Every April kids across the world join their parents at work for the day. We’re strong believers in the tactile learning experience and wanted to join in the action. Our office is filled with empty nesters and not there yets alike so we thought we’d share our workday with you. Our Life Of series is pretty close in style to the questionnaire a kid might have to fill out as a homework assignment so we thought we’d borrow some of Sam’s questions and answer them in-house for you.
How did baseballEBM get started?
Pasi Samela, who is a Finish fan of their own version of baseball called pesäpallo, released the magazine’s first issue in October 2015. Back then we were a monthly, subscription-based magazine that provided about 12 articles an issue for purchase through the app.
Sam was scrolling the local baseball team’s Facebook page and saw a message about the magazine. After reaching out to Pasi, Sam began writing for the magazine in November of the same year.
In May of 2016, the format switched to a free daily publication with regular rotating content that included news, training and culture along with standings and features. Sam was named Editor-in-Chief and Mister-Baseball joined the news staff for the season.
Since the beginning we’ve had a regular rotation of outstanding writings from across the world. In season we had several guest writers who were from other lands now living in Europe that combined their love of the game with their knowledge from the homeland to provide unique perspectives on the sports. A Korean writing living in France, for example, brought us the story behind the Yoshida Challenge.
We also utilized the travel plans of some Europeans heading abroad for international events. Their first-hand accounts of some of the season’s biggest events, including the WBCQ and the World Series, offered readers around the globe a strong cultural understanding of the similarities and differences between our nations as well as our games.
Just like all the teams in Europe we like to use the off-season to improve our team’s game year-to-year. This winter our focus was on upgrading the technological experience for our readers. Right now we’re putting the finishing touches our new website and upgrades to the app that will reinvigorate how fans interact with baseballEBM.
What time do things get started at baseballEBM?
Depending on the day, and what articles are going live, we generally start between 6:00-7:00am. All articles are scheduled to go live at 8:00 CET so you can get your daily dose in on the morning commute. When things, such as breaking news, need to be set up for the morning we get an earlier start.
During the WBC last month we were following all the games involving EU teams. Those were a bit more complicated than our usual story uploads. In addition to creating the written reports we were also socializing throughout the game and checking the MLB and WBC sites for photos and video.
As an affiliated media outlet of the MLB we were allowed to utilize the content they produced so we created highlight reels from every game to accompany each day’s game piece and enhance the reader’s experience of the games. When we had two teams playing in a day, we covered both. Even when teams played overnight in Europe, we were providing live coverage for fans abroad, all while continuing to run the daily articles and social media our fans have come to expect.
What does a typical day look like?
After the content goes live we test the articles to ensure everything is functioning properly across all handheld devices, both IOS and Android capable, as well as on the web.
Next we produce the social media content. We post to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram daily and, as the occasion warrants, we may also upload content to YouTube or create a page within Pineterest to accompany an article.
After everything is live and socialized we begin creating content for the next day. From interviewing to transcription, everyone is working on their upcoming pieces. Those not working on a specific article are reviewing transactions and injury reports as well as looking for patterns in the statistics that may lead to an upcoming story.
About once a week we also get together and plan another week’s worth of content. We try to stay about four weeks ahead of schedule so we always plan what we call evergreen content – stuff that is not date sensitive – along with content relevant to what is happening on the bigger stage in our sports. For example, last summer, when the Olympic decision was on the horizon, we created Olympic-themed articles the full week leading up to the final IOC announcement.
Naturally, we are also covering what’s hot in our sports so, when one of those leads we’ve been looking at in the stats and transactions becomes a topic we need to expand on, we put pen to paper and get it out to the fans.
Beyond the every day items we generally have on-going projects to fill in any spare time. We handle all the tech in-house so things like our new website, which launches later this month, round out our days along with normal business items like advertising sales, archiving projects and meetings with Federations.
How does this all differ from reporting live from events?
On event days, where we’re live at a tournament, training or meetings, we try to socialize at least once every three hours throughout the day to keep fans up-to-date on what’s happening.
Founder Pasi Salmela at joint ESF-CEB congress
When we’re not online we’re getting interviews, watching games and making new friends. If the opportunity arises to do a quick stand-up from the event we make a video recording and send it back to the office, along with notes, for editing and posting.
During any event we will generally record 3-5 interviews to be used in a different ways over the following month. Keeping in mind our regular content rotation, we ask players and coaches to participate in a variety ways from recording training day content to helping us test out DIY eye black.
What is the most fun part of the week at baseballEBM?
Everyone really gets into the culture pieces, especially those involving eating and music. Of course, over the holiday season last year we had a bit of internal competition going with the DIY projects as well. Those created some unexpected results, both impressive and hysterical.
The hardest part of the job?
With all the languages across our sports it can become comical at times to find a way to get an interview. We are so thankful to those who are happy to share their stories with us and appreciative of the friends they’ve enlisted to help them out. We’ve done written interviews Q&A style using interpreters, conducted Skype interviews that would have ended three minutes in without free online translators and, in some instances, managed to score two interviews when we expected one because the interpreter had a great story we wanted to tell as well.
Best part of the job
All the amazing relationships we’ve been able to form with people in the community. So many friendships have grown out of those very language barrier exchanges. As often happens when you have that ah-ha moment between strangers, you realize the misinterpretation has occurred and the mistake is both understandable and delightful. Laughter always seems to be the open doorway to friendship.
Many-a-night we’ve also had stories we thought would be big, fizzle last minute. Either what should have been a close matchup turns into a blowout or interview times got interrupted by real life situations like sick kids.
In those cases we’ve been floored by the response we get from photographers, volunteers and front offices across the European leagues. If you enjoy reading our more quirky articles, chances are you have one of them to thank. Panic is a great catalyst for creativity and they are always more than willing to jump into a brainstorming session with us day or night.
Anything you want the world to know?
This year’s theme for Take Your Kids To Work Day is “Count On Me”. We hope that’s what you’ve learned to do in our last two years working together. baseballEBM strives to be your go-to source for all things regarding our community’s needs. We are always open to new ideas and welcome collaborations. We have in-house experts with tons of sports experience running organizations so never hesitate to ask us for help. Lastly, we hope you’ll utilize us as a networking tool. We have been so fortunate to make friends and build relationships across many federations. We strive to build on that network daily, not only for your benefit as a reader but as a club. If you see people doing things in another community you’d like to try yourself, contact us. Chances are we can get you in touch with someone who speaks the same language and can help you figure out how to get started. If we don’t have someone in our immediate rolodex we’ll help you find that person and expand our reach together.
The official date for this year’s Kids at Work Day is April 27, 2017, but you can plan for an event like this any time you like. In fact, it might be the perfect plan for increasing volunteers at the ballpark. Get people excited about volunteering by letting them learn all the different ways they can participate in your organization - from concessions to press box, umpiring to grounds crew. We recommend taking a look at this
planning packet for brainstorming ideas on how to tailor a program to meet your ballpark’s volunteer needs.