Touring The Bases With…Lindsey Knupp
Lindsey Knupp is the Promotions and Entertainment Director for the Lehigh Valley IronPigs located in Allentown, PA. They have been an Affiliate of the 2009 National League Champions Philadelphia Phillies since 2008, the year they were World Champions!
Lindsey Knupp: My very first job working in baseball was as an intern for the Reading Phillies Baseball Club.Â I was a junior in college and I noticed an advertisement for the Reading Phillies internship and I applied.Â I interviewed with the hiring manager at that time, Ashley Forlini, in November of 2003 (for the 2004 season).
The Reading Phillies could not offer a full time position upon graduating (May 2005).Â I decided to take a job with a Company doing sales and making nothing but cold calls all day long.Â I was not exactly happy in my current job, so Ashley would send me leads on other teams hiring in various departments.Â Many of the positions would require me to relocate far from home.Â One day I received an email from Ashley asking if I would consider interviewing for a full-time as a Sales Position with the Reading Phillies.Â I was extremely excited, and took the first opportunity available to interview with General Manager, Chuck Domino.
Chuck helped me to get the position that I now hold today (Director, Promotions & Entertainment with the Lehigh Valley IronPigs). Chuck was the General Manager who gave me my first opportunity to learn the business of baseball when he hired me as a Client Relationship Manager for the Reading Phillies.
Mr. Domino was then promoted to President of both the Reading Phillies & the Lehigh Valley IronPigs (the new construction project for Triple-A Phillies in Allentown, PA).Â Then in November of 2007, Chuck introduced me to IronPigs General Manager, Kurt Landes.
Chuck is currently the President of Richmond Flying Squirrels in Richmond, West Virginia and is involved in other teams as well.
SEAMHEADS: Who were your mentors in baseball?
Knupp: There are two people, Chuck Domino and Scott Hunsicker, currently General Manager of the Reading Phillies. The message I received from both men is to help out people, to make a difference in the community. Most people do not know what we do, behind the scenes.Â Enabling children to run around the field prior to game, giving a child a small memento makes a lasting memory in the childes mind. And you also bring families together.
SEAMHEADS: What does your job consist of?Â What are your responsibilities?
Knupp: As the Director of Promotions & Entertainment for the IronPigs, I am responsible for corporate sales, ordering promotional giveaways, all in-game entertainment, generating the nightly PA script & game production schedule, run staff meetings before each home stand, book bands & National Anthem singers, coordinate the Internship Program for thirteen full-time interns, manage promo crew game-staff, and manage mascots and performers.
SEAMHEADS: When did you get interested in baseball?
Knupp: I have been interested in baseball all of my life. My dad and I would watch games together when I was growing up and I was always playing softball. I played on a traveling softball team from the time I was ten until I was eighteen. I played every weekend in a tournament in some nearby (or not so nearby) states.Â My dad was always trying to get me to listen to motivational tapes, to learn visualization techniques and set goals growing up.
SEAMHEADS: What career were you considering while in college?
Knupp: I studied Business and Marketing.Â I was never 100% sure of the exact career I wanted in college, I just knew that I wanted to have a degree that allowed me to have options.Â Baseball just happened to be one of those great options.
SEAMHEADS: What is the most outstanding memory you have with the IronPigs?
Knupp: I was lucky enough to join the IronPigs in 2007, before the beautiful Coca-Cola Park was built & we were working in a stiff, old building with a ton of cubicles.Â I have never before worked so many hours in my life as I did that year.Â Watching the ballpark being built before our eyes, and being a part of this team from the very beginning is something I will always cherish.
The best thing about working with the IronPigs is that I truly get to make a difference in the lives of those who live in the Lehigh Valley.Â Coca-Cola Park gives families in the Lehigh Valley a place to go out together to enjoy family time. I only wish it was here when I was growing up!
SEAMHEADS: Please explain the name IronPigs?
Knupp: We are located in Lehigh Valley, home of Bethlehem Steel Corp, the largest steel Corporation in America. New York skyscrapers, the Empire State Building, the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco were built with steel that came from Bethlehem Steel.Â PigIron is raw iron that is melted down and refined to make steel. We did a name the team contest before our new park was built and PigIron was the fans favorite. We reversed the name.
SEAMHEADS: Any players on your team make the Majors?
Knupp: Yes, several players did: J.A. Happ, Kyle Kendrick, Brett Meyers, Chad Durbin, Miguel Cairo (REDS) and Dominic Brown.
SEAMHEADS: What is it about your job you love the most?
Knupp:Â I love our fans!Â Working games and interacting with our fans is by far the most rewarding part of my job.Â Seeing eyes light up when kids step out onto the field and the excitement on their faces when they are into the on field contests is the best.Â I love making people happy!!
SEAMHEADS: Other than the IronPigs, what is your favorite team?
Knupp: Without a doubt, the 2008 World Champions, Philadelphia Phillies
SEAMHEADS: What is the most difficult part of your job?
Knupp: Adapting, and enduring constant change.Â No matter how much planning goes into a game or event there are always things that are uncontrollable. During the season, things such as weather can change many things that we had planned for the game that evening.Â We never know how some fans will react or compete in various contests and we just have to keep moving forward and play it off the best we can when â€œmistakesâ€ happen.
SEAMHEADS:Â Did you play sports in High School or college?
Knupp: Yes, I played softball and field hockey in High School and in college, I played field hockey and was a two time All-American at Shippensburg University, the college I attended.
SEAMHEADS: Where were you raised?
Knupp: I was raised in Treichlers, PA and attended Northampton High School.Â Treichlers is located in the Lehigh Valley, near Allentown, in the Eastern part of Pennsylvania.
