Monday, July 8, 2013

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By Ellen Bell, Staff Writer - 

Kathy Mair and I have something in common. 

Once a year, we find ourselves in a room full of men who are scouring over stats and bidding on baseball players.

The only difference is that her baseball draft isn't a fantasy and there's more at stake than bragging rights and beer.

As Baseball Administration Coordinator, Kathy Mair works at the heart of Angels Baseball Operations. She is the contact person for staff that work offsite, such as minor league affiliates and scouting personnel. Even though she works with such crucial aspects as contracts and payroll, one of her main responsibilities is preparing for the amateur baseball draft every June.

Draft preparation gets busy in February, when scouts begin to send in material about amateur players from collegiate leagues and Fall Ball play. Mair inputs the gathered information  and creates player magnets, color-coded by position, for use on Draft Day. 

"It gets pretty hectic in April, May and June," Mair said. "The Angels look at about 700 players each season and everything has to be ready for Draft Day."

The selection process begins before the start of the first draft round. General Manager Jerry Dipoto, Director of Baseball Operations Justin Hollander, and Coordinator of Scouting Nate Horowitz listen to recommendations from regional scouts. Information is broken down, analyzed and matched with specific team needs.  

On Draft Day, Mair is one of about 30 people in the room, waiting and watching as players are taken off the board and drafted by other teams. Each team has one minute to make its selection.

"It's an exciting time for the organization," said Mair. "There's this great energy surrounding the draft because of the expectation of what these players might bring."

After the draft, Mair is the main contact for the young players and their families. Here,  her role is decidedly maternal. 

"I always tell the moms that they can call me if they have questions," she said. "Guys aren't really good at communicating about logistics and sons don't usually give their moms all the details. If I was the mother of one of these kids, I'd want someone to answer my questions too."

Mair has enjoyed a special relationship with Mike Trout's mom, Debbie. 

"I grew up about 20 minutes away from their home in New Jersey," Mair said. "They bring a little piece of home whenever they come to visit."

It was there that Kathy Mair grew up dreaming of being a broadcaster for her beloved Philadelphia Phillies. Her aspirations led her to a Communications degree from Elizabethtown College and a summer media internship for the Phillies broadcast affiliate. 

Sometimes dreams change when they become a reality. Even though Mair discovered that the broadcast booth wasn't for her, she never lost her love for baseball. She continued to work in the front office for several minor league franchises. During her time at the Cleveland minor league afffiliate, the Kinston Indians, she saw a glimpse of her future.

"There was a woman there who did what I do now. Until then I didn't know that a job like this existed."

After five years working as the assistant to the general manager of the Lake Elsinore Storm, Kathy Mair applied for the job with the Angels. Now she spends 8-12 hour workdays immersed in the sport that she loved as a kid. 

"You have to love baseball to do this," Mair said. "It would be a pretty long day of you didn't."

So what's it like to work in a department as the only female? 

"No one treats me any differently. We all just do our jobs."

She admitted that her co-workers tease her when she roots for players because they are nice guys, not necessarily because of their baseball skills."

"I guess it's the girl in me," she said.
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