Sunday night, Jason Ybarra sat down with his assumed staff.
Ybarra’s boss Kevin Jenks had been hospitalized with a non-life-threatening cellulitis infection in his left elbow, and Ybarra was told to fill in as tournament director of the National Baseball Congress World Series.
“We said, ‘He’s not gonna be here for a while,’ but said, ‘We hired each of you to do a job. Now it’s yours,’ “ Ybarra said. “When he left, now we all just get to do our job that we’re hired to do. That’s been the fun part.”
The NBC World Series is entering its 12th day of baseball at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium, and Ybarra is going into day three in charge. He said while Jenks still tends to try to manage from his hospital bed, things have been running smoothly.
“He’s done a hell of a job leading the team and keeping things running,” Jenks said. “Proud of him and the rest of the staff.”
The NBC has four full-time employees. Jenks and Ybarra make up half of it, and Corporate Partnerships Director David Kirk and Relationships Manager Ellise McGowan complete the staff. All of them have experience with the NBC World Series, which has been a blessing, Jenks and Ybarra said.
Ybarra is doing double duty while Jenks is out. Including fulfilling his director of operations role, he is also in contact with team managers and support staff constantly to make sure the games are pushed along appropriately. Jenks said from afar, Ybarra does a much better job of delegating than he does.
Dan Rogers, chairman of the board of directors for the NBC Foundation, said the team’s success comes down to teamwork and preparation. Rogers said even with Jenks taking leave, he never doubted anyone on the tournament staff.
“If you were to watch the tourney, you wouldn’t know the tournament director wasn’t there,” Rogers said. “It’s a win for the World Series.”
Ybarra said McGowan and Kirk have been crucial to making the tournament go, especially with Jenks out.
“Ellise is probably our hardest worker because she’s got to put on a show for 5,000 fans each night,” Ybarra said. “For us, we’re just making sure it gets to her plate in time. ... And David interned with us three years ago. He has a professional mentality that Kevin and I need.”
For Jenks, he said the “bottom line goal” is to keep the tournament moving smoothly. He said there was never any doubt in his staff.
“I know they care about what we’re doing on a daily basis,” Jenks said. “That’s the thing eating at me is not being at the ballpark.”
Jenks said he is feeling much better than he did Sunday night. He said he could leave as soon as Wednesday afternoon and be back at Lawrence-Dumont by Thursday.