  8. CarlosLee4MVP says:

    What do you guys think about a potential trade of Moyer 6 +2 for Mark Melancon?

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  9. My Favorite Part says:

    Qualifications / Requirements:

    • Passion for baseball and the ability to work within a team framework?

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  10. ben says:

    every internship for the Astros is like this. Work 40 hours and get nothing for it, and they wonder why they always get the lowest amount of resumes.

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  11. Joe says:

    So, unless you live at your Mom’s house in Houston, this is impossible? No thanks.

    +5 Vote -1 Vote +1

  12. Matt Hunter says:

    Start date is Monday? Wow that’s a fast hiring process.

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    • chuckb says:

      Not really. They’re probably only going to find 1 or 2 who are able and willing to meet their qualifications.

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  13. Joey says:

    • These are full time, unpaid internship opportunities, which require interns to work a 32 to 40 hour work week. In addition, it is mandatory that the candidate receive college credit for their participation in the internship program.

    Okay so not only are you working for free for 32-40 hours a week but you also are on the hook for the cost of tuition to your school. My undergraduate program charged full tuition for unpaid internships which I thought was criminal then and still think it is now. The reason why these companies require college credit is because it circumvents minimum wage and unpaid employment laws. Imagine you are working for a multimillion dollar institution, such as a professional sports team, for 40 hours a week and they aren’t paying you a single dollar. Outrageous. And on top of that your college soaks you for a few hundred or even a few thousand dollars.

    Here’s a lesson to kids. Never work an unpaid internship. Ever. It doesn’t matter if it is for an MLB team. It makes you look uncompetitive and like a pushover. That you are willing to work for free or even pay your college thousands of dollars to work for free for another company. As someone who owns a business I never look at a resume and see “unpaid internship” as something attractive. It just shows me that you don’t take money seriously and that you have no concept of self worth.

    And don’t give me the “it’s a great opportunity” or “you might get hired afterwards” routines. Unpaid interns rarely get hired. And the opportunity benefits the company using you for unpaid labor more than it benefits you.

    At my business I do not allow any position to go unpaid. All of our interns are paid for whatever they do. It doesn’t matter if they are writing and producing content or simply employed as drivers chauffeuring clients to the airports or whatever. When my interns leave or graduate and go to look for jobs they can put “paid internship” on their resumes. And they work harder at their internships because they feel like a real employee and not some source of slave labor.

    It’s not worth it. Most of the people who leave comments encouraging you to partake in this internship are probably MLB employees who are (houston) Astroturfing this blog.

    +24 Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Michael says:

      Preach it!

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    • J says:

      If software development internships have anywhere near the same kind of payscale as the engineering internships I did, I’d expect a job like this to be paying $20/hr with half the expected requirements.

      Sure it’s cool that it’s an MLB job, but I can’t see the Astros getting anything but bottom of the barrel applicants when every other posting for a similar need is paying somewhere around $20/hr. It’s not like they’re looking for comm majors with few marketable skills that actually need the resume fodder of working for a pro ball team. People with these kind of technical skills are already getting paid pretty well on internships and co-ops while still in college. Unpaid internships are a joke to these people, especially full time ones.

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      • Slugger27 says:

        im actually an employee of a houston sports team right now. i make good money but would gladly take a (small) paycut to work for the astros, as baseball is my passion and where i wanted to be all along (i wouldn’t be on this blog otherwise). i have an understanding of baseball analytics and played college ball. i understand id have to start at the bottom because i dont have experience in the sport.

        the sad thing is theres a lot of people out there like me, that have experience working in sports and would work an entry level position. but posting jobs that require this skillset and are unpaid is borderline insulting. if they had left the post as is and said it paid $12/hour, i still think it wouldve been laughable. oh well.

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  14. Jake says:

    As someone who graduated with a sports management degree and has worked for a baseball team — and now has left the industry — this kind of behavior is criminal. To think that they can get these kinds of services for no money is incredibly arrogant.

