Sunday, October 9, 2011

The 2011 Jake Lunemann Book List

My new year resolution for 2011 was to read at least one book per month. Being that most of my resolutions do not last more than a month or two I have actually surprised myself as to keeping on track with this thing. Today being September 14th, I am on book #9 for the year so we are still on track. In the future I will likely do a monthly book review of what I have read but thought list of short thoughts on the books I've gone through so far this year would be a good topic.

Playing baseball at the University of Minnesota-Morris we had the "privilege" of facing Northern State once a season. Until I saw the E:60 segment on ESPN about the situation I never even knew who Northern State basketball coach Coach Don Meyer was. This is by far the best book I have read this year, it had me in tears for quite a bit of it. If you want to read about one of the most impressive men to walk this earth, you will read about Coach Don Meyer.

This book is a couple of years old but it was still pretty interesting reading about Ernie Accorsi's career in football front offices. It was definitely interesting to learn that one of the more successful GMs in football actually had wanted to work in baseball. I would rate this book as above average as I got through it without any trouble. It definitely is more than just a book for Giants fans as it covers many other situations throughout Accorsi's life.

My wife gave me a Kindle with a $25 gift card to get started. Whenever I get gift cards I tend to wait to use them because I want to make the purchase worthwhile since it really is a gift from someone else. Although this book was no released until March 8th, I pre-ordered it back in January. As a big fan of "Moneyball" I had been waiting for the next type of book like that one. While there was not a ton of behind the scenes type of coverage as in Michael Lewis' book it was still very good. Jonah Keri has always been one of my more favorite sports analysts. My only qualm with this book is that it was too short, I flew through it in a little less than a week. 

Probably my second favorite book of the year. If anyone on earth can make a book about mortgage backed securities and the housing crash it is Michael Lewis (if you are noticing a trend, you are, I love this author). As a long time listener of NPR's Planet Money, I had a solid base understanding of what went down but this book went even deeper into the story line. Even if you only have a passing interest in this sort of thing I would highly recommend this book.

While this book was decent, it really is a poor man's Freakonomics. It covers controversial topics such as how if more button down straight laced type of guys and gals would go out (and go home with) more people it would lead to a slow down in the spread of sexually transmitted diseases. He also covers various topics that relate to this topic (and some that do not) but in the end the book is rather forgettable.

After I finished my May book in the middle of that month I hit a bit of a snag and started several books but never really got going in any of them. However, after my birthday on June 25th I got another gift card to get a new kindle book. I had my eye on this one for quite some time and quickly got it. The format of this book is quite interesting as almost the entire thing is people from ESPN's history doing interviews about certain events. The author will write a page or two here or there to set the scene for a series of interviews. Overall I really liked this book but it took me forever to finish. At a whopping 784 pages it will take you a while. By                                the time I finished my "June" book it was the first week in August.

The other half of my birthday gift card went to this one. It reads like a series of blog posts or maybe a heavy (but interesting) presentation. I knew that college football at the Division I level was somewhat of a joke but the corruption that is involved is a bit staggering. Essentially what it boils down to is the NCAA needing to grow a pair but having too many of the BCS school leaders within their own system. I got caught up with this book as it only took me about a week to finish. I would give it a solid average rating.

The Long Tail was one of the books that I got started on back in June but never really got going in. Once I got caught back up I decided to finish this one off. It is a really solid business book, released back in 2006 by Wired editor Chris Anderson. The problem is that it gets a bit repetitive by the end but overall I did enjoy it once I got into the meat and potatoes of it. It was good enough that I am reading this author's newest book currently for September.


This was my second pre-order ever and it did not disappoint. A sort of book sized, international (mostly) add-on to the other Lewis book I read this year "The Big Short," it goes through the countries in the Euro that are nearing or already in default. The book's last chapter is also probably it's best, which covers California, the United States' most likely to collapse. As the book tells, it is not likely to be the state itself who defaults, but rather many of it's cities.

As someone who is constantly look for my next book to read (my favorite website for this is Swap) I always welcome recommendations. I am already started with my September book and pre-ordered what will be my October book. If you have anything you think would be something I would like please let me know!

October:  Free: The Future of a Radical Price
November: Home Game: An Accidental Guide to Fatherhood
December: TBD

Monday, October 3, 2011

Interesting Reading

MLB Trade Rumors has put together a list of 2011 GM Candidates and conducted an interview with each of them. It is a must read for anyone looking to get into a baseball front office role. Each person talks about how they got to where they are now and it is pretty cool the range of different places these guys (and girl) came from.

