Among the Texas Rangers front office staff, there are two things that make Paige Zizka stand out: the bright pink blazer she wears on the field, and her use of the word “howdy”.
A student in the marketing department at Arlington’s Globe Life Field, Zizka is one of the few Aggies helping manage a World Series team — and he wants everyone to know.
“I answer every email, every text, every phone call with ‘Howdy.’ That’s the biggest thing I’ve taken from A&M … and I’ve brought it to the Rangers,” he said. “I don’t care how important the email is, I don’t care if we’re on the biggest show in the world, I always say ‘how are you.’
A sports director and longtime student at Texas A&M Athletics, Zizka has been with the Rangers since March, overseeing fan opportunities such as awards and Jr. The Rangers Kids Club is helping coordinate field events such as the national anthem. and the first part.
“Anything and everything that happens in the game that isn’t playing or coaching, that’s what we control,” Zizka said. “As recently as the postseason, I directed the big flags coming onto the field, the honor guard coming onto the field, and I’m standing in the middle, running all of that.”
Now, as the Rangers head to their first World Series appearance since 2011, Zizka is preparing to graduate with a major title, and help put on one of the greatest events in all of sports. He still remembers how he felt on Monday, when his team beat the Astros to secure their spot in the playoffs.
“I was in my living room in College Station when we won the ALCS. My roommate’s boyfriend is a big Rangers fan, and the rest of my roommates are Astros fans, so we were all on the edge of our seats,” he recalled. “After the game, I ran down the street, drank some champagne, and said, ‘Okay, let’s get to work.’
Despite his newfound interest in pro baseball, Zizka says he will always be a football fan at heart. Growing up in Katy, Texas, he became interested in athletics after writing sports for his student news team, following the school’s football team all the way to the semi-finals.
He had already set his sights on A&M, where he planned to major in business. But after a successful season supporting his team from the sidelines, he decided to study sports management instead.
“A&M has one of the best sports management programs in the US, so I said, ‘Okay, this is the right place for me,'” Zizka said. After arriving at the school, he began working, working with the athletics team, helping with maintenance and operations at Kyle Field and other Aggie sports facilities. An athlete in his own right, Zizka also joined the A&M motorcycle team, which he led to a state championship last year.
On top of all that, they still found time to complete their studies and build relationships with sports managers across the state.
After a chance connection on social media with a senior member of Rangers management, Zizka ended up posting his resume, having recently landed a gig with the team. Since then, he has been traveling back and forth from College Station to Arlington, taking advantage of unexpected opportunities.
Eight months later, when Zizka finishes his studies and prepares for the next chapter of his career, he hopes that he can set an example for younger students, showing those who want to exercise how much they can do with a degree.
Meanwhile, Zizka is focused on doing everything he can to help his team, as the Rangers try to capture their first World Series title. The whole organization will be under a lot of scrutiny and pressure – but Zizka says that’s what drew him to the job in the first place.
“Last night I walked straight from College Station to the stadium, and seeing ‘World Series’ painted on the stadium, there’s no other feeling,” he said. “I love this kind of thing. I love the big, low-key moments. Everything I’ve done in the past — the Kyle Field laundry, the folded linens, the little things — this makes it all possible.”