SUMMER SCENE: Platt grad punches the clock at Fenway Park
SUMMER SCENE: Platt grad punches the clock at Fenway Park
August 13, 2017 01:01AM
By Sean Krofssik Record-Journal staff
BOSTON — As the minutes tick down before a Boston Red Sox home game, the State Street Pavilion is a flurry of activity.
The area is perched right behind home plate and holds one of the best views in all of New England. Upwards of 300 baseball-crazed fans are feasting and talking baseball in anticipation before settling down for nine innings.
In in the middle of it all is Meriden native Jim Kallinich, the Client Services Coordinator for Corporate Sponsorships & Client Services who heads the State Street Pavilion.
Kallinich, 30, worked his way up through the ranks to his current job with the Red Sox. He said he did by applying the lessons of hard work and perseverance he learned while playing football at Platt High School under former coach Tom Ryan and current coach Jason Bruenn.
Kallinich, a 2005 grad, served as a captain in his senior year on the line, helping the Panthers reach the state playoffs.
Kallinich said one of the biggest accomplishments was defeating Maloney on each Thanksgiving.
Following high school, Kallinich did a year post-grad at Cheshire Academy, then moved on to Endicott College and then launched his goal of joining the Red Sox.
Kallinich broke in at Fenway in 2013 as a Day-Game assistant and then was an assistant in the office. It was good timing. The Red Sox won the World Series that year and Kallinich collected a championship ring. He said he puts it on occasionally, including every Opening Day.
“I came in as an intern at 25 years old,” Kallinich said. “I was a little older and behind the 8-ball. I was working two full-time jobs. I was here 35 hours a week and I was doing my other job 40 hours a week, and I did that for two years.
“It was a long grind and a long process. I had a lot of support during that from my wife and family. The end results and taking over the premium space here at Fenway is a combination of a lot of things. Its super rewarding and it showed that hard work pays off. If you put in the hours and dedication, it can get you somewhere.
“Everything that I learned through sports and being part of a team was that if you just keep putting in the hard work and work as a team, you will see the results. It’s exciting to be here every day because this was a long process to be here.”
Work ethic bred in him as a Panther stuck with Kallinich as he worked his way up through the Red Sox ranks.
“I remember before we took the football field, when we were doing jumping jacks, the chant was, ‘Hard work pays off.’ That was our motto and that’s what Coach Ryan always instilled in us,” Kallinich said. “Once you get that instilled in you from 14-18, I don’t think that goes away. It helped me through college and starting here and working my way up here, that mentality stuck with me.”
The internship gave Kallinich the experience he needed working with clients. It eventually led him to taking on the lead role in the State Street Pavilion.
Kallinich said in addition to hard work, networking was critical for him to get a chance to prove himself on Yawkey Way.
“I think the reason that I’m here is because I reached out to alumni of Endicott and that got my foot in the door,” Kallinich said as advice to others striving to reach their goals. “I was willing to work here for free and that helped me get a part-time role here. I think just not being scared to reach out to people and connections and not being afraid to ask questions that are potentially scary to ask.
“Most of the time it’s a common connection and that person can help you with whatever steps they can,” he added. “Don’t be scared to have those conversations. ‘What can I do to get there?’ Not just, ‘I need a job. Tell me how to do get there and I will do anything to start.’
“I started at a job at 25 that most kids were doing at 19-21. Not necessarily thinking that you will walk in the next day as the VP. You are going to have to do hard work to get up to the next level. Using those connections and not being scared to use them to get where you want to be.”
That has gotten Kallinich managing and working the room at the State Street Pavilion. The busiest days are Opening Day, Patriot’s Day and any playoff action.
“Every day is different. That’s the best part of the job,”Kallinich said. “We have some great role models here. It’s definitely exciting every day. You get to build relationships [with people] who run businesses throughout Boston. It’s really cool to be able to connect at that level. It’s exciting every day.”
Kallinich, a lifelong Red Sox fan, had his baseball career derailed after his sophomore year of high school due to injury. He did play four years of football with Platt.
Growing up in Meriden, Kallinich and his brother Billy would make the trek to Boston to see the Red Sox three to five times a year. After college, Jim remained in Boston and he and Billy were fixtures at Fenway Park each summer.
“We would go to 20 or 30 games a year and just get standing-room-only tickets,” Kallinich said.
Now working at the Fenway, Kallinich sees all 81 home games, plus the concerts and anything else Fenway Park hosts.
His gig is a 9-to-5 job when the team is away. Kallinich is working the phones with clients on whatever needs they have for the upcoming homestand.
On game day, it’s a little more fun.
“I usually I get here between 9 and 9:30 and I start with the in-box from the night before and I manage requests from there,” Kallinich said. “Ticket requests and scheduling tours and scheduling events. Reservations to the restaurant and ticket sales and our Red Sox Replay program and managing everything to make sure the clients have a good game day experience.
“Outside of that, we do a lot of brainstorming. We are starting to do things like pricing and our offseason rental process and the contracts that are coming up. Make sure the clients stay with us and make sure they have a great experience. Making sure they have a great game day experience and keep up those relationships and at the same time looking ahead.”
He said the best part of his day for the typical 7 p.m. game is between 5-7 p.m., with clients pouring in the door and Kallinich greeting them like an old friend.
“Some of them I see as many as 70 times a year. Some I see more than I see my wife,” Kallinich said. “I want to give them a great game day experience. I want to be that guy with the Red Sox. They look forward to being at Fenway Park and I want them to know that I will take care of them.”
Kallinich married his wife Kayla last November. Both live within walking distance of their jobs. Kayla is a nurse at a hospital a few blocks from Fenway, which was a chaotic place after the Boston Marathon bombings in April 2013.
“We had a great game that day that ended on a Mike Napoli walk-off,” Kallinich said. “I was heading down towards Cask ‘n Flagon to meet up with my brother to watch some of the marathon. We weren’t going to be down at the finish line. But everything just stopped.
“My wife is a nurse and she was at the hospital,” he added. “It was a very crazy day and we had no cell phones up here. We couldn’t get a hold of anybody. It was just crazy and a life-changing day here. After that, your head is on a swivel. It was life-changing after that. Scary day, for sure.”
Kallinich said 2013 was a memorable year for many reasons. After the Sox won it all, not only did Kallinich get a World Series ring, he also had the World Series trophy in his home for a few hours.
“I invited over a few select people to take a picture with it,” he said. “It was definitely a top moment of working here.”
Kallinich said he visits Meriden often in the offseason to see his parents, Gail and Rob. His grandparents and uncle are also still in town. He also said he keeps in touch with Bruenn, Ryan as well as Platt guidance counselor and assistant football coach Brian Frederick.
Bruenn was an assistant under Ryan when Kallinich was at Platt.
“I thought his growth from freshman to senior year was tremendous,” Bruenn said. “He was always a team guy and I don’t remember him ever being mad. He always loved playing and I can’t say anything negative about him. He’s a great person to be around. If he’s representative of what Panther football puts out, we are doing a damn good job. What he’s done is pretty damn impressive.”