“I like baseball because it is an individual sport in a team sport.” He said he also enjoys the fact there is no clock in baseball.
Last week, Boyd Sports announced that Ballentine had been selected as general manager of the Elizabethton Twins, allowing him to continue his professional association with the sport he loves. This is the first time he has served as a general manager and he is looking forward to the challenge.
Ballentine enjoyed playing baseball when he was a boy in Bettendorf, Iowa.
If at first you don’t think of Iowa and baseball together, there is one line from a certain movie that will connect them in your mind. In that movie, Shoeless Joe Jackson was admiring a beautiful emerald green baseball field in the middle of a corn field.
He asked “Is this heaven?”
“No, it’s Iowa,” said the property owner.
Thirty years after the movie “Field of Dreams” debuted, that beautiful movie set still stands, with 115,000 visitors a year coming to the tiny town of Dyersville, fulfilling the line of prophecy in the movie, “If you build it, they will come.”
After high school, Ballentine was pursuing a traditional career objective at Iowa State University, until he was accepted for an internship at his hometown baseball team, the Quad City River Bandits, a Class A team in the Midwest League.
He enjoyed the experience so much that he resolved to try to find a job in baseball. First step was another internship with a local team, this time the Burlington Bees, another Midwest League team.
Ballantine graduated in 2013 and took a job working for the Hickory, N.C., Crawdads, a Class A team in the South Atlantic League, better known as the Sally League. He then moved to Hagerstown, Md., Suns, another Sally League team, where he worked in tickets.
Ballentine then went back to the Midwest League, working in group sales for the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers.
After that was a move to a higher level, as senior account executive with the Mobile BayBears, a Class AA team in the Southern League.
While Ballentine’s resume shows a lot of short stays in his early career, he plans on a longer stay in Elizbethton and he has a five-year plan. He is focusing on the fan experience, with lots of promotional events and more fireworks. This will also be the first year in which beer will be sold at venerable Joe O’Brien Field.
Ballentine said he hopes to grow the attendance and in the future work on other capital projects at Joe O’Brien, which has become his field of dreams.