When Shannon Siders ’10 chose to leave her Dayton-area home and enroll at Bellarmine, she had no idea that her decision would lead to a world of all-stars, home run derbies, Louisville Sluggers and “Aceball.” Earning a championship baseball ring wasn’t even a fleeting thought. But Siders, who served as chief editor for The Concord for two years, encountered all these circumstances as her professional world developed around sports writing. “Shannon can’t stand to be bored,” her mother, Jane Siders, accurately observed, “and she thrives on new adventures.”
Graduating magna cum laude from BU in only three years, Ms. Siders then earned an M.S. in Sport Administration from the University of Louisville, also magna cum laude. She initially worked at Louisville Slugger Field, selling sorbet. “That’s when I first realized that you could work full-time for a sports team,” she said.
Internships and key experiences followed with the BU Sports Information Office (“where I learned the art of baseball scorekeeping”); the Louisville Bats (“where I became friendly with future MLB all-stars Aroldis Chapman and Todd Frazier”); the U of L Sports Information Department (“where I conducted post-game, on-camera player interviews for their website”); and the Daytona Cubs (“where I won an academic scholarship that I received on the field before a Miami Marlins-San Francisco Giants game”).
Her stint in Florida introduced her to the gritty business of baseball, including selling tickets and managing major events. “I even cleaned the entire stadium after games—for only $50!” Returning to Louisville, she became director of communications for the U.S. Baseball Academy, a national for-profit company, where she wrote press releases for 175 training camps. “That’s when I determined that I wanted to work in baseball as a career,” Ms. Siders said.
Then it was on to the Reno Aces, AAA aff-iliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks, where she quickly rose to the position of manager of communications, overseeing the team’s communications and baseball operations. The timing was perfect because Reno was hosting the AAA Home Run Derby and All-Star Game.
“In addition to handling the communications and operations for these events, I was the main point of contact for all players, umpires, broadcasters, media and MLB Network personnel,” Ms. Siders said. She also maintained the blog “It’s not Baseball…it’s Aceball,” during the year the Aces won the AAA playoffs, for which she was awarded a championship ring. She avoided post-game locker room visits with sweaty ballplayers, but she had plenty of experience creating gameday programs, media guides, press releases and game notes.
During her travels, Ms. Siders made friends with such notable players as veterans Jamie Moyer, Brandon McCarthy and J.J. Putz, and newbies Matt Davidson and Billy Hamilton, whom she met when he was a Bakersfield Blaze.
In 2014, a position for a marketing communications associate opened up at the iconic Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory, and Ms. Siders was drawn home. “Shannon stood out among the candidates because of her hands-on experience with baseball and journalism, and her local ties to Louisville, including Bellarmine,” said Museum Director Anne Jewell, “and she had proven she was willing to travel far and work hard if it meant being close to the game of baseball. We love having that kind of passion for the sport on our team.”
Ms. Siders currently manages all marketing and communications needs for Louisville Slugger Museum, a major tourist attraction in the region. “I also monitor and provide content for our official Facebook page and helped launch our blog recently,” she said. Ms. Jewell continued, “Shannon’s most important job responsibility is being an ambassador for our beloved brand. Since she interfaces with the public so often via our website, Facebook, TripAdvisor, and in person at marketing events, she reaches tens of thousands of our potential guests.”
“I am grateful to the Bellarmine professors who told me that they were preparing me for jobs that didn’t even exist at the time,” Ms. Siders said. “I didn’t understand it then, but I certainly appreciate it in hindsight.”
While women have often been “left on the bench” when it comes to male-dominated organized baseball, Shannon Siders has consistently shown that she is as skillful, dedicated and competitive as anyone in the field of sports communications.
Harry Rothgerber ’69
Harry Rothgerber ’69 is a retired prosecutor who wants to coach third base for the Dodgers when he grows up.