George Mason University

News at Mason

Mason alumnus 'stays in the fight' at World Series with Nationals

October 25, 2019   /   by Damian Cristodero

Michael Gordon, an assistant clubhouse manager for the Nationals, is introduced to the crowd before Game 3 of the National League Championship Series against the Cardinals at Nationals Park. Photo provided.

When Michael Gordon began his internship as an assistant clubhouse manager with the Washington Nationals as a George Mason University senior, he made a deal with the team.

“You can use my internship as a tryout,” he said he told them. “If you like how I work, don’t look past me to hire me or at least interview me. They liked how I worked. I didn’t even have to interview. I’ve been working full time since 2016.”

In other words, Gordon, BS Health, Fitness, and Recreation Resources ’16, has seen firsthand some of the Nationals’ most agonizing playoff losses, which makes the team’s current World Series run against the Astros so exhilarating.

“It’s very exciting,” said Gordon, who added that once Washington got past the Dodgers in the National League Division Series, “it was like we got over the hill. Now we’re just going to go downhill and roll over everybody.”

Gordon, from Springfield, Virginia, was already a part-time clubhouse assistant with the Nationals as a senior when he began his Mason internship. He also helped out as a team attendant with the NBA’s Washington Wizards.

But Gordon said the education that helped him land his full-time position really began on campus.

Gordon was a manager on the Patriots men’s basketball team, which gave him a feel for how an athletics organization runs. And his classroom experience provided knowledge and perspective of how an organization’s departments are intertwined.

“Whether it was an events management class or a marketing class, those kinds of things helped me understand those other parts of the organization and what they do, and why we have to do certain things to help them,” said Gordon, whose concentration at Mason was in sport management. “Understanding those little things about other parts of the organization helped me have a better understanding for my job.”

“Michael was one of the hardest working students we’ve ever had,” said associate professor Craig Esherick, associate director of Mason’s Center for Sport Management. “He was an excellent student, a smart guy, and took advantage of every second of every day while he was in college and prepared himself for the job he has now.”

Gordon helps in several areas with the Nationals, whose season hashtag is #stayinthefight. He orders equipment and coordinates buses that move players to the airport for road trips and to the team hotel and stadiums on the road, and the trucks that move the equipment.

As a liaison between the equipment manager, travel secretary and clubhouse manager, Gordon said his job, and the job of his department, is to “make the lives of the players easier.”

He also gets to help clean up the clubhouse after champagne-soaked celebrations, which is what happened when the Nationals clinched the National League championship at Nationals Park with a sweep of the Cardinals.

“We get help from the cleaning crew and the operations guys from the stadium,” Gordon said, “but we’re there an hour, two hours after the celebration cleaning up.”

A small price to pay for a championship.