You can read the interviews here.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

The World's Best Co-Pilot

Photo by Sam Wahl
In my never ending career push to get into sports (technically I am making a living in "sports" but there will always be a push to be more) for my career there are many things that are important. It could be some mixture of hard work and determination. Maybe it is some form of charm and good luck. By far though, the most important thing I have going for me is my wife Bree.

As a person she makes me exponentially better. On the days I feel like I have nothing left to give she picks me right back up. Sometimes it is with a joke, sometimes with that absolutely perfect smile (see left), and when I need it, a good ass whooping. I have never known a woman as tough, and hope I never do (barring any future daughters) and she will have my back any day of the week.

She has a knack for keeping me from drowning completely in my work. The crazy thing with my current situation working 30 hours a week in Buffalo and as many hours as I can for TST Media is that I have the feeling that I need to be working pretty much every hour that I am awake. When she is not busy and is in the other room by herself, I have one hour, maybe two, before it drives me completely insane to not go hang out with her. We find TV shows to work through and enjoy yelling out the name of the show at random times to see if the other person is able to watch an episode (Burn Notice?!).

Bree's 2011 birthday present
I want to shower her with everything in world but for now that just is not possible so we have to get creative (see right). Luckily I was given a younger sister (Deandra) with more artistic talent than I do and a younger brother (Alex) who will help me on fairly ambitious projects. The next project is already in development and hopefully will be completed by Christmas.

In my career she will ultimately be what makes me succeed. Bree was there barely a year after we started dating telling me that if I did not take the internship with Baseball Info Solutions that she would leave me even though it meant being apart for seven long months. When money was extremely tight leading up to our wedding she was working nearly two full time jobs so that we could make ends meet while I was working only one job and looking for something permanent. One particularly bad job she put up with was working for Maurices where she was required to wear heels and stay on her feet for eight hours. I would later return the favor by working a second job at Target but I am thinking sneakers are not quite the same as heels.

While Bree has not had the same luck I have in terms of career progression she has been proud of me every step of the way. I may not have picked the easiest field to get into but at least I knew what I wanted to do by the time I turned 20. She has not quite figured it out yet but I know whatever she gets into she will be extremely good at it (I may be the most biased reference ever, but give me a call if you want to hire her!). Her work with the Monticello Dance Team shows how much of herself goes into the things she does. By the end of each season the team and the parents will have used up everything she had to give. It kills me to see her worn down emotionally like that but as someone who has dealt with his share of idiotic parents I know that stepping in would only make things worse. Things may not have gone her way so far, but I am already incredibly proud of everything she has done.

The reason for a long post about my wife is that today, September 10th, 2011 is the one year anniversary of our wedding. In the past 12 months we have been through quite a bit but it has been the best year of my entire life by far. Our little family (including Mavs!) is just starting off but we are destined for great things and I hope that I can support her half as well as she supports me. I would not trade her for the world and I hope we can spend 50 more years just like this one. For anyone reading this trying to make it big, hold onto your special someone. Even if at first glace it feels like you have not "made it," look again. Everything you need could be right in front of you.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Working for Community Education

Summer recreation programs have accidentally become a bit of a specialty of mine. I started out doing it as something to do in my spare time and now do it as my main source of income. With three stops along the way, community education has been an incredibly important part of my career progression.

Eagle Valley was where it all started. Reffing elementary and junior high basketball tournaments, selling concessions, and selling tickets while I was in high school was my "work away from the farm" experience. After my first year of college I was hired to be the summer recreation assistant which in that small community meant coaching tee-ball (K-3) and little league (4-6). Ironically, my boss was summer was a former teammate and current Strength and Conditioning Coach at the University of Montana, Charlie Woida.

The following spring I applied to be a coach and umpire for Morris Area Community Education. I was hired for the job and would coach various levels of tee-ball all morning four days a week and umpire softball ranging from elementary all the way to the varsity level. The next year (2005) I would be hired to run the program which included all baseball K-6 and all softball K-12. The two summers I spent running these programs were some of the biggest learning experiences of my life. From dealing with angry parents of a tee-baller to handling a situation with irate coaches yelling at umpires (and sometimes myself) it all helped me get to where I am today. In addition to the summer program, I also took care of the fall youth football program and coached/supervised elementary basketball on Saturday mornings.

