John Ernst is a sophomore from Loveland, Ohio entering his second year as a baseball manager for the Wake Forest’s Men’s Baseball team. He is a Health & Exercise Science major with minors in Biology, Chemistry and Psychology. His career interests lie in sports orthopedics, specifically orthopedic surgery.
Nick Lalli: How did you get started as a manager for the baseball team?
John Ernst: I knew I always wanted to be involved with Wake Forest Baseball, as my brother played under the same head coach that’s currently here, Coach Thomas Walter. When I first moved in [freshman year], I actually happened to run into Coach Walter, and he offered me a position working with the team, so I took it.
NL: What does an average day at work look like?
JE: It depends. It varies from day to day. Practice is very different from game day, which is very different from lifting. I’ll start with the easiest.
If they’re lifting, it’s normally a couple hours of laundry once they’re done, which isn’t too bad. They have quite a few amenities [at the facilities] that make it worth sitting there for a couple hours.
Next, for practice, you do whatever the coaches need you to do. While [the players] are fielding, I feed the coaches balls or catch for them. During batting practice, I feed the bunt machines so [the players] can work on their bunts.
Sometimes I’m up in the booth making sure the data is collected for their hits during batting practice. During games, we do a variety of different jobs. We do pitch charts, we are in the dugout running balls to the umpire and we have a couple people in the booth doing data collecting and analysis.
NL: What’s your favorite thing about your job?
JE: Just being around the sport, and being around the team. Going on the trips of course — we just got back from California today. We played Long Beach State, and those are trips you’ll always remember.
NL: Do you have a favorite story of your time as a manager?
JE: Hopefully [it will come] this year when we go to a regional [tournament].
NL: That was my next question. What are your expectations for the team this season coming off of last season’s underwhelming performance?
JE: Every year, we always say we have a shot, and that’s true. You never really know what’s going to happen because baseball is such a momentum-based sport. I feel like we have the depth all around … and a really strong starting rotation.
We have a really strong bullpen, and we’re returning almost our entire starting lineup with the additions of some graduate transfers like Will Simoneit from Cornell. Of course, Bobby Seymour and Chris Lanzilli are also [returning], two all-Americans. I feel like we have hitting from the first spot [in the lineup] down to the ninth spot.
NL: Do you see yourself in a career in baseball?
JE: I would love to. I’m interested in a career in sports orthopedics, specifically orthopedic surgery. I would definitely be interested in being a team doctor for a baseball team. I’m working with Dr. [Timothy] Kremchek, who is the team doctor for the Cincinnati Reds, this summer.
NL: What advice would you give to others looking to become varsity sports managers?
JE: You have to have a passion for the sport. It’s a lot of long days. I know almost every week I work about twenty hours. Not all of it’s a glorified job, like doing laundry. Doing laundry for 45 players and coaches isn’t an ideal job. Sometimes it’s late nights. I’ve done laundry until 1:30 in the morning on a school night. If you have a love for the sport, then going to the games, getting to travel with the team, and getting to see different places and colleges makes it worth it.