While most baseball fans at Rider watched the Philadelphia Phillies win the 2008 World Series on their televisions, two Rider students had the opportunity to view the event from a unique perspective.
Instead of having to pay the high price for a ticket to baseball’s showcase event, junior Kelly Dixon and senior Sean Rainey were paid to work it as part of the FOX Sports television crew that was stationed at Citizen’s Bank Park in Philadelphia.
Dixon, from Concordville, Pa., has been working in the television field and for sporting events for over a year and half. The communication major, who has a track in radio and television, worked for FOX during the National League Championship Series (NLCS), and now had the privilege of working for Major League Baseball International, aiding the production of the show during the Fall Classic.
While on the job prior to the NLCS, Dixon knew the perfect person to call to help with the series.
Rainey, a communication major with a track in radio and television and a huge Phillies fan, jumped at the opportunity when it was presented to him by Dixon.
“I got a phone call about a week before the NLCS was scheduled to start from Kelly Dixon,” Rainey said. “Her boss, Steve Grigley, asked her if she knew anyone that would be interested in the runner’s position and if I wanted the job. I said yes right away.”
As a runner, Rainey would assist in any way necessary, whether it was picking up the post-game meal for the crew or being on the field, breaking down the set used by the FOX pre-game show.
“The workload varies depending on the day and the amount of supplies which are left over from previous days,” Rainey said. “Some days I am constantly running and other days are more relaxed.”
Dixon first began in the sports television field when she was asked to work the Little League World Series.
“I was nervous and didn’t want to do it,” Dixon said. “Now it has helped me so much and after that experience, I started networking and have landed many jobs since then. It turned out great.”
Rainey believes he has been very lucky and acknowledges that he got the job because he is a Phillies fan.
“If Kelly did not know I’m a big Phillies fan, I don’t think she would have called me first,” he said. “Then, after she sent me a text message saying ‘you will get a call shortly,’ I just sat by my phone waiting for it to ring.”
Even with the demanding hours of the job, Rainey explained that nothing was better than being at the ballpark for free. As a fan, that seems to be the best scenario one can desire, but Dixon and Rainey got a lot more out of this experience. They had the privilege to meet many different people who produce a sports broadcast that the entire world is watching. The pair spoke with co-workers who explained how they got the job and what previous activities they did in order to land this opportunity.
Dixon felt that she benefited greatly from the experience.
“This was an amazing opportunity working for FOX and MLB,” she said.
Rainey learned a lot from all of his acquaintances and is very pleased, knowing this will greatly improve his résumé.
“Everyone kept saying what I’m currently doing will help me later when I start looking for a job since I have experience in a remote broadcast,” he said. “It may not be the job of director, but not everyone can say they were part of the crew which produced the NLCS and World Series.”
Rainey is a partial season ticket holder for the Phillies, but admits that the Fightin’ Phils are the only team he follows.
“I couldn’t tell you who won the AL West this year,” he said. “It’s all about the Phillies to me and making sure we keep winning and the Mets keep losing.”
Many memories were made during their time at the dream job. Dixon has ironically made the jump from the Little League World Series to the actual World Series, but nothing tops Rainey’s fondest memory.
“I was on the field during the playing of the national anthem for game five, and just looking around and seeing 45,000 fans waving white towels, fireworks going off, and knowing your team could win a championship on this field tonight is something I’ll never forget,” he said.