When I finished college I helped out at Eagle Valley for another summer while I was deciding what my next career move would be. After that I assumed my community education career was over. However, nearly four years after my last day with CE, I was hired on as the Recreation Program Supervisor with Buffalo-Hanover-Montrose Community Education. My job would be to supervise their multipurpose athletic facility (a six court cathedral with a full four lane walking track elevated above it) and to help the Recreation Coordinator (Todd Lunning) run the many Junior Bison athletic programs. While my time at Morris helped prepare me for the position, it was a bit of an adjustment to run programs that had as many kid participants in it as the town I was born in has population. With my work at the multipurpose facility, I get to work directly with pretty much every coach in every sport at every level in the area. It is an absolute joy to work for an education institution that has some funds to support you with (not that they are swimming in it, but you at least can replace broken equipment).

As I now am several young men's boss, I would recommend to anyone in high school or college to put in some time in community education either coaching, officiating, or supervising some of the various programs that they run. It is wonderful real world experience for anyone even if you are not looking to get into the crazy world of sports. I have been lucky enough to work for some wonderful people who have mentored me along the way. Steve Sterud, Cindy Perkins, Todd Lunning, Andy Lancaster, Kristin Meister, just to name a few.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Hockey season is upon us!

Growing up in a town where the closest high school hockey program was 25 miles away did not get me into Minnesota's favorite sport. I continued the trend (on accident) by attending a college where you needed to drive 100 miles to see a college hockey game. After college I interned at the National Sports Center, where an enormous eight full size sheets of ice are housed in an indoor facility (Schwan Center). Of course it was difficult to ignore hockey while living in St. Cloud (Go Huskys!) and I have been known to catch Wild fever when they decide to be good from time to time. However, for the most part, hockey has not been a part of my life up until now.

Fast forward to the present and I am currently sitting here on the computer killing time waiting for high school girls hockey scores to come in. You see this past summer I applied for a marketing internship with TST Media and was turned down. However, my resume caught the eye of the Editor in Residence Loren Nelson. He brought me in to interview for a different position, that of Statistician. The job requires odd evening and weekend night hours but can be done almost entirely from home. I jumped at the opportunity and have been doing side projects for Loren ever since. Tonight kicks off the girls hockey season as I said before and the website, in cooperation with the Star Tribune, is getting shifted into high gear tonight. The male portion,, which is run entirely by TST Media has been picking up steam for a few weeks now. Games for the boys start the day after Thanksgiving so there will be no time for a long post meal nap. As the season progresses I may give some updates on what I am working on but for now just go check out the sites! They are both top notch and are something I wish would have been around covering the sports I played when I was in high school.

Coming soon: Book review of the month

Monday, November 8, 2010

Sports Career Top Prospects: Craig Williams

This is the first of a series of occasional posts about people who I have crossed paths with that I think are destined or well on their way to be successful in their sports career. My first spotlight goes to a fellow intern at Baseball Info Solutions, Craig Williams. Craig hails from North Carolina and is a Tar Heel to the core. We were roommates together for most of 2009 in a run down apartment in Catasauqua, PA. He lives day to day with food, water, and a heavy supply of statistics. His idea of a fun night at home is watching a baseball game while sitting on his laptop looking up stats, forming lists, and reading scouting reports of players. I should back up a bit because Craig is a very fun person to be around and he always has a lot of positive energy (just do not bring up Duke or the Red Sox) that really rubs off on the people around him. Before I moved out east for the internship, I did not think there was anyone out there who enjoyed nerdy things like me and could hold a conversation about other things in the world. Craig is definitely one of these people.

Craig graduated from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill in the fall of 2008. In talking to him, he credits taking the Sports Management World Wide Baseball GM & Scouting course for getting his feet wet in sports business. Shortly after graduation he moved up to Pennsylvania for the Baseball Info Solutions internship and was there until October of 2009. After this he moved back to North Carolina and started a ticket sales internship for the Charlotte Bobcats. In his own time he was hired as the official New York Yankee blogger for and has recently moved to writing on today. He currently is studying for the GMAT and is hoping to go back to school for his MBA (smart man!).

Craig is one of the smartest people I know and is an absolute joy to be around. He works hard always whether it is in his job, his hobbies, or in his fantasy draft preparation (honestly, he studies and takes notes like he is trying to pass the bar exam). It would not surprise me if he was writing as a fantasy analyst in a year or two. His writing keeps getting better and it is always entertaining to read his thoughts. Many Yankee blogs are like all things New York and over the top but Craig, while a fan, keeps everything sane, logical, and even throws in some self deprecating humor from time to time. You can check out his work here.

