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New Pal grad Maxwell has dream job with St. Louis Cardinals

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2008 New Palestine graduate Spenser Maxwell and his father, Steve, the veteran NP swimming coach. Photo provided.
2008 New Palestine graduate Spenser Maxwell and his father, Steve, the veteran NP swimming coach. Photo provided.

2008 New Palestine graduate Spenser Maxwell. Photo provided.
2008 New Palestine graduate Spenser Maxwell. Photo provided.

2008 New Palestine graduate Spenser Maxwell and his mother, Janet. Photo provided.
2008 New Palestine graduate Spenser Maxwell and his mother, Janet. Photo provided.

Every day, Spenser Maxwell travels to 700 Clark St. in St. Louis.

Every day, Spenser Maxwell goes to work for the second-most successful franchise in the history of Major League Baseball.

Every day, Spenser Maxwell gets to call Busch Stadium his office.

“That’s probably the coolest thing about working in sports. There are 40,000 people that come to my office every day. You can’t really say about too many other professions,” he said. “… And while it’s not just watching baseball – there’s a lot of work to be done – but I’m still getting paid to work at Busch Stadium and watch baseball games. It’s a pretty awesome job.”

A 2008 New Palestine graduate, Spenser is a Group Sales Account Executive for the Cardinals. Growing up, he was a fervent Duke basketball follower who played three seasons of varsity hoops for coach Adam Barton’s Dragons.

So how did a hoops junkie end up working for a pro baseball team?

The story begins at Ball State University. Spenser traveled north to Muncie in 2008 intending on spending the next four years studying to become a social studies teacher and a basketball coach.

“I took some teaching classes my freshman year and kind of realized it wasn’t what I thought it would be or what I wanted to do,” he said.

So, Spenser shifted gears and enrolled in sports administration and sports business classes. He thought about becoming a sports agent, but changed his thinking after a particularly enlightening sales course.

“During that class, I realized there are a ton more opportunities to get into the sports business world than being a sports agent. That’s not the only job there is,” Spenser said. “I found about some things I liked as far as sales and being able to talk with people, fans and companies and help them out with the product you have to offer.

“After that first class, I pretty much knew I wanted to work in the front office of a professional team or work in the athletic department for a college.”

David Pierce aided Spenser in finding his direction. The current assistant professor in IUPUI’s Department of Kinesiology was the Director of the Sports Administration program at Ball State during Spenser’s time in Muncie. Pierce helped Spenser get a job in the Ball State Athletic Ticket Office in September 2010.

“He was one of the top performers in the (sales) class. … He did so well I had him back the next year as a student supervisor with the next class,” Pierce said. “He was one of our top students in the program and was actively involved. He’s definitely a success story.”

Spenser followed up his work at Ball State with an internship with the Indiana Pacers, primarily servicing the accounts of season-ticket holders.

“That was definitely a dream come true, being a part of that and being there for their good run when we lost to the Heat,” said Spenser, referencing the Pacers’ Eastern Conference Semifinal loss to eventual NBA champion Miami in May 2012. “Working for the hometown team was pretty sweet.”

Connections made with the Pacers provided Spenser with an opportunity with the Cardinals, and since June 2012, Busch Stadium has served as Spenser’s office.

“Every day he has a story about something that I think, ‘Wow, when he can tell his kids about that,’” said Steve Maxwell, Spenser’s father and the longtime swimming coach at New Palestine.

In his present position, Spenser works with groups buying a minimum of 300 tickets to a game – entities such as schools, non-profits and large companies.

“When a lot of people think about sales, I feel like the image that comes to mind is a used car salesman, trying to say anything you can to get somebody to buy something. Or they think of cold-calling people and selling office supplies or something like that,” he said. “You’re talking about something that people love to talk about in regards to sports, regardless of what city you’re in. It’s an industry where even if people don’t want to purchase what you’re offering, it’s still a lot easier to talk to somebody and not feel like a telemarketer.”

Spenser is also a player liaison for the ticket sales department. Since buying a large number of tickets comes with certain amenities, Spenser makes sure those perks are fulfilled – whether it means escorting a group down to the field for batting practice, a singing of ‘God Bless America’ or an honorary first pitch. Spenser also assists with getting Cardinal players outside of Busch Stadium for various appearances.

One of Spenser’s biggest days each year is the team’s Christian Day. This year, the Cardinals’ Christian Day is Aug. 2, with Marcus Luttrell, co-author of the book ‘Lone Survivor’ and the inspiration behind the movie of the same name starring Mark Wahlberg, attending as the keynote speaker.

“After the game, there’s a short ceremony where some of the players and coaches give their testimonies and things like that,” Spenser said. “In the past, (keynote speakers) have been (former Indianapolis Colts coach) Tony Dungy and (Super Bowl-winning quarterback) Kurt Warner.

“Last year we had Willie Robertson from (the television show) ‘Duck Dynasty.’ He was the keynote speaker. I was kind of with him all day and getting him where he needed to be for different interviews and meet-and-greets. That was a pretty sweet day.”

Spenser has also been around for a wildly successful two-year run for the franchise. The Cardinals reached the National League Championship Series in 2012 and made the World Series last fall, losing in six games to the Boston Red Sox. Aside from the New York Yankees and their 27 World Series titles, no franchise has more Fall Classic crowns than St. Louis (11).

“We had a company trip to Game 6 (in Boston). I had never been to Fenway Park and probably wouldn’t be going anytime soon; the chance to go there was pretty crazy,” Spenser said. “I did receive a National League Champions ring along with everyone in our office. … To see my name engraved on the side of it – I know I didn’t play – but not many people get to experience that.”

Spenser said that despite being in the lower third of MLB in terms of market size, the team is generally in the top 10 in revenue and ticket sales.

“We’re very fortunate to have fans all over the Midwest. We actually have a season-ticket holder in each of the 50 states, including Alaska and Hawaii,” he said. “That just goes to show the reach the Cardinals’ brand has, people really love coming out to the game.”

Pierce hasn’t been surprised by Spenser’s success.

“I think once he did the sales class, it geared him towards other sales experiences and it was a no-brainer for somebody to hire him because he had so much experience in sales,” he said.

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