The Hampton Roads Sports Commission hosted their second episode in their web series, SportsTalk 757 on Thursday, September 17th. Host Claudell Clark welcomed special guest Joe Gregory, General Manager of the Norfolk Tides, to discuss the future of Minor League Baseball, the positive impact of the Norfolk Tides on our region, and how COVID-19 has affected baseball.
Gregory described his role as General Manager as being the overseer of the day-to-day operations. “Being the General Manager, I oversee the business side of the team. I focus on our relationship with the city, the league, I work with the box office, facilities, food and beverage, travel, logistics, etc. I don’t make the ‘who’s playing in the game’ type decisions.”
When asked by Clark how he ended up in Hampton Roads and with the Norfolk Tides, Gregory had a great story to share. In 2008 he was recruited to come to Hampton Roads to be the General Manager of the Norfolk Admirals. In 2011 he was actually working for both the Norfolk Admirals and the Norfolk Tides simultaneously. Gregory recalled that his first year with the Tides was “trial by fire”. He recounted, “The toughest year was my first year because I was still running the Admirals and the Tides. For two months we had Tides games and Admirals games at the same time. I was taking the Tide between both venues constantly. That first year really taught me I can get through anything. A heck of the way to get my career started at the Tides, that’s for sure!”.
Clark and Gregory reminisced on beloved “King of Baseball” Dave Rosenfield, recently departed longtime General Manager of the Norfolk Tides. Gregory spoke on what it meant to get to work with Rosenfield. “He will always be top of mind here. I wouldn’t be here without him. He’d seen it all, he’d done it all. He was a resource that…invaluable doesn’t do it justice. Baseball couldn’t have had a better ambassador” said Gregory.
There’s no doubt that COVID-19 has altered the plans of sports organizations across the country. Clark asked Gregory to describe how it would have felt to have the Tides play to an empty stadium, had they been able to play this past season. “It would have been so quiet. I wanted to do fireworks opening night even before this pandemic, so we would have [streamed] fireworks for the fans. I would have tried to make it as fun and lively as possible, but I can’t imagine being there without the fans and season ticket holders I’m used to seeing every single day” said Gregory.
To finish the interview, Clark asked Gregory to speak directly to the young people interested in working for a sports organization. Gregory offered great advice, encouraging students to get involved while they are still in school. “Get involved as early as possible. Put yourself in the environment to meet people and to network. It’s important for students to work in the ballpark or get an internship, or even a seasonal job. You may want to work in sports because you’re a fan, but it’s not always a glamorous job. It’s all hands on deck. It’s good to see if you still think it’s for you after you really see what it’s like” said Gregory.
Thank you Joe Gregory for taking the time to speak to SportsTalk 757 today and sharing your stories and insight.
Thank you so much to the SportsTalk 757 sponsors, Optima Health, Atlantic Bay Mortgage Group, and CHKD Sports Medicine for making this series possible.