Most understand that to reach the top of a profession one might have to climb high and work hard. It is also very important to have a specific goal in mind that in turn would help people to recognize the opportunities that appear in front of them. Pablo Salazar, a 27-year-old Intern with the Iowa Cubs, has a goal of one day landing a job in the Major Leagues with the Chicago Cubs that is why he did not hesitate to take the opportunity that would help his climb to the top.
The Iowa Cubs (Minor League Baseball team Triple -A affiliate of the Chicago Cub) offers paid Internships to college students in such departments as sales and marketing, merchandising, media relations, sports turf management and others. Each season those who desire to gain some experience in the sports industry have a chance to apply for this type of internships. And that is what Pablo Salazar did.
Originally form Quito, Ecuador, he first came over to United States to visit his aunt in Washington, D.C. in 2010, but decided to stay and try to achieve his American dream.
“It took me some time, about 7 years, but I finished the university,” Mr. Salazar, a graduate of Pontifical Catholic University of Ecuador, shared the beginning of his journey towards his version of the American dream. “Soon after I was looking into options available to me. If you have a goal, the doors will open to you little by little. And this is what happened with me.”
The sports industry is something that always was interesting to Pablo Salazar, but he felt that his degree in hospitality was not going to land him a good job in this field. Also, in his native Ecuador the sports industry is not as developed as in the United States.
“My desire to work in the sports industry is difficult [to achieve] in my country because there are only a few professional teams that exist in the whole country and there are only 3 entities that can facilitate the same benefits that I find with the Iowa Cubs,” Pablo Salazar shared.
In the United States Mr. Salazar was working in various resorts in Colorado and California. While using his hospitality degree he kept on thinking of opportunities in the sports industry. Soon, he found out about the internships with the Iowa Cubs and decided to apply to a department that organizes events that can relate to his degree in hospitality. His experience in event organization was great help to him and in March of 2019 he started working with Iowa Cubs.
“Now I am part of the sports industry,” Mr. Salazar explained that this is his stepping stone towards his goal of one day landing a job with his favorite baseball team the Chicago Cubs. “Now I just need to make connections. This is also one of my goals.”
While he is he is trying to reach his ultimate goal, Mr. Salazar is working hard. There are not many Latinos working behind the scenes in the sports industry. Being a native Spanish speaker helps Mr. Salazar as well. Since, the Iowa Cubs are trying to attract more Latinos to baseball games, it is important to have someone like Pablo Salazar who can correctly and easily translate various announcements and ads directed to the Spanish speaking audience.
“I have a possibility to help them in this way, and also one of our objectives is to get the attention of more Latinos,” Mr. Salazar explained.
Mr. Salazar enjoys greatly this opportunity and he invites everyone thinking of pursuing a career in the sports industry to check it out.
“This thing is…. Well, this is something we were told at the beginning [of our internship], you are here because you are qualified to be here. Your nationality, or where you are from does not matter, you simply qualified. And this is something anyone should know,” Mr. Salazar shared the words that impacted him. “No matter where you from, and I do not even have the same degree as most of the interns here, they are all sports management majors. I am the only one who is not, but despite all of this I am here.”
He added that he hopes those who dream of working in the sports industry could just break through the obstacles they face and go for it.
“But this is not job for everyone,” Mr. Salazar explained the hardships that one can encounter while interning with the Iowa Cubs. “There are times when we might work up to 13 hours a day.”
Also, he mentioned that working behind the scenes does not mean that one gets to spend a lot of time with the ball players. He explained that his job requires to work with the public, not the players. Also, they take care of events organization and mostly present before and after specific events, so there is not time or even possibility to be hanging out with the players. But this job does not have to be very serious and uptight. For example, Mr. Salazar got a chance to be the beloved Iowa Cubs mascot Cubbie once.
“It was not bad because the weather was chilly,” Mr. Salazar remembers with a laugh his experience of wearing the Cubbie costume who cannot talk but interacts with the fans and children at the games. “I cannot imagine what it is like to be Cubbie when it is hot outside. The heat makes it complicated [to wear the Cubbie costume].”
The internships with the Iowa Cubs can be grueling long hours of work almost all season long, but also can be fun. Pablo Salazar believes that everyone with the dream of working in the sport industry should strongly consider this type of paid internship because it can be a stepping stone to go further and do more.
“If you want to apply, don’t be afraid,” Pablo Salazar gave his advice to everyone looking for an opportunity in the ports industry. “Do it! For me this was the best job that I had in the United States. Despite that this is a hard job and we work long hours, I like it. I am passionate about working in the sports industry and I have a future here. If I don’t start now, I never will. Just do it.”
While this internship is temporary job and it will end in December, Mr. Salazar already is making plans to improve his chances of getting more and better opportunities in the sports industry. He is planning to go to Northwestern University and major in Sport Administration and if everything goes according to his plans he hopes to land a job with any sports team, although he would prefer to work with his favorite team the Chicago Cubs. Above all he wishes to share his story to inspire others who are dreaming of breaking through in this field to take a chance and do it without fear or reservations.
Pablo Salazar invites you to come to see the Iowa Cubs this Saturday, June 8, as they will play as Los Demonios de Des Moines as part of the MiLB Fun Cup. The game starts at 7pm.