The city of Los Angeles rejoiced this October as the L.A. Dodgers defeated the Tampa Bay Rays in the 2020 World Series. And Albert Gilbert ’07, the team’s baseball contracts and finance coordinator, let his fandom show in celebrating his adopted club’s first title in more than 30 years.
Gilbert grew up rooting for his hometown Oakland Athletics, and enjoyed playing baseball throughout his childhood. “Baseball was my main sport growing up, definitely my favorite,” says Gilbert. A fixture in the SPS starting lineup during his time in Concord, Gilbert gave up playing baseball after high school, but never lost his love of the game.
After receiving his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in sociology from Stanford, Gilbert attended Harvard Law School following a year-long position in the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department. He held positions at a Bay Area law firm and as a district attorney in San Francisco, but kept his dream of a sports job alive.
“I always wanted to work in sports, and specifically in baseball, but wasn’t sure how I could make that happen with a legal background,” notes Gilbert. “I didn’t know if it was even a possibility, and there also weren’t a lot of people that looked like me in baseball.”
Enter Major League Baseball’s Diversity Fellowship Program. Launched in the spring of 2018, the program (per MLB) “provides the opportunity for young, diverse professionals to experience front office positions that have been traditionally influential in baseball operations decisions.” Through the program, Gilbert interviewed with various teams, as well as the Major League Baseball Commissioner’s Office, and ended up being part of the initiative’s 22-member inaugural class. He jumped at the chance to move to Los Angeles when the Dodgers extended him an offer.
“They had just lost the World Series against the Houston Astros and it seemed like an exciting role,” he says. “The diversity fellowship definitely opened my eyes and gave me a path
toward the front office.”
Gilbert made a strong impression in his fellowship year, and is now in his third season with the Dodgers organization. In his role with the team, Gilbert has his hands in a number of key areas, from league rules analysis to player salary determinations to team vendor contracts. The position is a near perfect fit, as Gilbert says he followed salary arbitrations and contract negotiations as a casual fan before he ever started working in baseball. And, while major league baseball struggled to adjust to 2020’s pandemic parameters, Gilbert’s day-to-day work stayed consistent, aside from re-evaluating and prioritizing certain vendor contracts as the organization felt a financial pinch.
The highlight of his time with the organization came this fall when the Dodgers hoisted the Commissioner’s Trophy as World Series champions. “It was huge, it meant everything,” says Gilbert of the title. “I’m really happy for the guys on the team. It is a testament to the hard work of everybody in the organization.”
Gilbert shares that he often receives the question, “What are your ultimate career goals?” His response is one of someone living in the moment and grateful for what he has.
“I’m really happy where I’m at right now,” he says. “I work with an amazing group of people and I learn something new every day.”