For the majority of her life, Betsy Haugh has been around sports. Growing up, she says most family vacations were spent at tournaments instead of the beach.
At age 25, she’s already turned her passion into a budding career in minor league baseball.
“Minor league baseball has done a great job of supporting and helping women advance in the industry – over the past couple years in particular,” Haugh said. “There are so many different support resources out there for women to continue to grow and develop relationships with other women in the industry.”
As part of the team’s affiliation with the New York Yankees, she has worked with GM Brian Cashman. But Haugh says her job is quite different, and she’s fine with that.
“I’m willing to learn as much as I can about the player development side, but I’m more into the operations, promotions, the ticketing – I think that’s where my true passion lies,” she said. “And of course, when you get to come to work at a baseball field, and that’s your office, I mean, it’s hard to complain about that.”
Haugh’s team has been drawing close to 3,000 fans per game to Calfee Park. The team continues to add new promotional ideas, including an agriculture night to benefit the local 4-H club. It included cow yoga, and the auctioning off of a live cow.
“That’s the perfect blend of your unique minor league baseball (experience) with something that has as local impact.”
The local owners expanded the seating at Calfee Park in recent years. It’s located in a residential area, but Haugh says the team worked with the city of Pulaski and local fire marshall to bring fireworks there for the first time in twenty years.
Haugh holds a degree in sports management from Marshall University, where she also played soccer, and a master’s degree in communications from Virginia Tech. Then came a stint with the Appalachian League's Danville Braves, and joined the Pulaski team prior to the 2018 season.
But this season will mark her first postseason experience. Pulaski secured a spot in the playoffs last weekend, and could win their division, with the team currently in first place in the Appalachian League East with a handful of games to play.
Haugh says she's gotten to know a lot fans that frequent Calfee Park, and while many are baseball fans, she feels part of her job is to lure in those who aren't necessarily fans.
“It kind of goes twofold,” she said. "We make sure that everybody can have a good time at the ballpark, but also help breed new baseball fans.”
Regardless of what happens the rest of the season, Haugh, the 2018 Rawlings Woman Executive of the Year, says she’ll get to back to work around the first of October, planning and promoting the 2020 season.
“I despise complacency,” she said. “Even if you’re doing well – there’s something you can do better. And that’s a blessing and a curse in this industry. If you’re sitting still, it’s ‘what promotion can I come with, or what can I be doing differently?”