It started with a letter from Brandeis University freshman Alex Thompson to Big Train founder Bruce Adams in the early months of 2001.
Growing up in Montgomery County, Thompson knew of Big Train and attended a few games in the summers leading up to college – the organization’s early years. After working as a student in Brandeis’s sports information department, his vision for his future was clear.
“I knew that I wanted to have some sort of career in baseball or associated with baseball, and I was working toward a more active career in that direction,” Thompson said.
Adams received his letter and invited Thompson to meet during his spring break. At that meeting, Adams asked him to intern with Big Train for the 2001 season. Thompson ended up working in Bethesda for five seasons, eventually becoming assistant general manager and then general manager.
“I’m so glad I answered that letter,” Adams said. “He’s so talented and so focused and so reliable that he just kept moving up the pecking order.”
Thompson dedicated long days and nights at Povich Field, and the chaos of stuffing hundreds of envelopes and running in-game promotions hooked him on Big Train even more. As GM, he helped create a high school student leadership council for those pursuing a career in sports, kept score for Big Train games, and modernized the Big Train website.
“It was very crazy and fun. It was awesome,” Thompson said. “…Big Train changed my entire perspective of the game.”
As his college career came to a close, so did his Big Train tenure. His experience helped him become the first Executive Director for the Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League. Eventually, he became the CRCBL’s acting commissioner in 2013. During this time, he helped recruit current commissioner Jason Woodward and president Brad Rifkin.
“Alex is very level-headed, very even-keel, and he gets it when it comes to the Ripken League and what’s best for the league,” Woodward said.
Meanwhile, Thompson’s full-time job as an executive at a local premium wine and spirits distributor grew. Thus, he took a step back with the league and joined the board of directors.
Now, he found his way back to Big Train when Adams asked him to join the board of the reconstituted Bethesda Community Base Ball Club. Despite his busy schedule, he makes time for Big Train, the place that gave him his start. He wants to help build its future as it did his.
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