Meet Josh Rawitch, Dodgers
About a month ago, I had dinner with Josh Rawitch, the Dodgers Vice President of Communications. I thought he was the perfect candidate for our 10 Questions Series….. Meet, Josh Rawitch
Josh is entering his 15th season in Major League Baseball, 13th with the Dodgers and second as the team’s Vice President of Communications. In his current capacity, he is responsible for the overall baseball communication and media relations efforts of the organization while also directing the team’s business communication efforts and publications department. He serves as the organization’s primary liaison with their broadcasters and assists in the team’s community relations efforts.
During his tenure with the Dodgers, he has overseen the club’s public relations efforts for their historic trip to China in 2008, as well as their international exhibition games in Mexico City in 2003. He directed the organization’s communications and media relations throughout their 50th anniversary season in 2008, which included a record-setting return to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in which the team set a Guinness World Record for attendance at a baseball game (115,300). He also oversaw the public relations and media relations for the Dodgers’ final year at Dodgertown in Vero Beach, FL, which included a month-long celebration of the historic Spring Training site.
1. Tell Us What Your Average Day is Like?
A: No two days are ever really alike in baseball, which is part of the beauty of a 162-game season. There are so many unique opportunities for exposure – we can be working on a business story one day, a baseball feature on another day, and a visit from a celebrity on yet another day. But generally speaking, we’re in the stadium by 9 a.m. on a game day and will stay there until about 11 p.m. or so.
2. Tell us about your Career Path, including your Current Job.
I began as an intern in Advertising and Special Events at the Dodgers as a freshman in college and worked in the Sports Information Department at Indiana University, which is how I gained an interest in Public Relations. After starting full-time at the Dodgers in 1998, I moved over to PR in 2000 and in 2001-02, I was a beat reporter for MLB.com, covering the Dodgers and Giants for one season each. I came back to the Dodgers in 2003 in the PR Department and have slowly worked my way up to my current position in which I oversee public relations and publications while working very closely with our broadcasting and community affairs departments.
3. What was the best advice you ever received?
A. My father told me to do whatever anyone asked of me and do it with a smile because it would distinguish me from those who felt they were above it. As far as someone within the business, Robert Schweppe, who worked in baseball operations at the Dodgers for many years, suggested I learn Spanish and get a broad background if I wanted to work in baseball and both have served me extremely well.
4. What are your top sports memories you are most fond of telling others?
A. Celebrating the Dodgers’ first playoff series victory in 20 years last season definitely ranks up there, as does the day we traded for Manny Ramirez amidst an MLB news conference for the World Baseball Classic and having Joe Torre tell me that I handle pressure well. Beyond that, I’d say that getting to meet most of the legends I grew up following is pretty cool. But having been here for almost 15 years, there are so many cool memories it’s hard to pick just a few.
5. Describe the areas of opportunity for growth in your business?
A. Certainly the entire world of social media is one that has barely been tapped within the sports industry (at least among the four Major Leagues). Clearly the way we communicate with one another is changing almost every day and the opportunities there are endless. We’ve started to dabble in it and have recently started credentialing bloggers, but it’s only the tip of the iceberg. In addition, the number of stories that can be told about the people at the ballpark every day – players, coaches, front office, ushers, ticket takers, parking attendants, you name it, is enormous. There is a great story behind each of them and we could probably add 15 people to the department and still not have enough time to pitch them all.
6. What kind of Advice Would you Give Someone Who One Day Wants A Position Like Yours?
A. Learn how to communicate well both written and orally (not as easy as it sounds), dedicate yourself, and be willing to make a lot of sacrifices. As they say, this isn’t rocket science…but I’d bet it’s a lot more fun. Common sense will get you pretty far and work ethic can take you wherever you want to go.
7. Name at 1-3 Mentors you have had and Why They’ve Had an Impact
A. My parents probably don’t count for this answer, though they’ve been instrumental in my career and shaping me as a person. John Olguin, formerly of the Dodgers and now with Chip Ganassi auto racing, helped make me more than just a baseball stats guy and helped me understand the bigger picture of the role PR plays in sports. Tim Mead at the Angels is a great sounding board for me and his integrity is what sets him apart from everyone else in the game. And Derrick Hall, who went from a Dodger PR guy to CEO of the D-backs in a little more than 10 years, was great for me to watch and learn both first-hand and from a distance because he’s so good at what he does.
8. How Has the Economy Affected your business?
A. The business of baseball is being affected incredibly by the economy, as evidenced by decreases in ticket sales, sponsorships, per cap spending, and countless other ways. On the media side, we’re seeing the end of the newspaper beat writer, as we’re now down to one daily newspaper covering us on the road due to the costs associated with doing so. At our peak, we had nine or 10 writers with us everywhere we went. But looking at it from a glass-half-full perspective, the cost of getting our word out to the general public is basically down to the simple cost of hosting a website and making sure you utilize it correctly.
9. Finish This Thought. People Wanting To Work in Sports Should Do the Following:
A. If you’re still in school, get involved in your university’s athletic department. There are far too many people who tell me how they’ve always wanted to work in sports and yet, they attend UCLA or USC or some Big Ten school and have never gotten involved in the program that is right there for the taking. As for anyone who has been out of school for a while, networking is the best way to go unless you’re willing to go back and start at the entry level. Somehow, you’re going to have to stand out from the extremely high volume of people who want to make a career change into sports but do not have any related experience. It can definitely happen, it’s just a lot harder to break in.
10. If I had it to do all over again, I would…..
A. To be totally honest, I don’t have a single professional regret to date. Everything I’ve done has gotten me to this point in my career. If anything, I’d just like to spend more time with my family.
If you would like a full bio on Josh, please click here
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