class notes: top five

Five ways to have fun at a baseball game if you’re not a fan

Brian Phillips, BA ’96, VP, Industry Initiatives at MLB Advanced Media

Interview by Rebecca Rudell


Illustration by Barry Fitzgerald, MFA ’90

Brian Phillips, 42, manages teams for baseball, but not in the way you might think. His players are on the digital team that creates all the online content sports fans crave.

Phillips has worked for MLB Advanced Media (MLBAM) for more than 15 years, starting at the time Major League Baseball centralized the digital media production and rights of all 30 clubs. Today, MLBAM is one of the most technologically sophisticated media companies in the world, working beyond the diamond with partners like the PGA Tour, NHL, ESPN and HBO, among others.

Phillips oversees a staff of about 50 people who, in turn, oversee and implement all of MLBAM’s club relationships and online business content, including e-mail marketing, promotions and social media. He also hypes cool apps like At Bat and Ballpark within the clubs, ensuring fun, user-friendly content for fans through their phones and tablets.

Aside from his love of baseball, Phillips is an avid traveler who has visited 53 countries—and, of course, all 30 ballparks. But he knows not everyone shares his love of the game, so we asked him what folks can do if they’re taken to a park and don’t know a fielder’s choice from a fly ball.

1. Check out the sights
If you’re not into the action on the bases, take a stroll around the park and soak up the scenery. City views are stunning at many stadiums, including San Francisco’s and San Diego’s—you can even watch a game from the pool at Chase Field in Phoenix. Many stadiums also boast iconic features, like the Giant 42 for Jackie Robinson at Citi Field in Queens.

2. Get silly with your neighbors
People from all walks of life come together to watch America’s pastime, and baseball has a way of taking everyone’s guard down. Jump up and exercise en masse during the seventh-inning stretch, or participate in the sure-to-erupt sing-a-longs—like “Sweet Caroline” at Boston’s Fenway Park and “YMCA” at New York’s Yankee Stadium.

3. Cheer on the mascots
Team mascot races add a giant dose of whimsy and humor to every game. Watch as sea creatures compete in Miami, U.S. presidents try to outrun one another in D.C. and pierogies battle for first place in Pittsburgh.

4. Eat a sundae the size of your head
Enjoy some of the wackiest food around, including Fried S’mOreos in Arlington, Texas; crab mac ’n’ cheese dogs in Baltimore; or a 12-scoop ice cream sundae served in a life-size helmet in Chicago.

5. Learn the game
Discover the finer points of baseball from the passionate fans around you. Who knows? In time, you may even develop a love for the game. There’s a reason it’s been around for more than 100 years.