Saturday, May 22, 2010

Visiting Clubbies

"The bases were drunk, and I painted the black with my best yakker. But blue squeezed me, and I went full. I came back with my heater, but the stick flares one the other way and chalk flies for two bases. Three earnies! Next thing I know, skipper hooks me and I'm sipping suds with the clubby." - Ed Lynch

Every team in the Minor leagues has a clubhouse manager. These are the guys responsible for cleaning/maintaining the clubhouse, washing and drying (well, sometimes drying) our jerseys pants and personals, and making sure we have food before and after games. Clubbies (good ones at least) have a much broader job description than just these "chores" however. They are hired by the organizations to take care of us players and relieve us of as much stress as possible. From picking up family at the airport to making sure that I have some sort of alternative to peanut butter (allergies) before games, clubbies are our saviors. Don't get me wrong, though, they aren't our personal assistants. We do our part to make their jobs as easy as possible by putting all our clothes in the right places, keeping our demands reasonable in both price and etiquette, and most importantly tipping well. They usually have a set base price per day that we owe them, but for those clubbies who go above and beyond, players will pay a premium for their services.

What is funny to me, though, is the phenomenon of the "visiting clubby". Just as each team has a home clubhouse manager, they provide the visiting team a clubby as well. These vagabonds are responsible for the enemy's well-being...or ours if we're on the road. They tend to be one of two extremes. They are either completely apathetic people who do the bare minimum for the minimum tip, or they are bad-ass ex-army drill sergeants who do any and everything you need without thinking twice about it. "Sarge", the Augusta Greenjackets visiting clubby, is simply the best. He has been a clubhouse/equipment manager for years in both Hockey (his first and true love) and minor league baseball. He does what you need and surprises you with things you didn't even know you wanted...like Captain Crunch with Crunchberries on an early sunday game. Sarge always has a good story or a funny/kind of inappropriate joke, but he doesn't bother you. He understands that the little extra he puts in pays (literally) at the end of the series when guys get their wallets out. Of course in the big leagues every player makes a lot of money and tips well, but in the minors guys are a little tighter with their wallets. We're not stingy, necessarily; we're just frugal. I will, however, pay for Crunchberries.

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