Well, I suppose it’s time for introductions, right? First off, thanks so much to all of you for visiting our blog. And I do say “our” blog, because this blog will be updated regularly through the hard work of several Cougars staff members. The thought is (and hopefully this can be achieved)…is to keep the Cougars Den blog at a healthy level of baseball and non-baseball related (yet still Cougars-related) news.
But we want this to be “our” blog, inclusive of you, too. Any suggestions for what to include or feature is always appreciated. Please leave a comment on the blog itself. You can always e-mail or give me a call as well.
So, back to those introductions. My name is Shawn Touney, and this will be my eighth year with the Cougars organization in a full-time, front office capacity. By title, I’m “Director of Public Relations”, but if I’ve learned anything in Minor League Baseball, it’s this: titles are probably best-served for business cards and phone directories. Probably not for much outside of that.
Where does, exactly, eight years, go? I’ve given up on trying to answer that question. I actually began in 2003. I needed an internship for course credit in graduate school, and I called on the Cougars for a ticket assistantship. I played baseball in high school and certainly enjoyed the game of baseball. I even attended a Midwest League game before when I was 10 or 11! Shout-out to the Springfield (IL) Cardinals, representing downstate Illinois. But outside of that, I knew nothing about Minor League Baseball.
That first summer I was here, I really had my eyes opened towards what it truly means to work in Minor League Baseball. Was there a lot of hard work? Absolutely. Long hours? Without a doubt. But it left an impression on me and after returning to school to finish up my grad work, I was intrigued by the possibility of returning to work with the Cougars if that possibility existed. Whether that path would open up; I wasn’t so sure. Side note: that ’03 Cougars team had some big-time talent. Nelson Cruz, Joe Blanton and Andre Ethier, to name a few. And no, I had no idea that any of those three would be future big league stars…
I did an internship in 2004 with the Iowa Cubs and upon returning home that September, it was time to find a job. A few months later, I accepted a position with the Cougars and began in January 2005.
Someone told me (it had to have been one of my first days here), that if I’m ever having a bad day at work…it happens to everyone…I needed to do the following. Leave the office, walk outside on the concourse, and have a seat behind the dugout. Taking in the view, I was told to remind myself that I work…in a ballpark. I work at a place that is fun and that encourages others who are part of our product, to have fun. With that fun comes hard work and as a small staff, we MUST work hard to realize our goals each year. But that advice resonated with me since Day One.
What else to know about me? I’m from Decatur, Illinois (which actually used to have a Midwest League team as well…the Decatur Commodores). I went to school at Indiana University for my undergrad. I enjoy running, biking, writing, and my wife and I live in Sugar Grove, a nice quiet 20-minute drive from the ballpark. Family means the world to me. I’m sure everyone would say that, but time at home with Lindsey, or visiting family, is a perfect day in my mind.
I suppose if front office staff were issued a set of trading cards, this would be mine.
I suppose that’s all for now. My hope is that you continue to enjoy this blog and it can be a valuable spot for all news related to the Cougars.