SEAMHEADS: What college did you attend? What was your Major?
Knupp: I went to Shippensburg University located in Shippensburg, PA.Â My Major was marketing and my Minor was Spanish.
SEAMHEADS: Do you believe dreams come true?Â Have any of yours?
Knupp: I believe that if you take your dreams and turn them into goals, they can absolutely come true.Â Anything is possible if you are willing to work for it.
SEAMHEADS: What is the most outstanding memory you have working for the IronPigs?
Knupp: Without a doubt, hosting the Triple-A All Star Game this past 2010 season.Â A great deal of planning went into the event, including the decision to bring in a performance group (a steel drum band that also did choreographed break dancing) from Jamaica to perform between rounds of our Home Run Derby.
When the ten Jamaicans arrived at the airport two days before the event, they had 75% of their equipment with them…what they were missing were their six large bass drums (scheduled to arrive the following afternoon).Â At approximately 8pm the next evening (the night before the Home Run Derby) me and my three HRD team members and ten Jamaicans found out that the bass drums were not going to clear customs in time for our event.
One of the performers said that if we would be able to get them six large fifty-five gallon steel oilcans, they could build the drums overnight (something that traditionally took him two to three weeks to create).Â That was our only option.
I immediately left Coca-Cola Park with another team member in search of the requested oilcans (basically trash cans made of steel) and we drove to all of the local parks and recreation facilities we could think of in search of these steel cans!Â One by one we brought them back to the ballpark and the Jamaicans turned them upside-down and began hammering away at them to turn them into musical instruments.
By four AM that morning, we (and by we I mean the Jamaicans) had built six steel drums and went home for just a few hours rest before coming back the next morning to paint the finishing touches on them.Â The show ended up going on with the drums made the previous night and the fans absolutely loved them!Â They were a huge hit and we even had them perform at other events during the All Star Week with our â€œhomemadeâ€ drums!
SEAMHEADS: What American women do you admire the most?
Knupp: Oprah Winfrey.Â She is extremely successful and made her fortune for herself…she earned $1.35 billion over the last five years alone.Â More importantly and noteworthy is that in her twenty-five years on TV, she has helped millions of women (and men) feel that someone understands them, can relate to them, and gives them hope for a better tomorrow.
SEAMHEADS: What makes you successful at your job?
Knupp:Â I think my energy, passion and excitement for each and every game makes me good at my job.Â It is difficult to be overly excited for a Monday night baseball game in (sometimes snowy) April weather but I do my best to go into every night like it is the only one of the year.Â No matter the time of season, there are always fans who have never before been to our ballpark or seen an IronPigs game and they deserve a great show. And that is what weâ€™re going to give them!
SEAMHEADS: What was the biggest obstacle you overcame to get into baseball?
Knupp: Deciding that I was willing to work for a company doing work that I truly enjoy and I am passionate about. Working for a company with opportunities to make over $100,000 my first 2 years out of college (but not enjoying the work I was doing whatsoever).
SEAMHEADS: Do the IronPigs have a mascot?
Knupp: We have two primary mascots, Ferrous and FeFe. They are a male and female IronPig. We also have three Pork Racers: Diggity, Hambone and Chris P. Bacon who appear during each game as well as frequently in the community.
SEAMHEADS: Who would you love to change places with for a day?
Knupp: I would love to live the life of a movie star for a day, Jennifer Aniston.
SEAMHEADS: Who are a few Major League players you enjoy watching?
Knupp: Ryan Howard. I was working with the Reading Phillies as an intern when he was coming up through the organization. He spent most of his summer breaking records in Reading before getting called up to the Phillies.Â Brian Schneider. He is a backup catcher for the Phillies and a fellow Northhampton Konkrete Kid! (a) We graduated from the same high school, so it is always great to see a local guy playing for your big league team.
SEAMHEADS: What are some of your favorite things?
Knupp: I enjoy everything outdoors: hiking, skiing, boating, softball and spending time with my favorite person in the world â€“ my nephew, Kaden J.
SEAMHEADS: What is your greatest accomplishment since you joined the IronPigs?
Knupp: Making it through the first ever season played here at Coca-Cola Park. A lot of work went into that year and seeing how far the IronPigs have come since day one is simply amazing.
SEAMHEADS: If you were not working in baseball, what would you be doing?
Knupp: It was always a dream of mine when I was younger to be a Gym Teacher or an Athletic Director.
SEAMHEADS: What is your favorite ballpark to watch a game?
Knupp: Citizens Bank Park, home of the Philadelphia Phillies. The energy of the fans is great, the park is always sold out, and the fans are always in red and blue. It is so exciting to watch a game here. I saw game five of the World Series in 2008 and also saw a few playoff games in 2009.
SEAMHEADS: Aside from your team, what is your favorite team uniform?
Knupp: The Field Hockey Uniforms worn by the team at Shippensburg University.Â The best times of my life were spent wearing those kilts and jerseys!
SEAMHEADS: What advice would you give a young woman considering a career in baseball?
Knupp: Be strong! If you have an opinion, or an idea, share it!Â So many people hold back (men included) and are afraid to speak in meetings because they donâ€™t know what others might think or say.Â The way I look at it, if you say nothing, you learn nothing.Â Speak your mind and share your ideas â€“ creativity is golden in this industry!
(a)Â Â Â Â Koncrete Kid. That was the name of the mascot at the High School I attended. There are any concrete companies located in this area, hence the name.
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Norm Coleman is a sports writer, actor and photographer. He resides in Half Moon Bay, California