Sarah Steinberg grew up in a baseball-loving family.
So it should come as no surprise that the 2011 Sandia High School graduate finds herself among the growing number of trailblazing women dotted around the offices of Major League Baseball.
After working several other professional baseball jobs, about a year ago Steinberg landed a position as business manager of baseball operations for the Pittsburgh Pirates. She also sits on the Alliance for Gender Equity in Baseball.
“What I do is act as a liaison between baseball operations, the business department and the compliance department,” Steinberg said.
And while her sport is mired in bitter contract negotiations between owners and players, Steinberg expects to be very busy no matter the outcome.
“We’re preparing to go down to Florida,” where minor leaguers who aren’t under contract will prepare for their seasons, she said. “I am still busy during the lockdown managing budgets, strategy, hiring and onboarding new full-time and part-time employees and other administrative tasks for our department. While in Florida, I will be able to meet new recruits in person, watch minor league camp, attend meetings, and manage my day-to-day duties.
If a baseball apocalypse occurs and the situation continues to drag on, Steinberg will return to Pittsburgh “and continue to manage our budgets – adjusting forecasts and managing strategy, staffing and other administrative projects.” , she said. “I also participate in (diversity, equity and inclusion) efforts and cultural initiatives on the baseball side and will continue to do so even though there is no baseball at the PNC.”
As for what she does each day, well, it varies.
“A typical day, well, there really isn’t one,” she says. “Lots of meetings. Coordination meetings, coordination with what is happening with player development and with the Major League team. I have meetings with HR to make sure we’re all on board. Many different encounters during the day. Catch up on email. Work on the monitoring of budgets or the various projects on which I work.
What Steinberg is more focused on is trying to help turn around the Pirates’ fortunes as the small-market franchise struggles to compete with big-budget competitors.
“The nature of baseball is cyclical,” she said. “We come back around. With all our leadership, we are following this path. I am here for leadership development, to make our leaders better leaders. We all strive to be a championship caliber team.
This is of course the fundamental objective.
“I think everyone is here to win a World Series, right?” she says. “That’s the ultimate goal, but for me right now I’m growing into the role I’m in and making the most of what I have right now. There’s a lot going on, learning, growth within the administrative side of the Pirates of the process. There is a lot of work to be done, so hopefully in the next couple of years I will become more efficient and not just continue to make it a place where it is good to work, but also a place where we can earn.
Although Steinberg did not attend New Mexico, she is still bleeding cherry and UNM money, having grown up in the stands at Lobo Field and developed a close relationship with the former coach’s family. (now deceased) Rich Alday.
“We used to go to Lobos baseball games all the time,” she said. “My brother (Nate) was a bat boy, so he was just around the game all the time. … That’s where I learned how to keep score, where I learned player names and positions, and where I really fell in love with the game there.
Steinberg credits his father, David Steinberg, with instilling a love of baseball early in his life. David Steinberg is a Journal contributor who worked for the Journal in Albuquerque and Santa Fe in various capacities for nearly 50 years.
“I was definitely influenced by my dad,” she said. “And growing up, our family vacations, we would go on spring break, go to spring training games, or during the summer, we would go anywhere to see a baseball game. Our vacation was centered around baseball.
Like her father, who grew up in New Jersey, Sarah Steinberg rooted for the New York Yankees, though that all changed when she got into baseball herself.
“I support the team I work for, so I haven’t been a real Yankees fan in a while,” she said. “That’s the best thing about growing up in New Mexico – you can pick any team you want because there’s no team there.”
As one can imagine, her work is perfect for a baseball fan.
“I’m very lucky to be working out of PNC Park,” Steinberg said. “For home games, I can definitely watch the game from the Baseball Ops suite. Other than the relationships I mentioned earlier, that’s the best part of the job, being able to watch pro baseball for free every night. throughout the summer.
And like any good baseball person, she has her superstitions.
“Every time I left the game early, they came back and won,” Steinberg said. “The Pirates had a lot of comebacks over the last year which was really exciting. And I started to think I was a curse. Every time I was in the stand they lost, but if I was leaving, they ended up winning, so I started leaving a little earlier.
As for her role as a working woman in baseball, Steinberg said it’s not something she takes lightly.
“Helping women get into management, helping in colleges, answering questions, I’ve had many different experiences in the game so I’m always happy to share so people don’t make the same mistakes I did. “, she said. “I know I have as much to learn from people trying to get into the game as I do from myself, so I wouldn’t say I’m a role model in my own right, but it’s there.
Joining the Pirates organization made a lot of sense as they were at the forefront of progressive hiring practices.
“That’s one of the reasons I wanted to join the Pirates,” she said. “They are committed to diversity, equity and inclusion in all its forms, but especially sourcing, that makes me feel good. The more women in baseball operations, the better. Being the only woman in a meeting, being the only woman in the room, well, it’s always better when there’s more.
Steve Williams, senior director of player personnel for the Pirates, said bringing in Steinberg, other women and people of color is good for the organization as a whole and for baseball in general.
“It had a huge impact within the organization,” he said. “Statistics show that when you have a well-diversified workforce, you perform better, sharing different experiences. If we all have the same experience, you don’t grow. So it had a huge impact, inside and outside the organization. When people walk into the stadium, they’re going to look at us differently because of how we’re portrayed.