Will Topham could not see himself doing anything else. Working for a professional baseball organization was all he has ever wanted to do. It’s why he’s worked three unpaid jobs the past three years just to stay in the sport. He wanted to prove himself and secure an opportunity in Major League Baseball. Now, he is getting that chance.
The former Gatemen Intern was recently hired by one of the Tampa Bay Rays’ Single-A affiliates, the Bowling Green Hot Rods. Topham will be working as a Video Associate whose duties entail filming every game and watching the tape back with players and coaches.
“Any other job or working in any other industry doesn’t interest me in the slightest,” Topham said. “I’ve struggled with aspects of my professional life in the past, but I realized I was just ‘paying my dues,’ until a great opportunity like this one presented itself.”
Topham has certainly paid his dues to get to this point. Last year, he was a Baseball Operations Intern for the Gatemen. His other previous stops include Performance Data Analyst for Louisiana State University, Director of Game Day Operations for the Newport Gulls, and Assistant Coach of DC Dynasty Baseball.
Despite bouncing around throughout baseball, Topham still realizes how lucky he has been to have these opportunities to watch good, quality baseball.
“Going to LSU, I grew accustomed to that with the Tigers' players and their opponents but having so many top guys from all around the country all in one place on the Cape was really eye opening,” Topham said.
Thanks to this internship last year in Wareham, Topham is very prepared for his new role for the Hot Rods. He will continue to work with BATS video software for Bowling Green, a software he used last year in Wareham to break down the players.
Topham feels that he now has an opportunity to do something special with the Rays organization. Tampa Bay has never won a World Series, but make no mistake, Topham “hopes to be a part of the team of personnel that contributes to building the Rays' first championship team.”
Topham also acknowledges that he would not have gotten to this point alone. He recognizes all of the sacrifices his parents have made to help him on this journey.
“Without all of their financial support and their belief in my hard work and dedication to this sport, I wouldn't be able to pursue the career path that I'm on,” Topham said.
The career path that Topham is on is similar to that of the players who will be playing in Single-A for Bowling Green. They both share the same dream: to clime the ranks and make it all the way to the majors.
“I've only dealt with college players before in Rhode Island and Mass., but I have never dealt with professional players on an employment level,” Topham said. “I look forward to taking the next step in my career, as they take the next step in theirs.”
Even though Topham is just now cracking the surface of a Major League organization, he already has his career goals in mind.
“I want to achieve the highest level of success in baseball: winning a World Series,” Topham said. “Baseball has the longest season and the biggest grind in all of professional sports and I strive to build something with an organization that hopefully history will look back fondly on.”
And after paying his dues, this is exactly what Topham has the chance to do, starting from the ground up in Single-A.