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Tyler Tumminia is vice president of marketing and operations for the Goldklang Group, a sports and entertainment consulting and management firm based in Florham Park, N.J. Tumminia, who joined the group in 2004, oversees its marketing and sponsorship; operations; and communications efforts. She developed the group's marketing philosophy, Be Your Own Fan, and spearheaded the creation of the Professional Baseball Scouts Hall of Fame. It's no surprise that Tumminia turned her love of baseball into a career. The New York native has baseball in her blood: Her father, John Tumminia, has been a scout for more than 30 years, mainly with the Chicago White Sox. She will be attending MLB's Scout School this September. espnW caught up with Tumminia, who was named after Ty Cobb, as part of our ongoing Power Play series highlighting women in the sports business.
espnW: How did you get started in the baseball business?
Tyler Tumminia: I couldn't get a job in baseball after I graduated from college. I come from a baseball family. Baseball is my family and I have a deep love for the game ... I called up Kim Ng [now senior vice president of baseball operations for MLB]. I said, "What am I doing? I'm in financial services and high-tech PR. I want to be in baseball." She gave me the best piece of advice: "Have patience. And go get the business side, the 'real world' business experience first. Forget about the game." So I built up my resume with IBM and other companies. I love this game so much I actually ended up calling the [Class-A] Hudson Valley Renegades and begged for an intern position at the age of 26. I said, "Please, I will make $400 a month. I just am trying to get in the game. I will prove myself if you just give me a shot." They gave me an internship position. I was there a month and a half and they made me director of community relations, and then less than a year later I was with the Goldklang Group.
espnW: What sports did you play growing up, and do you play any now?
TT: I'm a big softball player. I pitched and played second base after that. I play volleyball and I'm actually an English [horse] rider and I still ride. I also run a lot. Nobody knows this, but I run in a cemetery. It's gorgeous and I don't have to worry about being hit by a car.
espnW: You're in this business because you love this game and are a fan. How did you handle the transition to being a businessperson?
TT: It was challenging at first. I haven't been able to be a fan. When I walk around, you never know who's watching at any given time. Everybody is always monitoring and looking. My office is the ballpark. Where I'm a huge fan and it feels great is hockey. I went to a hockey game and got to see Ovechkin play. I haven't been that crazy in a long time. Outside my sport, I feel like I can be like, "Oh my god, that's KG! That's Paul Pierce!" I also love the Celtics and the Bruins. Which is bizarre because I'm a New York girl. And I like the Jets.
espnW: You travel frequently for your job. One challenge of being on the road is eating healthy and staying in shape. How do you do it?
TT: I started out horribly. I put on that "baseball 15." It's all in the scheduling. I wake up every morning at 5 a.m. I have oatmeal now. No more bagels, eggs. When I head to the ballpark, I don't eat [there]. I also try to make a yoga class whether I'm home or on the road. When I'm on the road, I go for a walk for one hour, whether it's on the treadmill or outside. I learned that from my dad. My dad is always walking before a game or after a game. The biggest key for me is the walking. And I still ride competitively.
espnW: What was your father's influence on you and your decision to get into baseball?
TT: My father did not encourage me to work in the business. My father was gone 250 days out of the year. He missed my high school graduation, birthdays, many holidays. When I got in this game, part of that is rooted in love and that bond and that connection. I feel like I'm full when I'm here at the ballpark. For my father, this was his home. I feel close to my dad even when he's not here, so that's the reason why I got into it. I had worked in other fields but nothing ever felt as right as when I worked in sports.