For some, pursuing a career in baseball is a clear line of sight from the beginning.
For others, happenstance causes the game to fall into their lap.
For Katie Pothier, it was the latter.
Born and raised in New Jersey, Pothier developed an interest in the legal system, which led her to attend Douglass College at Rutgers University, at the time an all-female college. Pothier completed her undergraduate degree in history in 1989 before transitioning to Rutgers Law School in Camden, N.J.
At that time, there were no classes geared toward sports law at Rutgers.
“I didn’t know that teams had lawyers,” Pothier said. “Maybe at that time, not many teams did have in-house lawyers. Some did. The in-house departments now have ballooned.
“I had no idea that this role existed, and it was not even on my radar of things, of careers, to consider at the time,” Pothier said. “So litigation is what I focused on. I went to work in a firm and handled different cases and trained to be a litigator.”
During a summer internship in San Diego, Pothier met her future husband, Mark, leading to the decision to relocate to that city. Pothier accepted a legal associate position in San Diego with a specialization in complex litigation and white-collar criminal defense.
Pothier’s firm was soon hired to represent the Padres in the construction and the approval of Petco Park.
“I can remember the partner at the time asking me, ‘Hey Katie, do you like baseball?’ And I said, ‘Sure,’ thinking he was going to offer me his tickets to a Padres game,” Pothier said.
“He said, ‘We’ve got the owner coming in,’ and they were interviewing our firm to represent the team. He wanted to know if I wanted to be on the team. And I was like, ‘Absolutely.’ ”
Once the case ended, Pothier received an official offer to join the Padres’ in-house counsel in 2002, allowing her the chance to see the opening of Petco Park two years later.
When Padres owner John Moores began the process of selling the team in 2009, Pothier made the decision to leave baseball in 2010, partnering in private practice with a female and minority-owned firm
Five years later, baseball came calling again, this time by way of a legal position with the Rangers.
Pothier found herself back in the position of planning the construction of a new ballpark, Globe Life Field.
In March 2020, Pothier and the Rangers had reached the countdown to opening the new ballpark, until everything came to an abrupt halt because of the coronavirus pandemic.
“(March) literally was supposed to be the grand opening of all this work that everybody had done over the prior four years to get the ballpark open,” Pothier said. “On March 13, we shut everything down.”
The first event hosted at Globe Life Field was a high school graduation ceremony.
“We got emails from families who were just so grateful that they had that experience,” Pothier said. “It wasn’t the opening that everybody had imagined, or I had imagined when I relocated my family, but I was grateful that we were able to do something like that.”
In 2022, Pothier’s journey came full circle when the Mets reached out to inquire about her interest in joining the organization as chief legal officer.
“It was really easy for me to make the decision,” Pothier said. “Yes, it was (Mets president) Sandy (Alderson),” referring to their time together in the Padres’ organization from 2005-09.
Pothier was excited to work with Mets owner Steve Cohen and his wife Alex on their philanthropic ventures and building the franchise’s brand.
“Sometimes you just don’t know what your path is,” Pothier said. “You try to control every bit of it, but you’ve just got to be open for opportunities.
“You don’t know what’s going to lay out.”