Baseball has always been a big part of Bret Storm’s life.
He played growing up and was a key player on La Salle-Peru’s Class 3A runner-up team in 2012 before continuing to play at Lindenwood University where he won a national championship.
After his playing career, Storm — a business administration major with a focus on sports management — has stayed involved with baseball as he served as an intern with the Frontier League and is now the director of baseball operations for Greater Midwest Baseball.
“It’s doing something I love with the sport that I love,” Storm said. “It’s crazy, but at the same time, it keeps it interesting.”
The NewsTribune caught up with Storm to discus his career in baseball.
NewsTribune: How did you come about your current job?
Storm: I’m the director of baseball operations for Greater Midwest Baseball, which is based out of St. Louis. It’s the largest youth baseball tournament provider in the Midwest. It spans seven/eight states. This year we expanded to Charleston, S.C. We’re mostly around Illinois and Missouri and bordering states — Kentucky, Wisconsin, Tennessee, Indiana. I was scrolling through Twitter one day and I have a buddy who used to umpire for them. He was talking about it. I went to the website, browsed around and saw they were looking for help. I started out three summers ago doing some site directing with them. Last year, I worked part time with them in conjunction with my internship with the Frontier League. In January, I went full time and took over as director of baseball operations. I do everything from umpires to scheduling games to bringing teams in, going to manager meetings, updating scoring as well as running parks if need be.
NT: What is a typical week like for you?
Storm: (My work) is half at my apartment and the other half is in my boss’s garage. That’s where we kind of run the madness. We have all the baseballs, trophies and everything there. Monday is more or less my Sunday. It’s my rest and recover day for the most part. Tuesday we get back going. We head to any parks where we have stuff to get it all picked up, cleaned up and reorganized. We start to go over umpires for the week and making sure we have enough guys. Wednesday and Thursday we’re packing up tubs with baseballs and game cards to go to each park and getting that stuff organized. Thursday mid-afternoon we start distributing and meeting our guys who are going out of town. Friday morning we go over everything and dot our Is and cross our Ts and make sure everything is good. Games usually start Friday night between 5:15 and 6 p.m. depending on the size of the tournament.
We have a couple tournaments when we run opening ceremonies. That kind of throws a monkey wrench into things during the week. Usually, Thursday night we bring the teams in. We run home run derby, skills competition and accuracy stuff with pitcher, infielders, outfielders and catchers with one of our sponsors. Occasionally we have Cardinals tickets for them that night.
Saturday and Sunday are what we like to call absolute organized chaos, especially lately with all this rain. Everything keeps changing around. It always keeps you on your toes. No week is really the same. On weekends, nothing runs like you think it will. You have to be on your toes and ready for the next curve ball coming at you.
NT: What was your role with the Frontier League?
Storm: Sports information assistant was technically what it was. I did everything from social media to doing online stats — which is like ESPN’s gamecast — putting together all the stuff for all-star balloting and voting. I tallied up all that. I wrote articles for the weekly award winners. I’d travel to sites occasionally. My first trip with them I went to Florence, Kent. by Cincinnati for the tryouts and draft. I helped get everybody checked in, helped run the tryouts and documented the draft. I met with the No. 1 and No. 2 picks and interviewed them. Those guys were roughly in the same boat as me — they were a lot better than I was — holding onto the last little bit of what you have in baseball. These guys were coming from the Dominican Republic, some were from Puerto Rico, we had some Canadians. They came from all over the globe for the tryout. It was kind of interesting to hear their back story and how they got there.
I went to some of the parks around here like the Gateway Grizzlies, Southern Illinois Miners and River City Rascals and served as their backup official scorekeeper. I went with Bill Lee, the commissioner, to the Frontier League championship series. It was a 10-day trip where we went from St. Louis to right outside Pittsburgh where the Washington Wild Things play then to Joliet and back out to the Washington Wild Things because the series went five games. I helped do the Hall of Fame banquet. I organized all that stuff and communicated with the guys who were inducted.
NT: Did you always know you wanted to go into baseball?
Storm: Yeah, in some capacity I wanted to be in baseball, but if I had to venture away from baseball I wanted to make sure it was still something that had to do with sports. I’m not a behind the desk person. It’s never been something that appealed to me. If I had to sit at a desk, I wanted to make sure I was doing something along the lines of sports so it was something I was enjoying and not something where I’d be miserable.
NT: What are your goals moving forward?
Storm: This is my third year with Greater Midwest Baseball. I’m figuring out this crazy little industry. It’s something I absolutely love and something I’d love to stay in for a while. I know there are bigger organizations like USA Baseball and Ripken Baseball. They’re all kind of similar. I’d like to stay in youth/amateur side with youth tournament organization and move my way up.
Kevin Chlum can be reached at 220-6939, or at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @NT_SportsEditor.