In this series, we aim to provide you with insight into the ever-changing ecosystem that is Washington, D.C. through the eyes of Vassar Alumni. This month, we feature Race Bottini ’12, who has made his way into the big leagues with the Washington Nationals.
Economics major and Poughkeepsie native Race Bottini ’12 has been playing baseball since he’s been able to hold onto a ball with only one hand. That perhaps explains why he found a second home with the Washington Nationals. Upon first arriving to D.C. for an internship on Capitol Hill during the summer after his sophomore year, Bottini would sneak away during his precious few free hours to attend Nationals games, enveloping himself in sights, smells, and raw emotion that radiated from the field.
As many D.C. natives and long-time residents know, up until recently the Nationals didn’t have a strong following, but that didn’t stop Bottini. “While it was weird that the stadium was half empty every game, I still had a ball every time I went there. It was fun watching this bad team struggle every day for a win; just looking to piece everything together to make a run for the playoffs sometime in the future.” Then Stephan Strasburg happened. Bottini recalls, “I went to his MLB debut and was completely astonished to find that the stadium was full and fanatic for the Nats!” This experience completely changed his perspective on post-graduate efforts, and soon Bottini was seeking out jobs in the sports industry, rather than at high-powered financial firms. For Bottini, there was no other team more exciting that the Washington Nationals. “It was clear both their pitching and hitting were finally all coming together,” he notes, “and I wanted to jump on the bandwagon to help completely turn DC into one of the most vibrant baseball towns in America.”
While he did not get the job he’d hoped for, Bottini is still part of his dream team. “I wanted to get my foot in my door any way possible, which led me to become a box office ticket seller,” he said, “It ain’t glamorous.” What the job is, however, is an opportunity to prepare for other positions in the industry he loves. Whether it be understanding the systems behind stadium operations, learning the economics behind tickets sales, or simply getting to know the team’s constituents, Bottini is taking everything he can and applying it to his future.
Though he’s using this experience to work towards his future, Bottini still takes time to enjoy the small joys of his work. “Whenever fans come up to the ticket window with little kids, I absolutely love talking to the kids and giving them free schedules,” he said, “Nothing amazes me more than how happy kids get when they get the trinket…it seems to completely make their experience at the ballpark, which makes my job completely worthwhile.”
Bottini seems slated for a great run with the Washington Nationals. Now, we only have to wait until he makes his way up the ladder to become commissioner.
Do you know of an alum who has recently moved to Washington, D.C. Metro area that should be highlighted here? Send us a 150 word narrative so we can get to know him or her too! Email [email protected].