Kevin Vallene is Chasing the Dream

Kevin Vallene is a lifelong Seattle Mariners fan. Through the thick and the thin of an 162 game season, Vallene can often be spotted wearing Mariner apparel as he represents his hometown team with pride. Perhaps one of the reasons he wants to play-by-play sports broadcaster is because of the late Dave Niehaus, the Hall-of-Famer who left his mark on the city with great calls such as “The Double” in 1995.

I have known Kevin for nearly three years since he joined KUGR Radio during his freshman year while I was a sophomore. Throughout these years, I have had the pleasure of working alongside Kevin doing play-by-play for a variety of Cougar athletics. I recently had the chance to catch up with Kevin as he shared to me (and the audience) more about KUGR and what other activities he is involved with at Washington State.

I enjoyed having the chance to sit down and interview Kevin. I thought this assignment was very practical for to do as I am a Journalism & Media Production major so using cameras and conducting interviews are what I am comfortable with. We filmed this in the Cleveland Hall studio as it provided us with a camera already to use and great space.

In total we were able to film the interview within 75 minutes during what would have been class time on a Thursday, but we had class off to work on this video. It took about 30-40 minutes just to set up the cameras and get the angles that we wanted to have; that itself was an extremely tedious step. It then took us another 30-40 minutes or so to conduct the interview (myself, Kevin, and third partner Eddie Chavez) and export all files from the three cameras that we used.

To be perfectly honest, editing was the easiest step of this assignment for me, probably because of my background editing video. I used Avid Media Composer in the labs in Murrow because I feel more comfortable with that software. I thought syncing up the three separate videos and audio would be difficult, but surprisingly it was not hard to do at all.  In terms of B-roll, I was able to drop by Kevin’s weekly KUGR show “DFA’d” and got some footage of him at the soundboard to add to my video.

Otto Klein Pitches the Spokane Indians

Last Friday I had the opportunity to to hear Otto Klein speak to a group of sport management students at the career fair. Klein, the senior vice president of the Spokane Indians baseball team, gave a thorough presentation (the most engaging of the three I attended) on the benefits of working within the MiLB (Minor League Baseball).

For many sport management students, working for a professional sports organization is the ultimate dream. However, these leagues (MLB, NHL, NFL, NBA) only have 30-32 teams and jobs aren’t easy to come by, especially for a college graduate looking for an entry-level position. Klein acknowledge this but then mentioned that in minor league baseball alone there are over 160 teams ranging from short-season A ball (what the Indians are) to Triple-A, making it much more manageable for a college graduate to earn employment with a team the summer after graduating.

The Indians offer several internships each summer during the season and typically hire five interns for the next season. Klein broke down the duties of an intern into two area: tickets and sponsorships. Interns will either work with the ticketing department to help sell tickets to individuals, businesses, and groups throughout the course of the season while sponsorship interns will help secure sponsors for certain promotional nights and events at Avista Stadium.

What makes Klein’s job easy is that the Indians are an affiliate of the Texas Rangers, meaning the Indians aren’t responsible for player salaries as those are paid directly from the Rangers organization itself. Because of that, the Indians pride themselves on providing cheap, family-friendly entertainment throughout the course of the summer for Eastern Washington and Northern Idaho residents. With the money saved from not being responsible for paying the players, the Indians are able to create fun promotional game such as bobblehead night and firework nights, along with a plethora of other events.

As somebody who spent a summer working for a collegiate summer baseball league, I understand the importance of marketing these promotional events. I’d argue that the game result itself isn’t as important compared to the environment created at the ballpark. While some fans could care less about the promotions and are baseball diehards, these events help draw casual fans and even non-fans which helps get more people in the seats and earn a bigger profit.

Another huge draw to minor league baseball is the chance to see up and coming superstars before they make it to the big leagues. Although players in short-season A ball are still several years away from making it to MLB, there are still players who begin their “professional” ball experience. For the Rangers, players like Rougned Odor and Joey Gallo came to play for the Indians right after being drafted and/or signed.

Ultimately, I really enjoyed Klein’s presentation. I went to two other presentations that followed (UREC & WIAA + HS athletics) and neither of them were as engaging or interesting as Klein’s. I’m thankful the College of Education provided this opportunity for sport management students.