For the love of the game
Katie Mooradian is getting a crash course in baseball this summer.
The 23-year-old St. Catharines native is spending the season with the Fayetteville Woodpeckers, the Low-A affiliate of the Houston Astros as a Player Development Technology intern.
Mooradian’s position sees her in charge of all the video and technology for the club. She is also doubling as director of team travel, setting the travel itinerary for the team, and accompanies the team on road trips.
“I expected long hours and a lot of work, but I love it,” the Sir Winston Churchill graduate said. “I get there at 11 a.m. and don’t leave until 1 a.m. most nights but it doesn’t even feel like I’m working spending all day at a baseball stadium, so it’s pretty cool.”
Mooradian’s duties normally consist of setting up a portable radar system which records data and speed for each pitch for pitchers throwing side sessions before the game. She also operates a high speed camera which takes 1,000 frames per second which is used to capture the release of each pitch thrown.
Mooradian then compiles the video for each pitcher, sorting each frame by pitch type before uploading to the organization’s data base. The Astros also have her doing the same thing for base running and defensive plays.
Before the game Mooradian sets up 11 cameras around the field to record the action at different angles. She spends the game in the press box where she charts the action on the field and then compiles more video which again is uploaded afterward.
It is an incredible amount of work.
“It’s crazy. It takes so much work planning and organizing and getting everyone on the same page,” she said. “All of the work and all of the people it takes to run a team, we have so many staff members and we have four minor league affiliates.”
On the road, she travels with the team by bus but reports the longest trip is only four hours. The Woodpeckers are based in Fayetteville, NC, located in the northwest section of the state with a population of about 526,000.
She doesn’t get much time to explore the area — she has been placed with a host family — but her position takes up most of her time.
“I really don’t have a ton of time outside of work,” she said. “Monday’s are off days which is kind of a relaxation day and get all your laundry done for the week because we’re so busy during games.”
She has had an opportunity to investigate some of the cities on the road.
“Getting to visit these little cities is super cool and getting to see the stadiums — even in low A some of the stadiums are super nice — ours is only two years old. It’s great to see the cities and do some exploring and see the ball parks.”
Mooradian, a graduate of Brock’s sport management program, was slated to work for the Astros last season but the COVID pandemic wiped out all minor league baseball. She previously worked for the Astros in 2019 as Player Development Technology Apprentice with the Quad City River Bandits, and in 2018 was an intern with the Reading Fightin’ Phils of the AA Eastern League.
“The internship helped, although it wasn’t in scouting and player development. It was in sales but I still got the experience of working in baseball,” she said.
She hopes to use this experience as a stepping stone up the ladder of pro ball.
“I want to get into more of a scouting role,” she said. “This is a really great position to dip my toe in the water, get some experience, especially working for the Astros, one of the most progressive organizations in the league.
“I learn so much every day I feel it’s going to help me a ton.”
Mooradian’s season began in April when she reported to the Astros minor league complex in West Palm Beach, Fla.
“I got to meet a ton of scouts from other teams which was super cool and then met our assistant GM (Pete Putila) and that was really awesome,” she said.
The Woodpeckers’ season ends Sept. 19 at which point Mooradian could find herself assigned to duties in the Florida Instructional League.
“Plans are up in the air,” she said.
The Woodpeckers are about halfway through the season and Mooradian couldn’t be more pleased she accepted the position.
“All the players have been really good. The athletic training intern is also a girl so it’s nice to have another female to have around and to chat to,” she said. “It’s gone so fast.
“Oh my gosh, I’m so happy. It was the best decision ever.”
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