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Quirk interns with Burlington Bees

Barry McNamara
MONMOUTH, Ill. – A late-summer evening, wispy clouds tempering the sun’s rays just enough. Perfectly manicured lush green grass, immaculate white chalk lines, the pop of leather mitts, a cold drink and a hot dog.

Is this heaven?

No, it’s Iowa. Burlington, Iowa, to be exact.

And it’s where Monmouth College student Campbell Quirk ’20 spent his summer, although not every evening was quite so picture-perfect.

“My first week here, we pulled the rain tarp out 12 times,” said Quirk, who began his internship in May, shortly after the end of his junior year, which included his third season playing baseball for the Fighting Scots.

The labor-intensive task required an all-hands-on-deck approach for the Class A affiliate of the Los Angeles Angels.

“We had a doubleheader (against Wisconsin), which we swept to move into second place (in the Midwest League),” he said. “Our general manager, Kim Parker (daughter of former Bees GM and Monmouth alumnus Chuck Brockett ’83), told us that everything we do will have a benefit for the team, and all our hard work with the tarp definitely paid off that day.”

‘A little bit of everything’

Working to benefit the team is Job No. 1 for Quirk.

“The most important thing is to make sure the players are looked after,” he said.

Parker told Quirk during his interview that he’d be tasked with a little bit of everything – and that he has.

“I might meet with people who are throwing out first pitches, making them feel at home, or with the national anthem singer, making sure they have water and feel at home before they sing,” he said.

When the Bees are home for a night game, Quirk typically arrives at Community Field around 9 a.m., doing game-day preparations and assisting with the Bees’ marketing efforts until the lunch hour. He’s back at the field by 4 p.m., doing all “the small, behind-the-scenes things” that add up to staging a minor league baseball game successfully.

An exercise science major who is minoring in business, Quirk said the internship opportunity with the Bees stood out for both him and his Monmouth adviser, Kari Shimmin, who helped him secure the position.

“I’m hoping to get into sports management, and this upcoming year is going to be a big one for me as I look at graduate schools,” he said. “This internship has given me a whole new eye on how big baseball is besides just playing it. I hope to keep doing this type of work after grad school. I love minor league baseball.”

Building a winning team

Quirk’s sophomore year was also a big one, as he played on one of the Scots’ best teams – the 2018 squad that reached the NCAA tournament.

“We had such a brotherhood on that team,” said Quirk. “In our first game of the tourney, we drew (national No. 1) Wisconsin-Whitewater. We battled them to a 1-0 score through seven innings, and that’s because of the great chemistry we had on that team. Everybody had each other’s back.”

Quirk said that type of “team chemistry” is also a necessity for a minor league team.

“It’s really interesting to see the chemistry between the staff, between the coaches,” he said.

Quirk took an unlikely route to the Midwest and the Midwest League, coming to Monmouth from Jerrabomberra, Australia. He was part of a thriving baseball program there, and he also spent part of his youth in northern Virginia, where his father was stationed in the military for five years.

“I put some highlight video online, and Coach (Alan) Betourne found me and contacted me,” said Quirk of being recruited while living Down Under. “We flew in for a visit, and not only me, but both of my parents fell in love with the place.”

Quirk said he knows he’s in the right place.

“It’s one of the most beautiful campuses I’ve seen,” he said. “What I didn’t know was how great all the faculty and students were.”