Katie Mooradian is headed to Iowa by way of Palm Beach. BILL POTRECZ

Katie Mooradian is living the dream.

The 22-year-old St. Catharines native grew up loving baseball and now is going to collect a paycheque by going to the ballpark every day.

The Sir Winston Churchill graduate recently accepted a position as a Player Development Technology Apprentice with the Quad City River Bandits, a single A affiliate of the Houston Astros.

“I was so excited,” she said, when asked about the opportunity. “After doing my internship last year, that was really exciting for me because that’s always been my dream.”

Mooradian laid the groundwork for the position when she attended Major League Baseball’s winter meetings in San Diego in December.

“I went with a couple of the girls I met at my scout school I went to in October. I had a few interviews lined up and they went really well,” she said. “A couple of weeks later, they called and offered me the job.”

Mooradian will be travelling with the team charting pitches, taking video and keeping score. She leaves for spring training at the end of March for a week of training in Palm Beach, Florida, before heading off to the River Bandits’ home in Davenport, Iowa.

She admitted feeling both excited and a little nervous.

“Definitely both,” she smiled. “I’ve had the experience of living away from home before last year but this one is a little farther away. It’s a ten-hour drive but I feel like it will be easier than last time.”

Mooradian’s love of baseball can be traced to her mother, Rina Rode, a passionate Toronto Blue Jays fan.

“My mom has always been a huge baseball fan. She would take me to games when I was little. We made a goal to go to all 30 stadiums, which we accomplished last summer.”

As Mooradian’s passion for the game grew, she began exploring avenues to work in the sport. She enrolled in the Sport Management program at Brock and then in her fourth year discovered she had an interest in player development.

“I really didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do — I knew I wanted to work in sport — but then I discovered a field in player development and scouting in baseball,” she said. “I feel like player development is the basis for everything for every team. In order to win at the major league level, you have to have a good base at the minor league level so if you’re developing all your players in the minor leagues correctly and setting themselves up for success at the major league level, then the major league team is going to win eventually.”

She acknowledged she still turns a few heads when asked what she is about to do —after all, scouting and player development is a male-dominated field.

“I’ve come across it in my life. People ask me what I’m going to do and I tell them and they say, ‘What do you know about baseball or scouting? You’re a girl, I wouldn’t expect that.’ I explain to them, but in my interviews no one has mentioned anything and everyone has treated me equally.”

Mooradian accepted an internship last summer with the Reading Fightin’ Phils of the AA Eastern League, where she found out first- hand how much she loved working in the sport.

“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.

Mooradian then connected with former St. Catharines Blue Jays general manager Ellen Harrigan while on a trip to Dodger Stadium, where Harrigan works as Director, Baseball Administration, for the Dodgers.

Harrigan gave Mooradian career tips and told her about a scouting school for women in Illinois.

“I went there and learned so much about how to evaluate players and the different tools you use to do so,” she said.

Mooradian can’t wait for her new adventure to begin and is prepared to do whatever is asked of her.

“Everyone starts as an intern,” she said. “I know people who have done four or five internships and are still looking for their first full time position. You have to wait until the right position comes along for you and once you’re there, you can just work your way up from there.”


For more Niagara sports news, check out bpsportsniagara.com