Training Days

Actually three in total!

Well I had my first training for my usher job with the Twins on Saturday March 19.  I got a bit mixed up with the parking directions and arrived about 20 minutes late.  Those of you who know me will understand when I say I was in “panic mode,” as I hate to be late or appear to be irresponsible.

Once I arrived I settled in and quite enjoyed myself.  The highlight being (like Gilligan) “a three tour” of Target Field.  We got to literally everywhere, the Legends Club, the Champions Club, the Twins offices, we saw the 1987 and 1991 World Series trophies, pictures of famous Twins of “yesteryear,” one that really stuck at my heart was of Hubert Humphrey (the old liberal lion) calling a game at the Old Met.  We saw the indoor batting cages, literally every site line in the ball park, and there are no bad seats, high or low, everyone has a great view of the game.  The Roof Deck is popular with the standing room only crowd, while the Old Town Tavern has a bar made from the wood floor that was used by the old Minneapolis Lakers (very cool!).

Fun facts that I learned, unlike the Yankees our Owners Box is down the third base line, there are over 300 bicycle parking spaces, the entire stadium is equippted with WiFi, there were over 300 events held at the stadium last year other than baseball, they are one of the greenest stadiums in all of baseball as they recycle close to 67% of the items used (the major league average is closer to 33%), they have very cool Pentair water filtration system for recycling all rain water and using it to water the field and for their power washer and best of all Target Field was voted the number 1 Sports Stadium Experience last year.

My second training was all about how to handle alcohol abuse at the stadium and any other safety issue that may come up, and the third training dwelt with how to conduct yourself as an usher.  All in all I am very impressed with the Twins, their training procedures, the absolute dedication of the staff and their committment to the customer to create what they call “Magic Moments.”  I can hardly wait to usher my first game, but it appears I must wait a little while longer as my first scheduled game is March 23.  I will be sure to report back to you dear readers when that fateful day occurs.

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How I became an usher for the Minnesota Twins!

It all began about ten years ago.  After over 30 years as a summer camp administrator I was finally spending a summer at home.  What to do with all my newly found free time.  Well why not spend more time at the ballpark, so I bought a 20 game season seat package to the Twins.  WOW!  I loved it, going to so many games, making friends with those sitting around me, and the team was fun to follow, young and spirited.  Frankly after 92′ I had a break from baseball.  Like many the strike had soured me on the grand old game, but this team of hustling underdogs brought me back in a big way. 

One day as I was entering my section in the upper deck I stopped to speak to the Usher, a woman only a little older than myself.  Curious, I asked, “How did you come by this job.”  She told me she was a fan and retired and applied over the winter and was lucky enough to land a job.  “Do you like?”  “Love it,” she replied. 

I let it go and then about four years ago when I had a student at school, who was a Twins fanatic, we will call him Marshall, largely because that is his name.  Marshall and I talked Twins almost every day, in season and then had our very own “Hot Stove League,” during the long, and in Minnesota they are long, winter months.  Marshall it turns out was an usher for the Twins.  Again intrigued I asked, “About this Usher thing, what’s it like?  How much of the game do you get to see?  Marshall smiled and stated, “Well I love it, and I get to see most of the game, but the job comes first, but I love it?”  “Would I like it?” I ventured.  “Mr. Sachs you would love it and with your love of people you would be a natural.”  There it was, the encouragement I needed.  Little did I know how sought after these positions were, but like everything else in life, timing and persistence pay off. 

I believe it was in January of that year that I went on the Twins website and found nothing there about usher jobs, but I did find a name. So I called that individual who very patiently explained that they posted openings for Usher jobs for a very brief time in December, they had so many hits in a 48 hour period that they did not know what to do, so they pulled it off the website, sorted through the applications and started interviews.  “I sounded great,” (my words not their, he was probably just humoring me)  he said, but they “had all the interest they could handle.” I, like a proverbial  Cubs fans, would have to wait until next year. 

But it was actually a couple of years, that’s when I had Marshall’s brother Malcom as a student, and it turns out he too was an usher.  I admit I caught the bug again right then an there, so when December came, I started watching the Twins website almost daily.  Then one day it magically appeared, they were taking applications for usher jobs. 

Excited I immediately went online and completed my application, and the wait was on.  Of particular note, when they asked how I found out about the job, I found myself listing my students as my references, a humbling experience since I was so used to playing that role for others.  Now my references were 20 and 17 years old.  However both were excited when I told them I had applied and told me they would contact the Usher Director and put in a good word, which I know they did, because they told me after they did it. 

The students were now the masters as they filled me with advice for my upcoming interview.  I went to my interview in late December and met with the Director who was very polite, asked me a few questions about my personality and leadership style, problem solving abilities, and how I became interested in the job.  When I mentioned Marshall and Malcom, he said, “Yea, I love those guys.”  It seems my references would work better than I thought. 

In the middle of January I was called and offered the job.  I must admit I was excited, especially after I was told of the numbers who applied and who were interview, I felt a bit like I had just survived the “selective college admission process.”  I was told I had passed the “background check” (Whew!!) and now I was to come in to take my official photo, present appropriate ID, and bring my social security card with me. 

Panic set in.  The last time I saw my social security card was when I was sixteen, and believe me, that was a long time ago.  I spent that evening searching all my old boxes that contained my high school memorabilia (a trip down memory lane I’ll tell you) and miraculously found it.  Wow has my signature changed over the years.  Was I even literate back then?  Anyway I took everything in to the front office, had my picture taken and now I am ready for training.  Eleven hours worth.  I can hardly wait!!!

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