By: Austin Weaver, @AustinTWeaver
For some, working for the hometown team is the dream, but for Jamie Ramsey, that dream is a reality. Ramsey, current Cincinnati Reds Assistant Director of Media Relations, started working with the team as a sophomore at Miami (OH) University.
“The spring after I transferred back home from Central Michigan, some of my friends started working on the Reds’ ground crew. I told them I was interested in working with them if the opportunity presented itself. While no positions were available at the time, one of the full-time guys quit in the middle of the season and I was offered a position on the grounds crew.”
After graduating from Miami University with a degree in Mass Communications, Ramsey found a new role within the Reds organization.
“After graduating, I needed to find a job and really wanted to stay in Cincinnati with the Reds. After looking throughout the organization, I landed in the merchandising department. I figured I was on my way and was really excited to continue working for the Reds.”
Ramsey was working in the merchandising department when the Reds traded for Ken Griffey Jr. and witnessed the increased merchandising sales, but felt disconnected from the education he had received and the goals he had set for himself.
“I really didn’t take to the merchandising role very well and knew that the media relations department hired a couple of interns every year. I reached out to the media relations department and said I wanted to intern with them and would give up my full-time role in merchandising if they would hire me as an intern.”
Ramsey would be hired as an intern with the media relations department and gave up his full-time position, which also meant giving up a salary and benefits.
“While that season was not a great season on the field for the Reds, I loved the internship and knew that this type of work was what I wanted to pursue.”
The conclusion of his internship also meant the start of yet another job hunt.
“I started applying for jobs with minor league teams, like most people who are looking to work within media relations do early in their careers and one day was summoned to John Allen’s office. Allen was the chief operating officer of the Reds at the time. I was wondering what I had done wrong, but I was actually being offered a job. Allen had created a new position within the media relations department for me. I was so moved that he did that for me and that I would be a full-time employee with the Reds again.”
As a media relations assistant, Ramsey was part of a four person team that has since become a three man show.
“In 2006, Mike [Vassallo] left for the Milwaukee Brewers, leaving Larry Herms and myself as assistant directors of media relations. My responsibilities with the Reds takes place mainly behind the scenes. I do a lot of work on our media guide, our social media channels, assist with the daily game notes and travel with the team about three times a year where I am the liaison between the players, staff and the media.”
For Reds fans, Ramsey is also the man behind the Better Off Reds’ blog.
“We had an intern [Jim Misudek] come up with the idea of a behind the scenes blog and as a department we thought it was a great idea and told him to run with it. Where Jim had problems was with the access he had to the players. As an intern, there were certain areas where he didn’t have the freedoms that I have the luxury of using. After Jim moved on after his internship ended, I was able to rename the blog, reformat it and really run with it.”
The success of the blog has led to a podcast that Ramsey also hosts.
“I always say that the blog is the back of the cereal box. The Reds are the actual cereal and the blog is the fun stuff on the box. My target audience isn’t just die-hard fans, but also the casual fan.”
When asked what skills someone with an interest in media relations need to be successful, Ramey offered, “You have to be able to communicate. You have to have a personality and recognize what you bring to the table and where your weaknesses are. You should be tenacious, don’t give up when things get tough, but you also have to remain professional. Build relationships with people, but you can’t just build a relationship that you use to get ahead. You have to be a good person, get along with others and be able to work with others to reach a common goal.”
Ramey took a chance in order to intern with the Reds’ media relations department and now gets to work with the departments interns. So, what traits does he want to see in interns?
“I look for humility, our interns are going to grind for a 162-game schedule. Interns will make a lot of copies and write a lot of text without a lot of pats on the back. I want someone who understands what their limits are and can handle being on the bottom of the totem pole. Interns are going to spend a lot of time looking up and I want people that understand and respect that. We want to hire someone that is going to come in and work hard for us and in return we will work hard to help them find a job after their time with us.”
Many individuals in the sports industry speak on the importance of a mentor and Ramsey is no different.
“Rob [Butcher] is an amazing role model for me. The way that he treats everyone is admirable. We are not executives, but he goes out of his way to treat us like we are. Beyond that, I have learned so much from his writing style, he never wastes words. I try and mold my writing into a Rob Butcher style of writing. Its cliché, but I ask myself all the time, ‘What would Rob do in this situation?’ He is a beacon of how to conduct yourself and he has been invaluable for me, personally.”
While Ramsey has experienced a high level of accomplishment, if he had the chance to go back to the start and do anything different, he would take advantage of the learning opportunities.
“I wish I would have been more aggressive at learning a wide variety of skills. The ability to speak Spanish would have given me a leg up coming out of school and continues to be important in this type of work. I would also tell myself to continue to work hard even when things get tough and if you work hard things will always work out in the end.”