MINNEAPOLIS - The Major League Baseball World Series is set to begin Tuesday night and former Bridgewater College softball player Brea Hinegardner was hoping the Minnesota Twins would be making the trip.
Hinegardner, a 2014 Bridgewater College graduate and a four-year member of the softball program, just completed her fifth season working with the Twins. The Twins were one of the best teams in baseball this season and advanced to the American League playoffs where they were swept in the Division Series by the New York Yankees.
The 2019 Major League Baseball season didn't end quite the way Hinegardner had envisioned, but it's still a year she will always remember.
"This season was one of the best season's I've spent in baseball," said Hinegardner. "I've seen both ends of the spectrum going from 103 losses in 2016 to 101 wins in 2019. There was something special about this team."
Hinegardner is the Digital Content Manager for the American League Club. Explaining exactly what her job entails is not easy. "I don't even know where to begin," Hinegardner said when asked to describe her job duties. "I manage all of our digital and social media, website, in-stadium digital activation. Along with covering games and Twins events, I oversee the day-to-day and year-over-year strategy. I am the main contact at our club for Major League Baseball regarding digital communications and marketing."
Minnesota finished the season with a 101-61 record, just one of four teams in the Major Leagues to reach the 100-win mark. The Twins slugged their way to the top of the American League Central Division standings with a Major League record 307 home runs, shattering the mark of 267 set the previous year by the Yankees.
Following and promoting the "Bomba Squad" was one of the highlights of the season for Hinegardner.
"One thing that I really focused on this year was pushing out player's personalities and brands. I worked much closer with our PR staff and the clubhouse to provide players with content for their social media platforms. They received photos and videos from games and custom graphics throughout the season," Hinegardner said. "I'm really proud of how I was able to adapt our digital strategies early in the season when Eddie Rosario gave an interview and called this team the 'Squad Bomba.' From there, I worked with our PR team and started pushing out #BombaSquad messaging. It all went up from there. It's a great example of a front office working directly with the clubhouse."
It doesn't matter if the team wins 100 games or loses 100, her job requires a great deal of attention.
"Both scenarios are difficult in their own way – both still require a lot of work," she said "In the down years, you have to find the off-the-field story lines to tell along with the on-field play. During winning seasons, you get to push the great baseball stories – which is my favorite part about my job!
When the 2019 season started, Twins fans were expecting big things. The team didn't disappoint.
"Minnesota and Twins Territory was so excited for this season. It was Rocco's (Baldelli) first season as our manager, we had big free agent signings in Nelson Cruz and Jonathan Schoop, and we extended contracts to Jorge Polanco and Max Kepler back in Spring Training among other things. We knew we were a talented team going into this season and I'm so glad our fans rallied around us all year. The playoffs were disappointing, but getting there this year makes me really excited for 2020."
While baseball is now her job, Hinegardner still is a fan at heart.
"Covering our AL Central Division Champions clinching celebration has easily been a top highlight of my career. I was able to step back and take a few moments in as a fan throughout the season. While the season didn't end like we were hoping, it was an exciting journey!"