Do what you love: Jays GM

Bobby Glatter, Alex Anthopoulos, Andrew Tinnish

Student Bobby Glatter, left, chats with Alex Anthopoulos and Andrew Tinnish of the Toronto Blue Jays.

There’s an old adage: do what you love and the money will eventually come to you. And there’s no better evidence of that than Alex Anthopoulos.

At only 33, Anthopoulos is the general manager and senior vice-president of baseball operations for the Toronto Blue Jays. But that was by no means an eventuality, Anthopoulos told a packed lecture hall when he and Brock alumnus Andrew Tinnish, Jays director of scouting, visited Brock on Jan. 19.

Anthopoulos had a degree in economics from McMaster University when his father died, leaving him the family’s heating and ventilation company. Rather than pursue that comfortable living, he pursued a career in baseball. He started with an unpaid internship handling fan mail for the Montreal Expos because he knew baseball was what he loved to do, he said in the lecture, which was hosted by Brock’s Sport Management program.

Anthopoulos spent nearly two years in unpaid positions in baseball, attending scouting school on his own time with his own money, before he landed a paying gig. From there, he landed progressively better jobs until he rose to general manager of Canada’s only remaining baseball team.

Anthopoulos credits his success to humility and working hard no matter how menial the task. He advised Sport Management students to do the same. Even if your job is to get coffee, he said, do your best at it.

“I walked in, I had a tie, I had a shirt, I dressed right, I sat in the corner and I kept my mouth shut,” he said. “The minute you think things should be delivered to you or are entitled to you, you’ll fail.

“Whatever you’re given, good or bad, be amazing at it.”

Anthopoulos encouraged students to take risks and pursue what they love while they are still young and have no commitments. Success, he said, hinges on being passionate about what you do.

Do that, he said, and “the money will come. The positions will come. The upper management will come.”

Anthopoulos began his time as general manager helping broker the famous “Doc Deal,” which saw pitcher Roy Halladay traded for three Philadelphia Phillies. Halladay was going to leave the organization anyway, Anthopoulos said. As GM, he did what was best for the team, not for his personal career prospects, he said.

The lecture was uplifting for Sport Management student Bobby Glatter, who in Grade 12 worked an unpaid internship with the Toronto Raptors and went on to a paid position with the Toronto Football Club.

“He started at the bottom of an organization and worked his way up,” Glatter said after the lecture. “That gave me hope that I can work my way up to what he does, because that really is my dream job.”

Tinnish, who graduated from Brock in 2001 with a degree in Sport Management, gave a lecture about scouting and the globalization of sport. He is always happy to return to Brock, he said.

“This university did so much for me in my career and life,” he said. “I’ll always have a soft spot for Brock.”

Brock News video:

On trading Roy Halladay:

On negotiations with Jose Bautista:

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