    –>Selects exclusively for socioeconomic factors (no pay means only rich kids)
    –>These skills and services deserves full-time payment
    –>The teams pay millions to athletes but can’t afford scraps for their employees
    –>Every company in America can pay for a plane ticket and hotel for the interview. Shirking on even a couple hundred dollars is shameful. They can afford it, but don’t out of cheapness and arrogance.

    +15 Vote -1 Vote +1

  15. DC says:

    This is cheap, so cheap. Yeah of course Astros can afford to pay Carlos Lee to be mediocre (well a bit above that) with top dollars while looking for an unpaid intern who’s gonna write important programs for them. I hope they don’t get a resume, but I’m sure someone out there is desperate enough to do it.

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    • Seth says:

      Carlos Lee should pay the kid that takes this.

      +8 Vote -1 Vote +1

    • willjohnson says:

      I think it screams desperation more than cheapness

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      • BX says:

        common business practice and credentialism, not cheapness or desperation.

        Companies with far more assets than the Astros use this practice (e.g. WNBC) . Students will flock to it for the prestige and the credential.

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      • Nitram Odarp says:

        Unpaid internships at WNBC aren’t asking the interns to do the sort of programming this internship is, are they? They probably have those unpaid interns grabbing coffee and doing other menial things. That is acceptable. Asking someone to do a job that would otherwise cost you over $25/hr to fill is not.

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      • prankmunky says:

        Or you can be a programming intern for Google and make 6K a month, get benefits, housing and receive all the prestige you could ever hope for… the Astros should at least cover housing.

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    • Tim says:

      Have you really never heard of an unpaid internship? Tons of large firms do this and they have kids sucking on their tits trying to get a spot. Its not easy to get a real job anymore so anything you can put on a resume is gold. And this is a fantasy for a lot of people who want to be GM’s and whatnot when they get older. I’m sure the Astros wont have to dig too deep to find someone

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      • Nitram Odarp says:

        Yes, I’m sure many companies do unpaid internships, but they don’t ask those unpaid interns to do the sort of technically demanding work this internship does. Besides, I would think those companies probably offer stipends for the cost of living, or at the very least pay the travel expenses of people they’re interviewing.

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      • Slugger27 says:

        unpaid internship with the astros certainly isnt “gold” …. this is spoken like someone who has never worked in the sports industry. of course unpaid internships are common, but look at the skillset this requires…. are you kidding me? look at the responsibilities. i have a lot of friends working for professional sports teams around houston making decent entry level money that dont have this skillset or day to day work.

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    • vivaelpujols says:

      I wouldn’t be surprised if the owner did not think this was important work and was not willing to increase the budget for the stats department. Seems kind of silly though as it would be something like 50K a year.

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  16. david says:

    Age requirements? I’d love to know

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  17. willjohnson says:

    Obviously there are better opportunities out there for kids with all this technical knowledge but if some kid is really passionate about baseball they may still want to do this.

    Most of the highest earning careers start out with low or unpaid work for far more than 40 hours a week, but if you’re successful it can translate into extremely high pay and working less than 40 hours a week. Wall street, professional sports, medicine and law all subscribe to this model.

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    • Nitram Odarp says:

      I can’t speak for all of those, but I can tell you Wall Street does not have unpaid internships. When I was interning there, I was getting paid over $1000 a week to go along with an additional $300 a week for a housing/living stipend. That’s par for the course on Wall Street. I know interns at law firms are paid as well. They’re paid because they’re being asked to do real work. The Astros are asking this intern to do real work and think they shouldn’t have to pay them in return. That’s beyond ridiculous.

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  18. Resolution says:

    I know it’s unpaid but I’d be willing to do it if it involved a sweet signing bonus!

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  19. Jorge says:

    Perhaps the Astros Front Office, HR, and Legal departments should read some of these articles.

    Front the Department of Labor (…I would say this internship posting is in violation of #4 on the criteria listed below.

    The Test For Unpaid Interns

    There are some circumstances under which individuals who participate in “for-profit” private sector internships or training programs may do so without compensation. The Supreme Court has held that the term “suffer or permit to work” cannot be interpreted so as to make a person whose work serves only his or her own interest an employee of another who provides aid or instruction. This may apply to interns who receive training for their own educational benefit if the training meets certain criteria. The determination of whether an internship or training program meets this exclusion depends upon all of the facts and circumstances of each such program.

