Alumnus Chases His Passion for Baseball Off the Diamond
Story by Dan Steinberg, faculty member in the Dept. of Communication
It’s every kid’s dream to make it to the major leagues. The crack of the bat and the fresh-cut grass are callings to young boys and girls around the world.
Robb Stretch ’02 and ’12, always knew he wanted a career in baseball. However, Stretch’s dream is not as a player but that of becoming a baseball public relations executive.
Stretch graduated as a theatre major with a B.F.A from Otterbein in 2002 but decided to return to school to pursue his passion. He looked around for universities where he could earn a B.A. in Public Relations to chase his baseball dreams. Returning to campus at 32 years old was nerve wracking, he says, but he found Otterbein was the ideal place for him.
“When I came back to Otterbein I knew exactly what I wanted to do and didn’t have to start from scratch since I had already studied here,” Stretch says. “I only had to take my major classes and by taking courses year-round I could finish in two years.”
He chose Otterbein because he says you’re not “just a number” here.
“Coming back, you’re a more mature person with more life experiences under your belt,” Stretch says. “Even though I’m starting over and seeking an entry-level job, I hope I’m more advanced than other recent graduates."
“I learned new skills, gained valuable real-world experience applying those skills, and forged relationships that would be critical for my future,” Stretch says. “My professors helped me meet key people and gain internships. Otterbein helped give me the belief that I could go as far as I wanted.”
As a student, Stretch honed his media relations and writing skills in internships with Otterbein’s sports information department, the Columbus Blue Jackets’ media relations team, and the training center of Olympic wrestling hopeful and former Ohio State All-American, J. D. Bergman.
With his new degree in hand, just like any player, Stretch eyed the minor leagues. After a year with the Memphis Redbirds, the highest-level (Triple-A) affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals, Stretch earned a position with the full-season Advanced-A Clearwater Threshers, a Philadelphia Phillies affiliate.
The Threshers lead the Florida Coast League in attendance and play ball at the Phillies’ spring-training facility, Bright House Field. Stretch gets to work with the major league players during spring and lead communication operations for the Threshers all season long.
“I’m a one-man PR department in Clearwater and I love it,” Stretch says. “I’m responsible for all of the club’s media relations, website, social media and baseball communications. It’s a unique opportunity with a team. I do it all and get to work closely with our front office staff, players and coaches.”
While Stretch eventually will look for a promotion to the bigs, for now he’s content returning to Clearwater next season.
“I’ve started something good here and I’ve taken ownership of new initiatives,” Stretch says. “I’d like to build on what we have going and see it really take off. I live near the beach and my job is at the ballpark. What could be better?”