Shaina Gibson, Coordinator of In-Game Entertainment & Production
How long have you worked for the Jays organization?
I’m in my 5th season with the team. I started in 2018 as a member of the J Force (entertainment/promotion team). I did that for 2 seasons. Near the end of the second season, our captain announced she was leaving and encouraged me to apply for the role. I shadowed her before she left and became captain after that. 2020 would’ve been first season in that role but with the pandemic I stayed in the city to help with the big food drive we had here and other promotions. I got promoted to my current role in September 2021.
What drew you to want to work here?
I was always interested in the realm of live entertainment/performing, I attended Ryerson University for performance dance. Being able to interact with fans was really key for me so this was a good melding of the two. Through my work with J Force, I became interested in the work getting done behind the scenes and wanted to learn more about it which led me to the role I’m in now. During that time I fell in love with the sport and my interest grew, and I’m proud of all the amazing things the J Force and I have been able to do.
What is it like being in this environment and this kind of team? What keeps you coming back?
It’s very fast paced and every day is different. We try to plan as much as we can but it’s live entertainment. I like being on my toes, running around, thinking ahead and adapting on the fly. The fan interaction really drives me and motivates me, especially during those longer home stands.
Beyond that, the community we have in this organization is very unique. The cohesive and positive culture is really unique. There are a lot of people with different roles but there’s still a lot of collaboration between us.
Favourite/most fulfilling part of your job?
Making memories for the fans. Seeing the reactions from our fans/players to the work that’s being done. A recent example would be opening night, it was so special. We got new lights, video boards and sound system. Getting to see everything in action and witnessing the responses felt like we were really back. Feeling that energy during our opening ceremony is hard to put into words.
Favourite Jays moment?
(Laughs) There are so many! In Buffalo, we had a lot of young fans attend their first MLB game in the city (Buffalo’s Sahlen Field hosts AAA baseball). After doing so many other tasks like painting suites and getting things ready for games, seeing those fans really puts into perspective all the hard work that goes in to each game and the fan experience. Being able to provide that for fans that don’t normally get to experience those moments is really special.
Fun fact about your job that people wouldn’t know?
My involvement with Ace/Junior (Jays mascots). I recently went with Ace to a birthday visit, the first time we’ve done that in person since the start of the pandemic. You sometimes don’t realize the impact those kinds of moments can have across the community.
Another fact would be my involvement with our pre-game responsibilities (ex. coordinating guests for the first pitch, anthem singers, etc.). You get to meet a lot of cool people and the Jays Care kids are always my favourite.
Do you have a favourite fan-interactive segment?
Trip giveaways are a big one for our fans, but it’s even the small things like gift cards with our partners that people get excited for and their reactions are so heartwarming. During our end of shift huddles, I now ask my team to name one fan interaction they had during the game to recognize and send everyone home on a positive note.
Do you still do the 7th inning stretch and sing “Take me out to the ballgame”? How often?
Not as much as before (laughs) but I do. Most recently was probably game day staff training that involves teaching the 7th inning stretch. Between games, rehearsals and events, I must’ve done the stretch over 500 times.
Have you ever tried on Ace’s costume?
I have not (laughs). He’s a real bird so there’s no costume.