Published in the Mar-Apr 2012 issue of MyLIFE magazine
Getting an interview from someone whose job is communication turned out to be as easy as getting up out of your seat to the music of “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” during a seventh-inning stretch. Fans of the Diamondbacks—and would-be fans—step up to a new home plate and get on base with Josh Rawitch. His title is senior vice president of communications for the Diamondbacks, and he’s been at it since last September.
Before arriving in Phoenix, Rawitch enjoyed a 15-season career with the Los Angeles Dodgers, coming up through the ranks of media, public relations and communication like a baseball player rising from the rookie league to The Big Show.
“My first day on the job was the first day of the National League playoffs,” he said, “and my last day with the Dodgers was the last day of their season.”
It was quite a career move. Rawitch grew up in Los Angeles, played baseball through high school and then explored the business side of the sport during his college years at Indiana University. He answered some questions about this career that has turned out to be his passion.
Q: How was the transition from Los Angeles to Phoenix?
A: It was much easier than I expected. People are kind and helpful here, and there is a great environment in the Diamondbacks’ office. As for living in Arizona, I find that it is easier living here than it was in L.A. One of my childhood friends happens to live near us in Scottsdale and he’s helped out a lot.
Q: As vice president of communications for the Diamondbacks, what is your job description?
A: To permeate the market with Diamondbacks messages! Every morning I write a briefing on what happened with the team yesterday and what’s expected on the current day. There is much brainstorming for stories, writing press releases and monitoring social media feeds like Twitter to keep up with what people are saying and writing about the Diamondbacks. I find the human interest and the business stories that the public will appreciate. With this team, it is made easy because of Derrick Hall [president of communications] and Kirk Gibson [team manager]. Kirk places an emphasis on allowing team members to be present in and give back to this community.
Q: So, what is a typical day on the job?
A: It varies by the season. Right now during spring training I’m usually at the field by 6:30 in the morning and I stay until 5:30. In the regular season when the team is home, a day may last from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. There really is no typical day on this job or in baseball. I consider my job to be 24/7 because even when I’m not in the office or at a game, I’m usually thinking about baseball. It doesn’t feel like work!
Q: What has been your biggest challenge since you’ve been with the Diamondbacks?
A: Learning a whole new media market. While it has been made easy because the people have all been so nice, there is a learning curve to it. The other challenge is to reach fans who may not know yet that they can enjoy the game of baseball through the Diamondbacks players.
Q: What would you like for Arizona fans to know about you?
A: My passion for baseball is matched by wanting to make a positive difference in this world, from bringing joy to a child through being able to meet a player to raising money to help various charities. The players know that having this great brand—being a Diamondback—carries with it the responsibility to give back to their community.
My favorite quote is from the wisdom of Jackie Robinson, who said, “A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives.”
Q: Talk about the eighth annual Fan Fest event that was held at the start of spring training.
A: In 2012, 25,000 people attended this free, one-day event, where fans, especially kids, met the players, got autographs, interacted with players via social media and had photos taken. It was sponsored by Subway, so there were also opportunities at some Subway outlets where you could have had a player make your sandwich. In 2011, attendance was 10,000, so it was great to see a much better number this year.
Q: You moved your family here. How do they like Arizona?
A: My wife, Erin, has a great ability to adjust! She is a web designer and has been very supportive of my career and of our family. Our daughter, Emily, is 4 and our son, Braden, is almost 2.
Rawitch may have hit a home run on some diamond in the past, but it can be said that by coming to Phoenix he ran from “home” in Los Angeles. He said, “From the time I first played Little League at the age of 5 and got my first baseball card, I loved the team play and the strategy of the game.” Baseball has been his lifelong passion, and thus it his real home.
Nonetheless, welcome to the baseball of Arizona, Mr. Rawitch.