As the new York Revolution baseball operations manager, Andrew Ball has introduced himself to plenty of people within the business over the last six months.
Nearly every reaction for the 23-year-old has been about the same.
"Even though I'm 23, I definitely don't even look 23. I look younger than that," Ball said. "So, it's something the first time where people meet me, they're like 'Wow. You're the guy we've been talking to?' So, just getting over that initial shock is something I have to deal with."
Ball took over for Michael Kirk at the end of last season. Kirk left for a similar position with the Sugar Land (Texas) Skeeters, the Atlantic League's new expansion team.
Having played baseball through
Ball proved he had that characteristic last year when he organized the home run derby that was part of the festivities surrounding the 2011 Atlantic League All-Star Game at Sovereign Bank Stadium.
"Dealing with players takes a certain personality," Kirk said. "Not everybody can do it because some players can be difficult. He did a good job with that to demand respect."
Apprentice: Around this time a year ago, Ball was in the process of finding an internship somewhere in baseball. Only problem was, all of the internships at York were scheduled to start in March or April. As a senior at Gwynedd-Mercy College majoring in sports management, Ball had an obligation to finish out the season with the Griffins' baseball team. The 6-foot, 2-inch right-hander would be busy playing into the month of May.
Kirk, 29, has interviewed and hired several interns during his time in baseball thus far. And Ball, a 2007 Blue Mountain High School grad, stood out to him. So, Kirk worked out a unique internship experience where Ball could join York in mid-May and basically serve as Kirk's apprentice.
"I've hired a lot of interns and (Ball) is one of the best I've ever seen," Kirk said. "I've been looking for a guy like Andrew for eight months down here (in Sugar Land). You don't find guys like him."
Ball started in York on May 15, just a day after Gwynedd-Mercy lost, 6-3, to Keystone in the Colonial States Athletic Conference championship game.
Hired: When it became clear in August that Kirk was leaving for Sugar Land, Revs' president and general manager Eric Menzer approached Ball about filling the position. Ball interviewed with Menzer and York's assistant general manager, John Gibson. He later sat down with Revs' manager Andy Etchebarren, pitching coach Mark Mason and bench coach Enohel Polanco.
Given the job Ball has done so far, Etchebarren feels York made the right hire.
"He'll call me and tell me about a guy. I'll look him up," Etchebarren said. "A lot of players call me that I don't know and I call Andrew and ask for his opinion. I'm very satisfied with what he's done."
Pressure: Ball admits his job is a little easier being surrounded by Etchebarren, Mason and Polanco. The trio has decades of experience in professional baseball.
Still, there is pressure when filling a position that has helped field back-to-back Atlantic League championship teams.
"I just want to do what I can to uphold that standard," Ball said. "That being said, I don't really view the pressure as a negative thing as much as an opportunity. It's pretty cool that we can be the first team to go out and win three consecutive Atlantic League championships."
That would go a long way for Ball in proving that age is just a number.
-- Reach John Walk at 505-5406 or jwalk@york dispatch.com or follow on Twitter @JohnKWalk.