Kyle Arnett has always been all about baseball.
He couldn’t get enough of it growing up in Princeton and later in college, pitching for Benedictine University and as a walk-on at Eastern Illinois University.
He’s also spent recent summers coaching Little League baseball in Princeton.
This summer, he’s having the best of both worlds and making a living out of baseball.
Arnett, a 2012 graduate of Princeton High School, is the production assistant for the South Bend Cubs, the Class A affiliate of the Chicago Cubs in the Midwest League.
It is safe to say, Arnett is living the dream.
“I get to wake up and go to a baseball field every day. Can’t complain,” he said.
Arnett, 25, interned with the club his sophomore year of college and did such a great job he was offered the full-time position by his old boss this year.
It’s his job to help provide a pleasurable experience for all fans attending the South Bend games. He is responsible for head shots of players, all in-game graphics, video content of players that goes to their various media accounts, as well as directing and producing games.
“We have scheduled everything down to the second. Every video, we have to know what time it will play, just like a movie script planning everything out,” he said. “Every department kind of runs through us. We have that clock we’re working with and making sure everyone is on the same page.”
Sometimes they have to adjust to curve balls thrown their way.
“Maybe a announcer went too long what he was reading, or sometimes we have a Little League parade of kids that took a little longer than what we thought,” he said.
Arnett is constantly updating graphics and logos when each new team comes to town to keep everything interactive and updated. He had the team vice president ask him to change the team store promotional video because it still showed snow on the ground.
“Just little things like that to show we’re still in the season and we can forget about those awful April games where it was freezing and we didn’t want to be out there,” he said.
The South Bend staff has an assortment of video clips to throw in, depending on how the game is going. Happy Gilmore clips are a big hit, Arnett said.
They do have to be careful what they use so as to not to gain the wrath of the umpires.
“We can get thrown out by the umpires,” he said. “We can’t show any type of replay that are in question or that would go against the umpires’ call.”
South Bend hosted the recent Midwest League Home Run Derby, and Arnett had one of the video clips he directed shown on ESPN’s SportsCenter that night.
“There’s something I can check off the résumé,” he said.
As a single A ball club, South Bend sees various players moving up and down through the Cubs farm system. Arnett makes it a point to get to know each one to help him better promote the team with trivia questions and other pertinent information.
“It’s awesome to build relationships with these minor league players,” he said. “They’re all like 18, 19 years old. Imagine just being out of high school. They’re professionals, and we treat them like professionals. My whole mindset is break the barrier to build those relationships.”
Arnett has got to meet big leaguers Mike Montgomery and Victor Caratini from the Cubs on rehab assignments at South Bend. The production staff meets the big leaguers to take their pictures to be included on the video board complete with a quick Photoshop in South Bend uniforms.
Arnett studied electronic media production in school and became a quick learner and skilled on the camera shooting sports. He said he learned how to shoot video shooting football games and following the ball on kickoffs.
“A lot of my classmates said, ‘Hey, you’re pretty good at that,’” he said, noting being a pitcher and always locking into the catcher’s mitt was a big help, too, when it came to focusing on shooting sports.
He said he’s always studying broadcasts on TV and passes on his knowledge and skills teaching the college interns and freelancers that come his way.
“I teach myself every day as well as help camera crews get the new tricks I’ve learned and all the new bells and whistles. The equipment we use is always changing,” he said.
Arnett has done a lot of freelance work, including assignments at the Big 10 hockey championship, the women’s national NIT basketball championship game between Michigan State vs. Central Michigan, and the Michigan-Notre Dame outdoor hockey game.
It’s all helped him make contacts for future possibilities.
“It doesn’t have to be baseball, just the sports product world,” he said. “I love it, I love the drive, and I love the feeling that you don’t know what’s going to happen, but you have a backup plan. You have that script that you’re following, and you can always go off course.”
Kevin Hieronymus is the BCR Sports Editor. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.