(Photo via SportsLogos.net, seen here)
Heading down to the Cape for the summer sounds like a relaxing proposition to most, but for interns with the Brewster Whitecaps it sounds more like an opportunity to build their future. As part of the Cape Cod Baseball League (CCBBL) the Whitecaps need about 20 interns every summer to run their operation.
“Without [the internship program] we literally couldn’t make the games work,” Whitecaps VP of Game Day Operations Paige Ferraguto said. “I call it the team within the team. They’re sort of under sung.” The game day interns, who Ferraguto oversees, are responsible for the fan experience. They do everything from making sure the field is presentable to fundraising to cover the team’s operation costs. If you go to a Whitecaps game and the bathroom is well-stocked, an intern probably did that too.
Like the players, interns come from across the entire country to spend the summer in Brewster, Massachusetts. However, the path for interns is often more difficult because they have to find their own housing unlike the players who stay with host families. Ferraguto says she is constantly surprised at how innovative interns get when it comes to finding housing and that she knows people are resourceful when they find a way to make living on the Cape work, something she might reference in a letter of recommendation later.
The benefit to interns is that referenceable experience. Between Ferraguto and the Whitecaps’ other internship supervisor, Mike Gradone, every intern walks away from the Whitecaps with a letter of recommendation along with real-world experience that they can use in the future. According to Ferraguto, CCBBL’s longevity and reputation means interns are eager to come and make connections. In her three years, she has never struggled to find interns because any student who wants to get into sports management, broadcasting, or organizing knows the CCBBL is the place to be.
“We have the good fortune of a good reputation,” Ferraguto said. Along with working for an organization with a good reputation, interns get the chance to interact with fans, many of whom have great connections as well as being rabid baseball fans.
A major task for Whitecaps interns is asking the crowd for donations. It costs between $150,000-180,000 each year to run the team, and the interns are in charge of raising a portion of that money. To do that, interns partner with off-day pitchers to engage fans and encourage them to contribute. Every day is different, giving interns experience interacting with a variety of people and making their time on the Cape anything but monotonous.
Interns also get the opportunity to see big league players before they make it, adding to the excitement of their internship. A memorable Whitecap currently playing in the MLB is Aaron Judge. Recently, the Whitecaps started developing LinkedIn profiles for their interns, both to give them a way to market themselves, and to keep track of their success. It’s easy for the Whitecaps to know if their players ended up making it, but they want to know if their interns have similar success. Measuring success, to Ferraguto, is partially where interns end up, but mostly in the skills they build that could help them in any industry.
“The intangibles come when kids understand it’s an opportunity,” Ferraguto said. “Opportunity to interface with players, opportunity to interface with coaches and opportunity to interface with fan base…if a kid is smart and has some initiative they’ll be able to turn that into something great.”
Being an intern for the Whitecaps is mostly what the interns make of it, but they have the chance to make it something great that can benefit their future if they make the most of their time.