On Monday, Sep. 19, former Phillies general manager, player, and current professional in residence at Rowan University, Ruben Amaro Jr., headlined the first “Pizza With the Pros” of the fall semester.
Amaro Jr. detailed his experiences at his various positions in baseball and provided some insight as to how he came to be a professional in residence at the university.
“I’ve worn a lot of hats,” said Amaro Jr., whose baseball journey includes stops as a bat boy, player, GM, coach, and now as an analyst for NBC Sports Philadelphia and the MLB Network. His breadth of knowledge in these disciplines, he explained, prompted his move to Rowan.
“This felt like kind of a natural order of progression for me that I get an opportunity to try to pass on some of my experiences and knowledge about the industry,” Amaro Jr. said.
Amaro Jr. serves as a contributor to the Inside the Front Office and History of Sports in Philadelphia courses at Rowan. He was named to the position of professional in residence on April 7.
As extensive as Amaro Jr.’s résumé is, he’s still presented with the challenge of selling himself. A skill that, in multiple phases of his career, was, and still is, a necessity.
“As a broadcaster, I’m just trying to sell my own knowledge and trying to make sure I bring some entertainment to the story,” he said.
He went on to explain that being open to continuous learning is a vital component of achieving success in an ever-changing industry. Amaro Jr. also mentioned that he enjoys being criticized because it provides him with an opportunity to improve — another critical aspect of working in the broadcast booth.
Working in the booth is still a learning experience for Amaro Jr. who said, “I’m still learning, it’s my third year.” Working away from the diamond presents many different challenges than hitting and fielding. But Amaro Jr. is comfortable in his new role.
His adopted philosophy of staying true to yourself whilst welcoming chances to grow was preached throughout the evening. Amaro Jr. who served as the GM of the Phillies for seven seasons said that there were things he wished he could have “had a redo on” but he was also one to stick to his principles.
He recalled a time when he sat alone in Citizens Bank Park in a state of astonishment as he considered the magnitude of his position running a pro team. Amaro Jr. called being a GM “stressful,” but he “didn’t take it for granted.”
During his tenure as GM, the Phillies experienced one of their better stretches in franchise history. Philadelphia led the MLB in wins in both 2010 and 2011.
“To have been a part of that is awesome,” Amaro Jr. said.
Another key to success as a GM, he cited, was being able to communicate with others. In order to pull off trades, signings, and simply complete day-to-day tasks, it was critical that Amaro Jr. touched base with individuals of departments outside his own. A lesson, he noted, with general applications.
Similarly to how he was adamant about selling himself, Amaro Jr. spoke with emphasis when detailing his interview process as a prospective GM. He acknowledged that he interviewed multiple teams over the course of multiple seasons, but his mantra remained the same.
“I think you just gotta be you, right? I think you just have to be able to express who you are, what you are, and what you’re about,” he said.
“Pizza With the Pros” returns next Monday on Sept. 26 when John Bochiaro, VP of Game Presentation for the NHL and Rowan graduate, visits.
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