Jarah Wright has worked in a variety of roles throughout Minor League Baseball in a career that began in 2011. Since then she has worked for the Frisco RoughRiders, Idaho Falls Chukars, Quad Cities River Bandits and currently the Pulaski Yankees. We had the opportunity to speak with Wright, about her career, experiences, and mentors that have helped her along the way.
Wright played softball in high school and was offered a full scholarship to Auburn University when a concussion would bring her playing days to an abrupt halt. When the realization that playing sports were a thing of the past, she chose to stay close to home and attend Tyler Junior College to focus on her future.
“Baseball happened on accident. I planned on playing college softball; I had a full ride to play at Auburn. During high school, I had a really bad sports concussion that caused some brain damage, and the doctors said I need to hang up my cleats.”
While attending Junior College, she would get involved with the student newspaper, which didn’t have anybody covering the baseball team. Working with the student newspaper would be where she started her career in baseball.
“The first game I ended up talking to the head coach, it was his first season, and he was trying to purchase pictures from the local newspaper because nobody was taking pictures of them. I was like I work for the student newspaper, have my camera equipment, I don’t mind. If you want pictures just tell me, I’ll show up and take pictures. He was like ‘Oh would you?’ That’s how I got into baseball reporting. It was good starting out in junior college because I was able to make mistakes early on, learn how to fix them and grow as a writer.”
With some experience under her belt, Wright would move on to internships in Minor League baseball. She has worn a few different hats while she has worked in the industry and her experiences have included media relations, sales, box office, promotions, social media and grounds crew duties.
“Looking back it’s crazy. You never think that you’re going to end up going down the path that you go down. I was offered my first minor league internship; I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I ended up in Frisco for a full calendar year and learned so much. The broadcaster that hired me Aaron Goldsmith (Play-by-play announcer for the Seattle Mariners Radio Network,) I cannot say enough good things about him and him taking a chance. When I first applied for an internship there, I had maybe 20 sports clips and some pictures. He ended up giving me a shot. Frisco was my first internship; it taught me the basics of the business. Idaho the next season toughened me up. That was the season from hell that made me question whether or not I was going even to stay in baseball. [In] Quad Cities, I took a box office internship to test how much I wanted to stay in media and learn more about the business. This year it all came together. I’ve got to manage the media department and get a better idea of what I want to do.”
It hasn’t been an easy path as Wright has faced belittling on the job, she recalled an incident in which Coach Steve Buechele stepped in to help.
“I was belittled in front of an entire team in the middle of batting practice by broadcasters. They told me I had no idea what I was doing, I’m an awful person, girls don’t know anything about baseball, and I can just go back to the office. Steve (Buechele) stepped in. He said if I ever needed to get away from that guy to re-group or needed a place to work without that environment that I could sit in his office.”
Mentors are essential and play a significant role in a person’s successful career development. A good mentor will provide feedback, support, and guidance during good times as well as difficult times. An introduction to minor league reporter Jessica Quiroli through social media would blossom into friendship and mentorship.
“Jessica Quiroli, for sure. I met her through Twitter. We’ve been good friends since I think that 2011 season. 2012 was my first season in the minors, and I had some issues come up. I had no idea what I was doing, no idea how to handle them. She helped me out. She’s helped guide me along the route of being a woman in baseball and trying to grow as a writer. I had some tough issues come up my first two seasons. There was a lot of harassment, belittling and sexual content aimed at me and I didn’t know how to handle it. I private messaged her and was able to work through it.”
Working in Minor League Baseball isn’t for the faint of heart. It requires hard work, dedication, long hours and sacrifices. Wright has missed weddings, child births, numerous birthdays and family events. With sacrifices comes the payoff and one of her favorite perks of the job are finding unique player stories that haven’t been told.
“I really like getting to tell stories that no one else has found yet. One of my favorite things last season was I got to interview David Paulino with the Astros. He doesn’t speak almost any English. I can speak some Spanish. Between the two of us, we were able to knock out an interview. I like talking to the Hispanic and Latino guys and being able to tell their stories. A lot of times because they don’t speak great English, people don’t make the effort to try to get to know them. They have some of the best stories out there if you just try to make the effort to talk to them.”
Whether you’re in the baseball industry or aspire to be, Wright offers the following advice:
“If there’s somebody that you want advice from, somebody that can help you in your career, ask. The worst thing that they can say is no.”
*Photo courtesy of Jarah Wright.