Women In Baseball: Bailie Brown Blazes A Trail
Bailie Brown has experienced a lot of firsts this year.
She became the first woman to graduate from Syracuse University’s sport analytics program. She earned her first job in the industry she always dreamed of working within—as a baseball operations apprentice with the Astros—and she got her first glimpse of applying her education to her chosen profession.
Brown’s primary hope is that there aren’t any lasts on the horizon.
“I’m so grateful for the opportunities I’ve been given, and I definitely have my professors and peers to thank for helping me get through (the program at Syracuse), but at the same time it saddens me that I was the first one,”
Brown said. “That there weren’t girls immediately there with the creation of the program . . .
“While I’m proud to be the first one, I’m glad I’m not the last one.”
Since April, Brown has been working with the Astros, mostly within the strategy department. Her job includes but is not limited to internal information sharing and updating, working with the front office and advance scouting team, and is centered around various projects and modeling for multiple areas of the organization and numerous aspects of the season, though specifics are proprietary.
Very quickly, Brown’s view of the game shifted. She entered the industry as a fan of the game and then got a peek behind the curtain.
“I didn’t have any kind of inside understanding of anything as a fan,” she said. “So being able to go into work every day, and even if I’m not involved in something directly, just hearing conversations that other people are having, getting to know them, learn about their jobs—I definitely have a much greater understanding of how a front office works and a great appreciation for all the work that goes on behind the scenes.”
Heading to Houston after graduation, Brown’s introductory coding classes were put into practice with real-life data sets, and her learning experienced an evolution it only could by harnessing her skills in practice. Her interest in data science has expanded to the point where she is now starting her master’s degree in the subject at Northwestern this fall.
Brown has seen her biggest challenge become the area that has most piqued her interest. Even just through one season of big league ball, she has a brand new perspective on what she knows, what she doesn’t, what she wants to, and how to put it all together.
“It was easy for me to doubt my skills and the things I was learning at school,” Brown said. “I knew it was beneficial, but I worried it wouldn’t translate, or that it wouldn’t be enough.
“But the sport analytics program really did prepare me very well to step into this role and have a good base of knowledge. I am still learning every day, but I didn’t trust that it was going to be enough to step into a role—even as an apprentice—and make a difference, but it was.”
While Brown will miss the environment and perspective she’s been given the most when her apprenticeship—which is effectively an internship—comes to an end in Houston, she continues to be inspired by the opportunity and cannot wait for what more may be to come.
“I’ve been really excited about seeing my dreams come to life, working for a baseball team and being able to contribute even in a really small way as an apprentice, and succeeding,” Brown said.
“It’s been a really exciting experience that keeps me motivated to keep learning more and to be able to contribute even more as I develop in my career.”