Sport management alumnus helps break the barriers of international baseball

Alex Johnson graduated from the School of Kinesiology in December 2018 with a Bachelor of Science degree in sport management and a double minor in Spanish and leadership, and he hasn’t slowed down yet. This isn’t anything new to Johnson, who has spent the past five years actively involved in the global sports community. 

Once he graduated from the U of M, Johnson headed to the Minnesota Twins as a Brand Partnership Intern.

Everything just came into place. I’m so glad I did everything I did throughout college, as it really has aligned and led me to where I am now.

Johnson began his college career in the U of M’s Sport Management Association and networked his way to the Minnesota Timberwolves as a Membership Services Assistant. During his internship, he also joined the Gopher Sports Marketing team and worked his way up to Lead Marketing Intern. Along with those experiences, Johnson has also worked for the Minnesota Vikings, St. Paul Saints, and the Kansas City Royals, among several other athletic organizations. 

Following a seminar abroad in Belize and personal exploration throughout classes, Johnson desired to combine his dual interests in baseball and language by traveling to the southern shores of the Dominican Republic. Johnson, with the aid of a third-party organization, CIEE, paved the path for his study abroad program. He was then placed in Santo Domingo, the capital city, and worked with the Major League Baseball (MLB) Academies, personal development athletic facilities allied with each MLB club in the Dominican Republic, which emphasize a balance of baseball performance and educational adherence. As a baseball player himself and long-time fan, Johnson knew he wanted to work with prospective athletes.

There is a lot of talent in the Dominican Republic, and MLB is centering on holistic player development and cultural adjustment, not just performance and athletic outcome,” says Johnson. 

Johnson spent much of his trip studying Spanish, but also trained as a pitcher with local aspiring baseball talent. When he wasn’t attempting to master the Dominican dialect or trying to compete with the fastballs of the Academies, Johnson spent time working with the Kansas City Royals at their development academy. One of Johnson’s responsibilities included in-class interaction with the players, to assist in their English language acquisition as a native speaker. During this time, he also had the opportunity to volunteer at Casa Amor Orphanage during Culture Week 2018, an academy initiative to promote active citizen involvement. Academy athletes and staff members, including Johnson, traveled to the site to play wiffle ball with the youth and enjoy ice cream. This community engagement experience was in part what made Johnson’s time at the Kansas City Royals Academy in the Dominican Republic so memorable and humbling.

It was empowering giving back to others, and engaging with the talent, especially the prospective players who were sometimes as young as 16, by teaching them what I know and have learned.

After returning home, Johnson was determined to stay involved with the international baseball industry. With his current position with the Twins wrapping up in December, where does Johnson see himself next year?

I am very attracted to the international sector of baseball and have set my course to assist in expanding the game of baseball abroad. My end goal is to work with the MLB to promote their brand and through specific initiatives and events located outside of the United States.” 

 

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