It might seem questionable to some to leave a full-time job for a seasonal internship.
But taking chances and making sacrifices come with the passion of achieving one's dream.
And Andrew Ball feels this is an opportunity he couldn't pass up in his goal to work in the front office of a Major League Baseball organization. The York Revolution baseball operations manager the last two seasons, Ball is leaving the club next month for an internship with the Tampa Bay Rays.
"As soon as the (last) season was winding down, I began chatting with Etch' (former Revs' manager Andy Etchebarren) and Joe (Klein, the Atlantic League's executive director). They said now would be a good time to make a move," Ball said. "I started sending out resumes and cover letters and went down to the (MLB) winter meetings in Orlando and interviewed with several teams. I had a couple offers for internships. Tampa Bay seemed like the best fit for me."
Ball will handle several responsibilities for the Rays in 2014, with the main focus on scouting Tampa Bay's upcoming opponents throughout the season.
"It'll be myself and one other full-time person. We'll watch stuff and put clips together (of opponents). Like, if (Rays' third baseman) Evan Longoria wants to watch film of a certain pitcher, we'll put that together for him and we'll also dig up some numbers on some tendencies of that pitcher."
At just 25 years old and having already held an important role for a pro baseball team in York, Ball certainly has a bright future ahead of him, something Revs' manager Mark Mason relayed to the Rays.
"He's gonna do whatever it takes to get the job done," Mason said. "You can really appreciate that, especially with a young guy and how that goes. He's doing something he really wants to do. I'm very happy for him. We're gonna miss him in York. I talked to people in Tampa Bay when they were considering him for the job and I said 'you'd be making a mistake if you don't bring him in.'"
Ball first joined York in 2011 the day after he wrapped up his playing career at Gwynedd-Mercy College. An apprentice that season under then Revs' baseball operations manager Michael Kirk, Ball took over for Kirk the next year when Kirk left to take a similar position for the expansion Sugar Land (Texas) Skeeters. In Ball's two seasons at the post, he helped Mason put together rosters that went a combined 144-139, including a playoff appearance in 2012.
"It's been tremendous," Ball said of his time in York. "I'm not lying when I say this, I told everyone when I was interviewing (with the Rays), I'm not leaving the Atlantic League because I'm not happy here. I liked working in the Atlantic League more than I could have ever imagined. The reason I had offers is because people were impressed with the amount of decisions I had here."
Plus, there's a chance the Rays could bring Ball on board with a permanent position following the 2014 season. Or perhaps the experience with Tampa Bay could lead to a position with another big league club.
"Even though I'm not totally thrilled to take an internship, they do hire from within," Ball said.
Search: Mason said the Revs' front office will take care of finding the next baseball operations manager while he puts together the 2014 roster. Mason is already busy searching for a new pitching coach following the recent departure of John Halama from that position after just one season.
"What we'll do initially, I'm gonna take care of all the baseball stuff for now," Mason said. "I'm gonna handle the baseball end and then once we get somebody in here, I'll work with that person and try to train them depending on how much experience they've had."
-- Reach John Walk at firstname.lastname@example.org.