| May 1, 2023
By CCL Reporter Sean Brennan
(COMPTON, CA) – Terry Jordan, better known as TJ, doesn’t back down from any obstacles that stand in his way. Instead, he attacks them head-on.
This fearless mindset is why he moved nearly 400 miles from home to Los Angeles to pursue a sports management career. It’s also what helped him become the General Manager of the California Collegiate League’s MLB Academy Barons less than three years after receiving his bachelor’s degree.
And for the 31-year-old, a dauntless way of thinking is nothing new.
“I feel like that’s always been the case for me,” Jordan said. “When people say something’s impossible, I like to be ‘let me see if I can do this.’ I like that challenge, I feel like I’ve always had that.”
The earliest examples of his determination are from playing sports as a youth – specifically basketball. Despite being on the smaller side for his age, the Phoenix, Ariz. native often elected to join the older kids’ pickup games simply because it presented a bigger challenge. While his athletic days concluded after high school, Jordan knew his tenacious approach could apply to all walks of life.
“I always liked to challenge myself and my abilities against the older guys,” Jordan recalled. “I guess that’s where [my approach] transitioned from. I took that and instilled [it] into daily tasks and life in general.”
Jordan attended Arizona State University, where he’d work towards a degree in sports management. During his senior year in 2020, he landed an internship with a city’s recreation department. While the length of the internship was abbreviated due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Jordan benefitted from unique circumstances resulting in a heavy workload, a challenge he unsurprisingly welcomed with open arms.
“My supervisor…was going on maternity leave,” Jordan said. “It pretty much turned my internship into taking over for her…”
An expanded role quickly provided Jordan a true taste of working in sports, as his extensive list of responsibilities ranged from human resources like interviewing and training staff to operations like managing scheduling and equipment.
He felt he’d gained enough experience from this rigorous internship to make a career out of sports management and naturally, when an opportunity in the CCL arose, Jordan didn’t hesitate to pack his bags and head to the Golden State.
“I graduated from ASU, and I saw on Indeed that the Arroyo [Seco] Saints posted an internship,” Jordan said. “So I applied, got it, and ended up making the move from Arizona to California, just with the money I saved up. Because I knew it was going to be an unpaid internship, but I’ve been wanting to move out [to the Los Angeles area] since I was a little kid. So I had the chance to do that and work in sports, which I’m really passionate about.”
Jordan served as an operations intern for the Saints during the 2021 season, where his responsibilities included stadium operations, equipment management, and scoring games. Starting a career in a completely new city could be seen as daunting coming out of college, but not for Jordan, who pounced on the opportunity and became a dependable and well-respected member of the Saints’ staff.
And above all, his contributions in Pasadena eventually opened new doors for him.
“Getting that opportunity with the Saints was a really big stepping stone for me,” Jordan said. “That summer gave me so much experience and led to me seeing a post on LinkedIn for the [MLB Youth] Academy. It was as a baseball instructor role…“
Major League Baseball’s Urban Youth Academy is a not-for-profit organization that aims to ‘grow the game of baseball and softball while promoting diversity in all aspects of the game’ and ‘provide safe and organized recreational activities for youth.’ The Academy was founded in Compton, Calif. in 2006 and has produced MLB talent such as Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Trayce Thompson and New York Mets infielder Dominic Smith. Darrell Miller, the former catcher and outfielder for the California Angels, serves as Vice President of Facilities and Youth Development and oversees all day-to-day operations at the Academy.
The MLB Academy is also home to the Barons, one of the CCL’s 11 collegiate summer baseball organizations which provides players valuable competitive and developmental experience.
“During my interview process, they told me I’d be able to help with the Barons in the same way I was with the Saints,” Jordan said. “So that got me more experience with the press box setup, stats, and live scoring the games.”
Jordan’s tireless work paid off once again. Earlier this year, Jordan was named the Barons’ General Manager when his predecessor accepted a role with the Chicago Cubs, leaving an opening for the position. Not surprisingly, the Academy felt Jordan was the most qualified and named him GM of the Barons in February.
And of course, the best part for Jordan is the fact that he now has an even tougher task ahead of him.
“I love challenging myself and accepting challenges from other people who want to see me succeed,” Jordan said. “So I took that opportunity they gave me, and I’m just taking it full force, trying to give 110% and seeing where this opportunity can take me.”
At first, Jordan’s main goal was getting up to speed and gaining all the information necessary to operate a collegiate baseball program. He has quickly begun to assume all day-to-day responsibilities of the club.
Entering his first summer as the Barons’ GM, Jordan’s main objective is to make a positive impact on student-athletes. While baseball is what brings everyone at the Academy together, Jordan wants to help the organization and its players in every way possible.
“I want to show them I’m appreciative that they gave me the chance, I want to leave my mark,” Jordan said. “Whether that be with Barons players, parents, staff, anyone…I’ve still got that mental ability that I can give to the guys… Off the field, on the field, whatever way I can help them be a success in life in general.”
If history is any indication of what’s to come, Jordan and the Barons’ future is bright.
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