Ryan Mabry’s '10 love for baseball is evident. From working as a beat writer for his college paper to completing a Reds internship to his current position with an AAA team, he is immersed in the game and wouldn’t have it any other way. Here’s his story.
Born and raised in Kentucky, Mabry and his family lived in Midway, for many years until they moved to Crittenden when he was 12. He attended the University of Kentucky as an undergraduate, graduating summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and a minor in statistics. During college, Mabry was the baseball beat writer for the student newspaper in addition to his other activities.
Mabry went right from college to law school, drawn to law because of its versatility. “I was looking for a way to make myself more marketable to baseball teams,” he said. “Law school was something I had been considering, but my final decision to jump in came right down to the wire.” Mabry came to Cincinnati because he had a connection with the Cincinnati Reds. “I wasn’t certain that connection would lead to a baseball operations internship, but I wanted to take a path that would be most likely to allow me to get a start in Major League Baseball (MLB). That was my best lead,” he said. Mabry wanted to stay close to Cincinnati because of this connection, thus his choice of law schools came down to UC Law or UK Law. A visit with Dean of Admissions Al Watson helped him make up his mind. “He really made it clear to me that UC Law is committed to seeing its students graduate,” Mabry said. “That has turned out to be true; the administration could not have been more helpful as I’ve tried to pursue my dreams while earning a law degree.”
Summer Externships Proved to be Critical
During his first summer in law school, Mabry volunteered in the University of Cincinnati’s NCAA/Big East Compliance Office. While there, Mabry organized and updated the office’s database of registrations and informational materials about agents who could contact student athletes. He also created an electronic filing system to make the database easier to maintain and got in touch with registered agents to renew their registrations. “The job gave me the opportunity to learn a lot about amateurism and academic eligibility,” said Mabry. “It was a fun, laid-back atmosphere, and I’d recommend it to anyone who is interested in sports and law.”
In his second summer of law school, Mabry’s Reds connection paid off as he emerged from a competitive interview process as one of five baseball operations interns for the Reds. He worked 14-hour days at Great American Ball Park, aiding in the preparation of advance scouting reports, primarily by charting games in which upcoming opponents had played. He also helped the team prepare for the June draft and was in the “war room” for many of the team’s picks. Mabry also got some experience dealing with player contracts, although the focus of the internship was not primarily legal. “I had a blast,” he said. “Working for the Reds only reaffirmed what I already knew: baseball is my calling.”
As of now, Mabry does not plan to practice law, but realizes his legal background will be critical. “I want to work in baseball operations for an MLB team, and my hope is that the law degree will help me achieve that goal,” he said. “The knowledge I gained about contracts and intellectual property should come in handy from time-to-time.” Mabry stated that he would prefer to work from the team side, rather than being an agent for individual players. “Baseball teams and agents have an adversarial relationship, and it can be hard to cross over,” he said.
Getting Started in the Industry
Currently, Mabry is living in Las Vegas, working as the video coordinator for the Las Vegas 51s, the Toronto Blue Jays’ AAA affiliate. His responsibilities include videotaping the players and editing the video for presentation in an easily accessible format. Coaches use the video to help players improve, and the front office executives in Toronto use the video to evaluate players’ abilities. Mabry chart the games as well, which helps to make the video easier to find and use, and gives information about players’ tendencies.
When he’s not managing video data, Mabry gets to travel with the team and assist the coaching staff wherever he’s needed. “I’m learning a lot about the game from the inside—a perspective I’ve never had at the professional level—and meeting a lot of people within the Blue Jays’ organization,” he said. Mabry found the job by attending baseball’s annual Winter Meetings, which were in Indianapolis this past December. “The Blue Jays offered me the position,” said Mabry, “and my first reaction was that it sounded like a good opportunity no matter the circumstances. Considering the current job market, there was no way I could turn it down.”
Mabry offered some advice to those looking to utilize their law degrees in the sports world. “Baseball is just like any other industry. Besides having a good resume with lots of relevant experience, the key is to make connections and try to be in the right place at the right time.”
In his free time, Mabry enjoys listening to rock music and going to shows when he can, although the baseball schedule makes it difficult. He currently enjoys about one day off a month. Because most games are at night, he is at the stadium until about midnight most days, limiting his ability to participate in other activities. “I don’t have much free time, but I’m doing something I love,” he said. “If I was doing something else, I’d probably spend most of my free time watching, reading about, or thinking about baseball. So in that way, work is like ‘free time’ for me.”