We’ve all heard those cliché expressions. “You have to follow your dreams”, and “you can only get there if you try as hard as you can try”. Well, during my trip the Winter Meetings in National Harbor, Maryland, I met the guy that wanted to put those clichés to the test.
His name is Jeremy Rochford, a 28 year old from California, who has had various jobs throughout MiLB, and has tried to follow his dream of becoming a scout since he was a junior in high school.
What did he do?
He packed his bags, flew across the continental USA, and landed in the Nation’s Capital, with his huge sign, which reads “PLEASE INTERVIEW ME”, hoping that someone would take it seriously and offer him a position.
I had seen him multiple times in the lobby of the Gaylord National, and I had seen some people taking photos with him, laughing (in a good way) and he even got on the MLB Network at one point.
After learning a little bit about him, I wanted to interview with him for MetsPlus, as it sounded like a surreal story, and after speaking with him, I almost felt like hunting down executives to give him a chance, because he was so passionate about his craft. I asked him some questions, and here are some of the memorable answers he gave me:
Niko Goutakolis: How long have you worked do become a scout?
Jeremy Rockford: I knew that I wanted to become a scout since I was a kid, evaluator or an executive since I was a kid, and I’ve been applying for jobs since I was in 11th grade.
Niko: What is your experience?
Jeremy: I’ve had some internships the last few years. Minor League video with the Rockies this past season, I also drove to San Fransisco to edit video with MLB, and I moved out to Pennsylvania to do video scouting. Before that, I worked as a ticket agent for the Lake Elsinore Storm, and I would try to finish my shift early so I could go out and watch the Storm hit batting practice.
Niko : How did you progress out of the internships?
Jeremy: 2013 was the first year I got really sick of it. So, I decided to go out and do my own scouting at High School and Minor League Games. I would talk to other scouts, and pick their brains, and write my own reports. It’s been a four year drive.
Niko: Is this your first Winter Meetings?
Jeremy: I actually went to the Winter Meetings two years ago in San Diego, I live an hour north of San Diego, I tried to email people. Get some meet-ups and network a little bit, and it didn’t go too well. This time around, I decided I would come out with a different strategy.
Niko: Tell me about your strategy, your “Interview Me sign”?
Jeremy: People have told me about it getting on TV, and it’s a definitly gaining attention, which was the intention. There are hundred and hundred of people looking for a job in Baseball, some of which want a job in Baseball operations like me. Most of them are wearing suits and have finely cut hair and all that other good stuff, and this is something that tries to make me stand out. I want to do something that helps me stand out. Whether or not it was a good thing, some people have laughed at me, and that’s fine.
Niko: What would you say to a kid that wants to get into Baseball Operations but has zero experience?
Jeremy: If it’s something you truly want, you’ve got to stay persistent, day after day, year after year. It’s not going to be easy, and you have to remember most of those people fail. The majority of the people do, and that’s just what happens. So you have to stay persistent and you have to speak your mind, not arrogant but yourself. When I was first trying to break into the game, I was very humble, and when I came out with a humble attitude, it didn’t work out. So, I learned that I had to be more on the aggressive side, and that’s the advice I would give.
Thanks to Mr.Rochford for taking the time to answer these questions, I hope you get the opportunity you’ve been yearning for, your perseverance is admirable!