Jackson New-Smith works part time with MLB team
THE SANTA CLARA
April 28, 2016
The San Francisco Giants have been one of the most dominant teams in Major League Baseball for the past six years, winning three World Series Championships.
One Santa Clara student has been a part of that organization’s tremendous success.
First-year Jackson New-Smith just began his fourth season working as a bat boy in the San Francisco Giants’ clubhouse.
The job has opened up many opportunities for New-Smith as he continues his work for the franchise. This year he is beginning the transition from bat boy to clubhouse attendant.
Many college students would initially be jealous of a job that allows them to get paid for spending all day at a baseball stadium, but the work is not as easy as one might think.
New-Smith spends hours at the ballpark, which is in downtown San Francisco–an hour away from Santa Clara without taking traffic into account.
In addition, New-Smith is responsible for making sure all of the players’ gear is ready before and after road trips, so he often spends his nights after the games doing laundry and packing bags until 3 a.m. so that the players are ready to catch their flight the next morning.
New-Smith regularly comes back to campus at 4 a.m.
Because he has to be at the ballpark several hours in advance of the opening pitch, New-Smith is forced to take all of his classes early in the morning.
He needs to be able to leave for the city any given day at 1 p.m. for his job.
Having class at 8 a.m. every morning makes his late nights at the ballpark even more challenging.
“It’s been difficult, but I think when you are doing something you love, you learn to make sacrifices,” New-Smith said. “Whether that’s spending time with friends or sleep every once in awhile, those sacrifices pay off in the long run. I want to continue my career in Major League Baseball for the rest of my life.”
Although New-Smith’s hours are grueling, he has made some incredible memories and connections.
When the Giants won the World Series in 2014 against Kansas City, New-Smith was given a championship ring for his role on the team.
New-Smith also participated in the parade celebrating San Francisco’s world champions, which he said was one of the most amazing experiences of his life.
New-Smith’s opportunity to build relationships with members of the team is one of the more coveted aspects of his job.
One player that he has developed a strong bond with is 38-year old lefty reliever Javier Lopez.
Lopez is a four-time World Series champion and currently playing his fourteenth season in the MLB.
The pitcher recognizes New-Smith’s strong work ethic.
“He never complains about the workload, he’s just there to keep us happy,” Lopez said. “He wears many hats; he’s around and he’s accessible for all of us.”
Assistant Coach Shawon Dunston, who handles replay review for the Giants, has also become close with New-Smith.
Dunston also had a notable playing career in the MLB, making two appearances in the All-Star Game after being the number one overall draft pick by the Chicago Cubs in 1982.
“Shawon really took an interest in me when I came to the clubhouse early on,” New-Smith said. “He looked after me and showed me the ropes.”
Dunston is quick to credit New-Smith for what he brings to the organization.
“As a former player, the little things mean a lot. He’s always there for the players, and we never have to ask him to do things more than once,” Dunston said. “He gets the job done, and he gets it done with a smile on his face.”
Both Lopez and Dunston expect that New-Smith will have a bright future ahead of him.
“Right now, he’s on the right path to be successful,” said Dunston. “We sure hope he keeps moving up in the organization.”
Lopez, who has spent seven long seasons with the Giants, echoed his assistant coach’s thoughts.
“If he were to start moving into the front office, I wouldn’t be surprised; the guy is working hard,” Lopez said. “I’ve heard stories of guys going from bat boys to GMs and I know he’s got the high IQ and wants bigger and better things.”
New-Smith’s story of being hired by the Giants is not an especially extraordinary one.
It all started when his youth baseball coach received an email in 2013 saying the Giants were looking for a new bat boy, and his coach thought he would be a good fit.
New-Smith filled out an application and the organization called him in for an interview.
A while later, he was given a tryout to work the visiting clubhouse for two games.
Several months later, New-Smith had the opportunity to work at the visiting clubhouse for the rest of that summer before his junior year.
He would remain with the team for the rest of high school.
As a Santa Clara student, New-Smith is thankful for all the support he has received from the university to help him balance his job with school.
“Laura Fujieda has been unbelievable since the day I set foot on campus with helping me manage my schedule around being able to work,” New-Smith said. “My professors have all been very understanding of my work schedule and know how busy I am.”
In addition to help with academics, Campus Safety allowed him to park his car on campus, breaking the rule on first-year cars, so that he could commute between the stadium and campus and continue pursuing his dream.
“Anyone that knows me really well knows the kind of passion I have for the game of baseball,” New-Smith said. “I’ve learned to lead by example, work hard every day, and not take your opportunities for granted.”
New-Smith believes that he is not only learning about how a professional sports team operates, but also making a difference in helping a world class team get better.
“I think that the team sees me as someone who is young, determined, willing to put forth the effort, and that wants to be a part of the history and tradition of being a San Francisco Giant,” he said.
Contact Bo Kendall at email@example.com or call (408) 554-4852.