While it’s the heavy hitters and the precise pitchers that grab the sports headlines, the Cincinnati Reds also win big inside the office suite, thanks to Flyers who are making their own dreams come true.
“I was definitely a fan growing up,” said Amy Bretnitz Calo ’06, who attended school only 10 minutes away from Great American Ballpark. “I always thought it would be super cool to work for them.”
Calo, a visual communication design major at UD, is one of at least 10 Flyers who in recent years have worked for the Reds, involved in everything from computer programming to marketing. She recently finished a 13-year tenure as the Reds’ graphic designer starting in 2008. In her role, Calo has created everything from gameday programs and tickets to billboards and baseball cards.
“Seeing my work in the hands of fans was really exciting.”
“Seeing my work in the hands of fans was really exciting — being at the games and seeing all these fans with the bobbleheads, knowing I did the box art,” Calo shared as she talked about her favorite part of the job.
While at UD, Calo helped organize Christmas on Campus and worked at the Bombeck Family Learning Center. She also met her husband-to-be, Christopher Calo ’06.
“He was starting to fail his first semester religion class but dropped it and ended up in my class second semester,” Calo said.
Calo left the organization this summer to spend more time with her kids, but said, “It was kind of where paths aligned. I had the ability to do what I love which is graphic design for my hometown team.”
For Rob Butcher ’85, it was a similar story. As an Ohio native, Butcher grew up watching the Reds during the era of the Big Red Machine, the nickname given to the team of the 1970s.
“Johnny Bench, Joe Morgan, Tony Pérez, Dave Concepción, Pete Rose — they were the best team in baseball in ’75 and ’76. It’s kind of cool now because I know all those guys personally,” Butcher shared. “I grew up watching them and emulating them, and now Johnny Bench is on my cell phone.”
Butcher got to practice his best Bench impersonation while playing baseball for the Flyers in ’84 and ’85 after transferring to UD his sophomore year.
Starting with the Reds 1997, Butcher is the vice president of media relations. As the main contact for anyone trying to reach the Reds’ players, Butcher said his favorite part of the job is being involved with the team every day. (In fact, first baseman Joey Votto stopped by Butcher’s office to chat during Butcher’s interview with UD Magazine.)
Butcher said he knew his career path was sealed as soon as he walked in and was greeted by a ticket counter in the small front office of his first baseball job. “I knew I would spend the rest of my life in baseball, and I have,” he said.
“I knew I would spend the rest of my life in baseball, and I have.”
Like Butcher, 2011 UD graduate Brendan Hader grew up watching the Reds. Originally from Cincinnati, Hader said he has been going to Reds games for as long as he can remember. After starting as a communication intern for the 2012 season, Hader, a journalism major at UD, made his way up to a full-time job. He is now a communications manager for the team, writing stories for the Reds website and other team publications.
Hader’s love for writing can be traced back to his early days as a writer for Flyer News, where he started as a first-year student. He served as the chief sports writer his senior year and did a sports radio show with his older brother, Ryan Hader ’09.
“Over the years I’ve gotten to speak with pretty much all the guys I would have loved to as a fan,” he said.
Hader shared he often gets messages from current Flyers asking him questions about his job, and said he loves helping them. And he always keeps an eye open for Flyers who may be able to help him — including one particular grad who serves as an inspiration.
“I listen to the Dan Patrick Show every day, and he is a Dayton alum (Class of 1979),” he said. “I think he’s one of the best interviewers of athletes … so, I try to take little bits of what he does and on my own get a little bit better.”
Whether it’s in a story they’ve written or a bobblehead they’ve designed, these Flyers appreciate the opportunity to share their love of the Reds with other fans.