Jordan Shusterman ‘17
Senior Editorial Producer, Major League Baseball
Major at Wooster: Communication Studies
Less than a month after walking through Kauke Arch as a College of Wooster graduate, Jordan Shusterman ’17 found himself in his dream job – working for Major League Baseball as a senior editorial producer for its Cut4 website. The site is a series of creative, entertaining posts – text, video, and podcasts – about the “everyday fun and strange happenings of MLB,” according to the communication studies major who grew up in Chevy Chase, Md.
Shusterman’s had a passion for the national pastime ever since he can remember, and Wooster supported him in exploring it further as his senior Independent Study was “A Cooperstown Controversy: An Analysis of the Debate Surrounding Alleged Steroid Users’ Candidacies for the National Baseball Hall of Fame.”
His path to MLB’s New York City offices unknowingly began when he and a high school friend, Jake Mintz, created a website – Cespedes Family Barbecue. Named after the current New York Mets outfielder’s infamous showcase video, it was devoted to their fun musings and other oddities associated with the sport they love, and even some analysis.
Little did they know that it would attract a huge following – @CespedesBBQ has nearly 50,000 followers on Twitter. “The success of it was never intended … we were just trying to encapsulate what baseball fans our age enjoy now. We’re having these conversations already, we think they’re funny … so we started sharing it. It’s never forced, it’s coming out of our love for the game,” Shusterman explained.
The site and its corresponding social media channels were noticed by MLB, and that resulted in some freelance work. In 2016, the Cespedes Barbecue guys were credentialed for the annual Winter Meetings, the All-Star Game in San Diego, and even games three, four, and five of the World Series at Wrigley Field.
The trial run was a success, as MLB brought them on as full-time employees. They still usually work as a duo and produce similar quirky content as before, but now they have a much bigger platform. Some of their early posts have included “Everything you need to know about bat flips, in charts” and “These six monster foul balls deserve to be remembered.” They’ve already covered another week of All-Star activities, spending time in Miami for the Celebrity Softball Game, Futures Game, and Home Run Derby as well as the All-Star Game itself.
Shusterman, in large part, authored this unique path to his dream job, but he also credits Wooster for encouraging him to follow a passion and enhancing his skill set, which should lead to a successful career no matter what lies ahead. He pointed to three specifics – writing, research, and working with and learning from others.
“I absolutely left (Wooster as a) more polished writer than I ever could have hoped, thanks to the emphasis on writing in nearly every class I took, but especially within my major … and I am extremely thankful for that,” stated Shusterman.
Wooster’s emphasis on research taught Shusterman the value of going the extra step. “I take it with me whenever I interview someone in my field, as I do my best to be prepared and seek out the best way to connect with a player or writer or whatever based on their background that I always did my best to research. I can always find what I need to be prepared for what my job demands, but Wooster definitely instilled an enhanced sense of curiosity that I feel like I use every day,” he said.
And, in terms of Shusterman’s job as a content producer, he cited his work on I.S. with Michelle Johnson, associate professor of communication studies, as the perfect preparation. “Working with Dr. Johnson on I.S. was a great introduction to my world (now) that involves constant feedback and editing from others. I know she helped make my work that much better, and I like to think it taught me how to handle constructive editorial criticism.”