Can you imagine standing less than two feet from some of your favorite professional athletes every day you go to work?
Jack Grubner does just that for the Texas Rangers as the mascot’s assistant in the “Palomino Posse”, as they call themselves. Grubner is a senior history major at the University of Dallas as well as a well-documented sports junkie. When he is not running cross country or track, he’s usually either drooling over the latest scouting reports of prospective professionals or reviewing a baseball almanac. He is essentially a living, breathing sports Wikipedia.
Joined at the hip to Captain, Dallas’ most recognizable fake horse, Grubner has been able to venture from the nosebleeds of Globe Life Park, onto the field and around the warning track on a golf cart. He has seen and heard way more than the average fan: San Francisco Giants centerfielder Gregor Blanco said hello and exchanged some friendly banter while awaiting an at-bat, newly-acquired pitcher Cole Hamels apparently screams while alone in the tunnel as he walks up to the field, and even former president George W. Bush was nice enough to give Grubner a fist bump while sitting behind home plate.
“Josh Donaldson [Toronto Blue Jays third baseman] is a pretty animated guy,” Grubner said, “while their shortstop Troy Toluwitzki is strictly business. The relationship between Rangers’ Adrian Beltre and Elvis Andrus is even funnier when 15 feet away.”
These wonderful experiences Grubner enjoyed could have only become possible through a chance meeting, an opportunity seized at the right moment. Getting your foot in the door of a professional sports organization, even at an entry-level position, such as mascot assistant, is nearly impossible unless you know the right people. Luckily for Grubner, he did.
It all began just a few months ago, when Grubner was working for the summer as a camp director in Frisco, Texas. The kids were out for a field trip to a Rangers game, which included a tour of the stadium by one of the current employees. The tour guide was impressed by Grubner’s knowledge and visible passion for the sport.
“He asked how I didn’t have a job in baseball and I jokingly said ‘it’s tough,’” Grubner said.
Then, about a week later, Grubner got a call asking him to interview for the position of mascot assistant.
Although being a mascot assistant isn’t exactly what Grubner plans on doing with his entire life, it is a starting point that he is more than happy to accept. While one day he plans on maybe being a general manager or working in player negotiations, Grubner understands that Rome was not built in a day. He made a connection and followed the necessary steps to bring his dream a little bit closer.
“Hopefully, I can continue working for the organization and use this as an opening to future possibilities,” Grubner said. “Just showing up to the stadium every day is awesome and something I’d do for free.”
Just one week into his job, Grubner ended up meeting Rangers senior director of In Park Entertainment, Chris DeRuschyer. Turns out he lives right next door to Grubner in Flower Mound, and wanted to have him over for dinner.
Grubner’s example shows us that life is made up of a billion different tiny instances waiting to be sown like seeds. It is important to be ready at any time to answer the call; you never know who might be talking on the other end of the line. For all we know, the man behind the mascot could put in a good word for Grubner, and he could be on the fast track to bigger and better things.
For now, Grubner is the guy who gets to drive Captain around the ballpark. He watches millionaires put on one of the most cherished athletic pastimes this country knows. He is the guy who gives an ex-president a fist bump and stands 10 feet away from superstars. Oh, and by the way, he gets paid for it; how cool is that? Grubner possesses a perspective that very few have experienced, one that represents an exciting beginning to a hopefully promising career.