A Career in Phillies phever
He doesn’t just love the Phillies. He lives them.
Since graduating Rowan with a degree in Communication, Greg Casterioto (’99) has had but one employer – the Philadelphia Phillies.
Casterioto combined his love for the Phillies with his gift for communicating and carved out a career. Hired as an intern the year he graduated, he’s been a Media Relations Assistant, Media Relations Representative, Manager of Media Relations and, now, serves as Director of Baseball Communications for the hometown team.
“I don’t say this just because I work here, and maybe it’s self-evident, but I am a huge Phillies fan,” said Casterioto, 34, of Tabernacle. “I don’t even follow any other sport.”
Indeed, he may not have time to. Casterioto, who leads a team of three media relations professionals, travels with the Phils roughly half of their 81 games on the road each season and manages the interaction between the sports media and the clubhouse. Reporters have fairly liberal access to players after games but Casterioto arranges special requests for interviews with players and upper management including team Manager Charlie Manuel and General Manager Ruben Amaro Jr.
Casterioto, who briefly considered a career in front of the camera, said his gift is, and always has been, behind the scenes – writing, producing and arranging. In addition to serving as a go-between for the media, players and management, he writes player bios and other pieces for the monthly Phillies Magazine and controls, as best he can, the flow of information about the team.
Considering the loyal, engaged fan base of the Phillies, and the nature of modern media, that’s not always an easy thing to do.
“You want to be the one who disseminates information but the reality is you can’t always control it,” he said. “One of the most important things is maintaining good relations with everyone – the players as well as the media. Ultimately, how good we are at our jobs comes down to how good our relationships are.”
Casterioto believes his education at Rowan – he took journalism courses to complement his major in Radio/TV/Film – prepared him for success in sports information but directly credits one faculty member for the opportunity to launch it.
Casterioto said Larry Litwin, an Associate Professor of Advertising and Public Relations, helped him land an interview his senior year with Larry Shenk, the former Vice President of Public Relations for the Phillies, and that interview led to his internship.
Preparing for opportunity
Litwin said Casterioto asked for help the very first afternoon he had him in class. He saw potential in his student and made a call that launched a career.
“I teach that luck is preparation meeting opportunity and when the opportunity arose, Greg was prepared,” Prof. Litwin said. “Greg discovered early on that his job is to balance the needs of the reporters with the wants and time constraints of the players, the manager and coaches, and the front office. It’s a monumental challenge but he meets it. Under the internal pressures of doing his job for a highly successful
organization, he recognizes the importance of relationship management.”
Casterioto, whose office inside Citizens Bank Park features framed photos of Phillies great Mike Schmidt, All-Stars Jimmy Rollins and Jim Thome, and Kevin Millwood (who threw a no-hitter for the Phils in 2003), said a career in Major League Baseball is attainable. You just have to want it bad enough.
“You can do it,” he said, “but you have to be prepared to put in the hours. We play 162 games during the season, 30 more (in spring training) in Clearwater and, hopefully, another 20 or so in October. The hours are long but the rewards are great.”
He said the Phillies, who in the first week of August led not just the National League but all of Major League Baseball, hope to enjoy their fifth consecutive year of post-season play.
“Like I said, the season is long but it’s a lot of fun,” he said. “If you seek a career in this field you need to be a creative thinker, you need to write well and you need to get along with people. We’re the original reality show, a travelling TV program, and it may look easy but it’s not. At the end of the day, whether it’s here, in New York or in San Francisco, we’re all part of the team, and everyone has to do their part.”