The Tampa Bay Rays are used to skepticism, but they're also known for surprising people. One key ingredient in surviving their toughest years and successfully playing their most difficult cards has been President, Brian Auld. The Ivy League-educated former teacher arrived in St. Pete more than a decade ago as a single person with a love of baseball. In the years since, he's become not just the President of the Tampa Bay Rays and Vice Chair of the Tampa Bay Rowdies,but the father of three kids he's educating in St. Pete's public schools. Auld has made a home in St. Petersburg, and shown his investment in the city by rolling up his sleeves and getting to work. With seven years left in the Rays' contract at Tropicana Field, our eyes will be on Auld to find an innovative and surprising way to keep the Rays in Tampa Bay.
Years in St. Pete
More than 15. Moved to St. Pete in early 2008.
Organizations involved in
Deeply involved with Friends of Northshore Elementary, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Tampa Bay, St. Pete EDC and St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce. Through the Rays work with almost every nonprofit organization in town.
What gets you out of bed every day?
I’ve got a pretty wonderful life. I wake up in beautiful St. Petersburg and go to work for a sports team, now two sports teams that I really love. It’s exciting for me, specifically, to be part of a community that I don’t think is fully polished yet. I think we’re still turning St. Petersburg into what it will be, and I feel like I get to play a relatively important role in that, which has been thrilling in a lot of ways.
Why St. Pete?
That’s where a few prescient leaders decided to build Tropicana Field and recruit the Rays however many years ago, then (known as) the Devil Rays. After Stuart Sternberg bought the team in 2005 and brought on Matt Silverman to be the team president, I received a call from Matt asking if I was interested in joining the effort. Didn’t know anything about Tampa Bay at the time, but knew that I loved baseball and didn’t have particularly strong roots anywhere else in the country. I’ve now lived in Tampa Bay for almost twice as long as anywhere else, and I think the reasons for staying are obvious.
What is one habit that you keep?
I try really hard to maintain my friendships through actual connections, so I’ve got a number of trips with various friend groups I’ve made along the way that I try to honor each and every year. Those are sacred to me and I try to make sure those happen whenever they can.
Who are some people that influence you?
I get my influence from all over the place. I wouldn’t say that I have any specific mentors. But Matt Silverman has been a friend of mine since we were in high school and I’ve always admired any number of ways that he does things. Since coming to work for Stu and seeing how he looks at the world, that’s certainly influenced the way I do as well. I’ve always leaned on the insights of various teachers and students from my time as a 4th grade teacher in California.
What is one piece of insight - a book, methodology, practice - that you would share with our readers?
Whenever I’m talking to someone who’s considering entering teaching, I always say it’s absolutely incredible work and life experience. You learn very quickly that if you’re not able to get your message across, you have to change the way you’re delivering it. When you’re in adult relationships, sometimes you can get mad at the other party for not hearing you. When you’re talking to an 8 or 9 year old, you realize that it falls on you, whether that’s teaching someone a math problem or science, or me and my wife trying get on the same page about how we’re going to manage car pool for a given week. If you default to – when a message isn’t going through – what parts you can change on your side rather than the other – I think that’s a pretty effective tool for life.
What is one thing you wish you knew about your work 3 years ago?
The stadium saga, as I think we’ve nicknamed it around here has been constantly hanging over the Tampa Bay Rays to the point where I think it influenced the way the Rowdies acquisition was seen. I’m not sure I appreciated quite to the degree of how that would affect our employee base.
We’re gonna figure out how to keep the Tampa Bay Rays and Rowdies in the Tampa Bay for generations to come. We’re gonna bring every ounce of energy, creativity and influence to the process and keep our always optimistic heads above the water as we figure out a solution to what is a pretty complex problem.