One of my many awesome baseball memories was travelling around the Southeast and the East Coast with the South Atlantic League that year; Greensboro, Lakewood, Savannah, two Charlestons, and the rest. It was a blast, it really was.in 2008. There are not terribly many clubhouse managers that get to (have to) travel with their teams, I was one of the lucky. I got to see most of the towns in the
Nothing can prepare you for that kind of work though, it’s pretty much learn on the fly. I had to figure out how to get the laundry done and how to feed a team while in a different city, thirteen different different cities, actually. Honestly, I’m surprised I survived the first road trip. Our first stop wasto face the . After the second game of the series, I went out for a “few” drinks, got schlamboozled, and took a faceplant in the street. Prior to this moment, right now, I had just told everyone I tripped over a curb, relatively sober at the time, to explain the raspberry on my right cheek.
The second stop of that roadtrip was Lexington, KY, home of the. That’s where this story picks up……
Get on the Ground, [Expletive]!
April 12, 2008
The former clubhouse manager of the Lexington Legends decided not to comeback not long before the beginning of the 2008 season. Rather than quickly track down an experienced clubbie, the Legends just delegated a couple of interns run the clubhouses. This was their first homestand in the job, just as it was my first road trip. The defacto visiting clubhouse manager was a guy by the name of Chris Boots. Boots, If you’re out there, hit me up and verify this story!
The ‘Jackets beat the Legends 9-4 . There was a day game the following day. With the day game, there would be a quick turnaround that night, a lot of things to do. Rather than go back to the team hotel and get some sleep, I decided to stay at the ballpark to help Boots and the home clubbie out, then catch a ride with Boots back to our hotel. We had vacuumed and cleaned up both clubhouses, restocked supplies, and were hanging the last of the laundry in the coaches locker room in the visiting clubhouse. It was probably around 2:00am and we were about ten minutes from being done.
Then, we heard a siren, it was close by, but not really close enough for us to be concerned. Boots decided to check it out anyway, by poking his head out the door, while I finished the last tiny little bit of laundry hanging. I heard Chris say, “I don’t see anything,” but I couldn’t see him or the door from where I was standing. Not two seconds after he says that, the door slams open, and I hear…..
“Get on the ground, [expletive]!”
“Get on the [expletive] ground!”
“Do not [expletive] move!”
I could see Boots’ face turn white and he laid down flat on his stomach faster than I would have believed was humanly possible. I was cool as a cucumber in the crisper drawer. No way it was the police or robbers, it was obviously just a couple of players messing with us. I stood there, sort of in disbelief, kind of in suspense waiting to see who it was. UNTIL…. I saw the barrel of a handgun on the other side of the door frame…..
“I said GET DOWN!”
“Who the [expletive] are you!?!”
“What are you doing here!?!”
Attached to the barrel of that handgun, was the hand of one of the largest police officers I have ever seen in my life. His partner behind him was equally as big. These two gigantic protectors of the public looked like they would have been just as comfortable in an MMA match or as characters in a video game, as they were behind the badge.
Boots and I, as our hands are being handcuffed and ginormous knees are put in our backs, tried to explain to them….
“We work here! We’re allowed to be here!” We shout to them, trying to shout louder at them than they are shouting at us, just so we can be heard.
“Bull[expletive]! The game ended hours ago! Who the hell are you?!” is the response we get.
The cops cooled there jets, slightly, and finally started to listen to us. “We work here. We’re the clubhouse managers. We work late. We’re here extra late tonight because we have a day game tomorrow.”
The police officers pulled our wallets out of our back pockets – couldn’t do it ourselves, still handcuffed – pulled out our licenses, and called them in. It wasn’t until they got the ‘all clear’ from headquarters, that they finally holstered their weapons and uncuffed us.
“You guys had us scared. We didn’t know who you were!” Said the armed police officers to the unarmed clubbies. I totally see where they were coming from, though. We could have been bad guys.
All four of us breathed a huge sigh.
The clubhouses in Lexington are behind the right field wall. The Pepsi Party Deck sits is on top of the clubhouse building. It has it’s own concession stand and seems like a great place to watch a game. Apparently, a door somewhere in the ballpark was left slightly ajar, causing a silent alarm to go off at the police station. The officers searched the entire stadium and had only the Party Deck left. They shook a door upstairs, causing the alarm that we heard to go off. When Chris opened the door, they saw the light and rushed down to greet us.
We ended up having a great conversation with the guys. They asked us if we had any extra bats, so I gave them a few of Charlie Culberson’s. Just kidding!! We just said they weren’t ours to give away.
The next day, or later that day, depending how you look at it, I told the story to my guys. What was funny the next day wasn’t funny 6 hours earlier! Hitting Coach Lipso Nava greeted me almost every afternoon the rest of the season with, “Get on the ground, [expletive]!”
Top photo courtesy of Uncle Bob’s Ballparks
Bottom photo courtesy of Stephanie Fish