If you would like to get in touch with Craig you can go to his blog, The Bronx Bomber Report. Or, if you would like to read his stuff from past seasons, go to The Blog that Ruth Built.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

The job that almost was...

With only three exceptions, anytime I got to the interview stage, whatever I was going for I was hired. By far the most heartbreaking of these three was my bid to return to my Alma mater as the Sports Information Director at the University of Minnesota-Morris. It was my dream job at the school that I loved. My mentor throughout college Brian "BC" Brummond, who sadly passed away early in 2009, had been the SID for my entire span at UMM. I had applied that summer for the position but did not even get a phone call. The very next year, the person they had hired decided they were going to move on to other things and the job was open again. This time when I applied I threw most formality out the window. I figured since I knew the majority of the people in the department, I shouldn't write them like we are strangers. This method turned out to be a winner because in mid July I got a phone call from the athletic director and my former college baseball coach, Mark Fohl. It was mostly an informational phone call saying I had made the first round of cuts and that they were going to cut down the list one more time before conducting in person interviews with the entire committee. Close to one week passed and finally I got a call while I was working at the National Sports Center for USA Cup. My interview was scheduled for the next week and it would take a little over half the day.

I did not take the interview lightly. For other interviews I would prepare by knowing about the company and how to answer typical interview questions. Normally interviewing was second nature to me as I am a pretty likable guy (although I feel less likable calling myself likable). This time I put together a seven page booklet that would outline my marketing plan for the athletic department. I had color copies made of each of them and bound in a pretty clear plastic sheath. Over the next few days I practiced my presentation on anyone who would listen. I even gave the presentation to both of my fiance's parents which was one of the more intimidating things I have ever done in my life. Soon, it was time for the big day.

I showed up early to Morris to make sure I would not be stiff and groggy from the long car ride from Saint Michael to Morris (close to 150 miles). A friend of mine still was in Morris for the summer and we went out and got lunch at Subway. After a sandwich and one more run through of my presentation and I was off for the interview. There were five people on the search committee. The campus communications director, the athletic director, the head softball coach, the head track team coach, and one student-athlete. The questions were more pointed towards the position itself which I enjoyed (typical interview questions are so incredibly blah at this point) and they seemed very receptive to my responses. Everyone not including the athletic director liked my presentation as well. His only hangup was my push to get the athletics onto Facebook in some form or fashion. It all went very well and I moved onto the next part of the day which was a one on one meeting with the communications director. She was very nice and drove me over to her new office in the newly renovated building I had once had classes in. Most of this portion included talk about communication and marketing strategy and what I thought about changing the athletics logo. After this, the last part of the day was one on one with Coach Fohl. It was a fairly friendly conversation with him telling me all about mileage reimbursement and salary and even the story of a picture of him at Fenway Park on his wall.

The true last part of the interview took place in Little Falls, MN on my way home the following day. I was to sit down and chat with Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Sandy Olson-Loy. My presentation went very well and we had a nice chat about my experience up until that point and what my plans were for the future.

Over a week later I got an early morning phone call from Fohl. He informed me that everyone loved my presentation and the ideas that I had for the program but in the end it came down to one other guy having more experience than me. It was absolutely soul crushing to hear that you interviewed well, had great ideas, had a great connection to the college and openly stated that it was and had been for a long time, your dream job and you STILL did not get the job. In retrospect I cannot point to a single thing in the entire day that I could have done better of differently. It actually came down to a graduate assistantship that the eventual hire had. Ironically the person they hired had a very similar degree as me from the University of Minnesota-Crookston instead of Morris and we both attended Saint Cloud State University at the exact same time for the Sports Management program. Literally the only difference was that he had two years of working for SCSU as a grad assistant. Frustrating for sure, but there were positives.

In the movie "Big Fish" the main character stumbles upon a perfectly perfect town (Specter) early on in his life. Everyone wants and expects him to stay but he decides to leave anyways. His reasoning was that while he would not mind one bit if he ended up in Specter, he was not ready to settle down there just yet. After all, he had not seen the world yet! Looking back I (with the help of my wife Bree) realized that going back to Morris right now would not have been the best for us. We still have sites to see, challenges to triumph, and things to accomplish! What comes next we may not know but the ride promises to be entertaining in the very least!