It was one of the first things he said to me. The team’s general manager told me, the social media manager, that I couldn’t speak to players—because I might sleep with them. How do you successfully leverage social media without access to the one thing people care about in sports? It was a trip. I couldn’t believe it even came out of his mouth. I honestly should have known then exactly what it’d be like working there.
Fortunately, the PR director knew it was ridiculous and said I could do whatever I needed to. Still, they preferred that I stay out of the clubhouse. The PR intern (male) had full access. But me (female manager) had to stalk players going from the clubhouse to batting practice. Eventually, I was able to build my own professional rapport with the team.
But the whole environment was toxic. I think it’s well documented that MiLB is a cesspool. Just less so for office workers. I felt that in order to “make it,” you had to forfeit your personal life and goals for the “glamour” of working in sports.
I was blamed for the wifi being out. It fell under the purview of someone else, but I was still screamed at by two grown men. The hours were batshit bonkers. I had to beg for a night off to go to my aunt’s wedding. The GM asked if I could skip the reception and come back to work. I missed my cousin’s college graduation because I had to choose between that or the wedding since it was back-to-back nights.
Of course, we were paid pennies, too. The pay structure was based on commission from ticket sales. Doesn’t take a brain surgeon to know group tickets and corporate sponsorship sales did all right. I was in charge of social media and the merchandise store, then was given $2 Tuesday ticket packages to sell. So, no time to sell, and something with a small return to sell. Then, I was reamed for not pushing tickets.
Goes without saying that every word out the general manager’s mouth was a lie or lip service. He was the ultimate chameleon. Whatever situation he was in, he’d adapt to try to appear that he was better than he was. If he was around owners, he was a polite kiss-ass with “business savvy.” If he was around MLB players on rehab or other teams’ top prospects, he’d pretend to know every finite detail about them and their careers. He’d want to talk shop and try to give them tips as if they needed or wanted it. If he was around families at the ballpark, he’d portray himself as the quintessential family man. It was embarrassing.
When I left, I needed a few months to “get back to myself.” My family told me I had started morphing into a negative-focused person because of my job. There were some good apples in the bunch, but the toxicity of the bad ones was unparalleled. I think when you’re immersed in a hostile environment, your defense mechanism is to adopt the characteristics of the ones attacking you. You see it in work environments, families, marriages—people harden themselves and become harsh to keep from being hurt. It took some time for me to start thinking and behaving like my old self. In hindsight, I had become quick to anger, made snide comments for no reason—about anything and everything, really. I was being swallowed by selfishness.
I quit without notice early in the season. But who wouldn’t? I was 105 pounds, from the stress.
I packed up my office in the middle of a doubleheader. When it was over, I went into the general manager’s office and gave him my keys. I told him I was quitting and wouldn’t be back. He asked me if I was going to be there for the rest of the homestand. I reiterated I was walking out the doors and never coming back. He was watching the radar to see if it’d rain that night and was having the staff gather to pull tarp over the field. His final response was, “Well, I guess you’re not pulling tarp?” I said no. Then he said, “Yeah, I guess that would be anticlimactic.” I just left after that. It was like talking to a brick wall at that point.
This story is part of our Bad Bosses project, a reported collection of accounts from workers about their terrible bosses and the system that creates them. You can read more about the entire project and find every story here. Annotations—highlighted throughout—can be clicked for further context and comment from other parties. Got your own bad boss story? Send us an email.