Fantasy finalist interested in climbing ladder to fix O's

Commentary

September 28, 2005|By PETER SCHMUCK

If Peter Angelos is looking for a new general manager, Calvin Bowman has a deal for him.

"Just give me four years, Mr. Angelos," Bowman said yesterday. "I'll bring the fans back."

That sounds great, except for one question: Who the heck is Calvin Bowman?

Bowman is a 25-year-old Towson University graduate who works in the college's alumni relations department and dreams of becoming a baseball executive ... a dream that seemed to be within reach a few months ago when he made the finals of the Yahoo! "Fantasy Front Office" contest.

The unusual Yahoo promotion promised a job in the San Francisco Giants' front office to the finalist who came out on top in a 12-team fantasy league this season.

Alas, Bowman is in eighth place going into the final days of the competition, so his chances of spending the next year as the Giants' special assistant, baseball operations, are not much better than the Orioles' chances of reaching the postseason.

"Only one place wins," Bowman said wistfully, "and I still haven't gotten a call from Peter."

Don't feel bad. Apparently, there are a lot of people waiting for a call-back from Angelos, but eighth place out of 22,000 original entrants is a lot better than fourth place out of five teams in the American League East - especially when the fifth-place team is the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.

Bowman entered the contest by answering a set of questions and submitting an essay on baseball strategy. He was notified last winter that he had made the first cut, but the possibility of actually winning a major league job (and a $15,000 cash prize) didn't really sink in until he found out he was entered in the draft for the 12-team Yahoo fantasy league that would lead to an actual front office job.

"I just went from there," he said. "The amount of research I did was phenomenal. There was less than a week to prepare."

He knows that a lot of real baseball people roll their eyes when they hear fans talking about their rotisserie baseball teams, but this was different. There was so much riding on it that he has spent much of the past year immersed in baseball scouting information and statistics.

"You wouldn't believe how much you put into it," he said, "but it was fun the whole time. I never even thought about the $15,000. It was a chance to work in a big league organization. It was a way to get into baseball."

Bowman is a huge Orioles fan who grew up in Towson and went to Calvert Hall, so he did engage in a more conventional pursuit of a front office job when he got out of college.

"I spoke a couple of times with the Cal Ripken group about something with the Aberdeen team or the new team they are acquiring in Georgia," he said, "but they were looking for people in sales. I really want to be involved in the operations side."

He also considered pursuing an internship in the B&O warehouse, but has reached the point where he needs a real job to pay the bills.

"I know how tough it is," he said, "but it's something I'll always want to pursue."

It looks like Anthony Agneta of Medford, Mass., will finish on top and get a foot in the door with the Giants. The job is for one year, but that's a good, long time to audition for a chance to stay in the business.

Bowman can only hope that the 15 minutes of fame he gets from his place among the finalists in the contest will make it a little easier to get an interview somewhere ... hopefully, somewhere close to home.

Major League Baseball is replete with stories of bright young people working their way up the ladder to become well-known major league executives. I seem to remember a fresh-faced guy named Theo Epstein shuffling around the Orioles' front office not so long ago, and now he's the general manager of the Boston Red Sox.

Bowman would love to get his hands on the first rung of that ladder, but with the Orioles looking for answers after such a difficult season, he's also willing to start at the top.

peter.schmuck@baltsun.com

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