After one semester as a biology major, Jason Nicols had enough. He was on a pre-med track at the University of Southern California when he decided it was time for a change. It just was not for him.
The following day, Nicols switched to become an economics major. However, he really had a more specific concentration in mind, one that USC did not offer: baseball.
“I didn't really like the science classes I was taking,” Nicols said. “I wanted to do something that I loved, and that was working in baseball. I changed my major to economics because I thought it would be the best option for my future.”
Majoring in ‘economics’ has since led Nicols all across the country. It has led him on countless road trips with the USC baseball team where Nicols has been a student manager for three seasons. It has led him right here to Wareham, Mass. as Nicols interned for the Gatemen last season. And this summer, it will lead him to Cary, N.C. where Nicols will intern for USA Baseball’s Prospect Development Pipeline.
The Prospect Development Pipeline (PDP) was created by the MLB and USA Baseball in 2016 as a way to bridge the gap between elite high school players and Major League executives. PDP hosts numerous events each year where these top amateur players are scouted and receive feedback from Major League teams.
As for Nicols’ role, he will be interning as a Baseball Operations Coordinator. Nicols will be traveling to the different showcases PDP puts on and will help to collect performance data about the players.
“I’m excited to be working alongside some of the nation’s top prospects. It’ll be really cool to see these guys play before they move on to play college ball or pro ball,” Nicols said.
Nicols enters this new internship with scouting experience already under his belt following his internship last season with the Gatemen. Nicols worked as a Baseball Operations/Scouting Intern where he captured video of the players and wrote scouting reports. Nicols is thankful for this experience because it helped him to “learn the basics of scouting and player evaluation.”
To get to this point, Nicols is grateful for the numerous people who have allowed him the opportunity to work in baseball.
“My parents have always been my biggest supporters. They always pushed me to do my best, and it was their idea for me to reach out to the USC baseball team to work for them. I’m appreciative of my bosses at USC, Marty Butterick and Apoorv Gaur, as well as our coaches, Dan Hubbs, Matt Curtis, and Gabe Alvarez,” Nicols said. “Andy Lang in Wareham also gave me an awesome opportunity to learn how to scout and evaluate players.”
Nicols also would not be where he is today without the help of his friends, specifically another former intern for the Gatemen.
“The person I don’t give enough credit to is one of my best friends, Alex Tarandek. He was a manager with me at USC and it was his idea for us to both work for Wareham last summer,” Nicols said.
Thanks to Tarandek, Wareham provided Nicols with numerous memories over the summer, including the everyday joy of working in baseball.
“The best part of the summer was waking up and knowing I got to watch baseball that day,” Nicols said. “I think it is really special when you love your job and can’t wait to get to work.”
Going forward, Nicols hopes this is just the beginning of a long career in baseball. “In five years, I hope to be working in a major league front office. If that doesn’t work out, I’d love to come back and work with the team at USC,” Nicols said.
Not too bad for a former biology major.