    The following six criteria must be applied when making this determination:

    1.The internship, even though it includes actual operation of the facilities of the employer, is similar to training which would be given in an educational environment;
    2.The internship experience is for the benefit of the intern;
    3. The intern does not displace regular employees, but works under close supervision of existing staff;
    4. The employer that provides the training derives no immediate advantage from the activities of the intern; and on occasion its operations may actually be impeded;
    5. The intern is not necessarily entitled to a job at the conclusion of the internship; and
    6. The employer and the intern understand that the intern is not entitled to wages for the time spent in the internship.

    If all of the factors listed above are met, an employment relationship does not exist under the FLSA, and the Act’s minimum wage and overtime provisions do not apply to the intern. This exclusion from the definition of employment is necessarily quite narrow because the FLSA’s definition of “employ” is very broad. Some of the most commonly discussed factors for “for-profit” private sector internship programs are considered below.

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  20. Dan the Man says:

    And here I thought the Astros were searching for an intern with some pop who could drive in runs in the cleanup spot.

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  21. RaysFan says:

    This is a very interesting position… I just do not know how to operate all of that software.

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  22. Alex says:

    This is clearly an unethical practice.

    My guess is that the Astros or someone else are going to find themselves looking at a lawsuit and a bit of bad press once some used-up intern looks into the legal parameters for an unpaid internship. At that point, MLB will step in and regulate internships.

    I’m surprised MLB hasn’t stepped in already as part of their diversity mandates. These Astros-style unpaid internships are clearly a stepping stone for super-privileged kids only.

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    • Slugger27 says:

      nothing will happen lawsuit wise. theyll just get some desperate college kid with money from his parents and a connection to the team. theyll eventually redo his work and post the same internship this time next year. just continuing the reputation of a bad work culture, at least thats how theyre perceived in houston and have been for years.

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  23. Frank says:

    “Come work 40hrs/week, most likely including late nights and weekends (flexible hours), with zero pay, all while finding your own ways to afford things like food, shelter and transportation!! Oh… and to travel expenses to get here for the interview are on you too.”

    Oh YAYYYYY!!! Can I please please please!!! Why not look for someone with accounting skills to do your taxes for free, since we’re being completely unrealistic. Maybe some light maintenance work on the field during weekends too?

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  24. Jorge says:

    I posted this over at Tango’s blog during the discussion ( about this internship.



    This article ( applies the DOL’s six criteria for unpaid internships to this particular internship with the Astros.

    The author finds that three of the six criteria could be violated which means THIS SHOULD BE A PAID OPPORTUNITY.

    Here is what they have to say about #4 on the criteria list which I have been hammering away at throughout this thread.

    “4. The employer that provides the training derives no immediate advantage from the activities of the intern, and on occasion its operations may actually be impeded.

    Applied: This factor will be extremely burdensome on the employer because of the various responsibilities required by the intern. For example, the duties of the intern include, “Developing database-driven applications and reports” Id. as well as to “assist the staff by performing occasional reporting, data mining, or other tasks.” Id. It will be difficult for the employer to argue that these tasks won’t provide an immediate advantage to him or her.
    The intern would most likely win on this factor.”

    I hope the Astros revise the internship program. What they are currently advertising is WRONG and ILLEGAL. This should be a good learning tool for not only the Astros but all MLB teams that have unpaid internships.

    The author concludes with this and I will warn you…..HOUSTON, WE HAVE A PROBLEM.

    “While there are some factors that weigh in favor of the employer, this test is not a balancing test. If one of the factors is not met, then an employment relationship exists and there is a duty to pay wages to the intern. Based on the above, this proposed “internship” by the Houston Astros organization should be reclassified as an employment opportunity.

    While this article is written to analyze whether the Houston Astros internship is legal or not, the article is not written to single out this organization. The purpose of this article is to bring to the surface the monumental problem of for-profit organizations depriving interns of compensation required under Federal law. Further, this article is written to provide adequate knowledge of what the law states in order for interns to know their rights, and for employers to become aware of their obligations.”

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