There have been tons of baseball books about players, teams, owners, manager, etc. This was the first time I found a book about a clubhouse attendant. Greg Larson played that role for 2 season with the Aberdeen IronBirds, the short-season A affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles. He details his 2 years of washing uniforms, hustling to get the team food, and being inside a baseball clubhouse.
Much like The Wax Pack, Larson plays a crucial part to the story; not only doing the chores of the Clubbie, but also struggling with real world issues of relationships, money, and discovering being in part of a childhood dream isn’t what it’s cracked up to be. Over his 2 years in Aberdeen, he goes from starstruck fan of the game to a guy who sees the struggles of life in baseball.
Larson does an amazing job of humanizing the players he’s working with; you see their in game struggles, what little money they make, and how the Major League team sees them as warm bodies rather than individuals. You can see the impact of winning and losing, coaches who are there for a job and those that are invested in their players, and why changes are needed in the minors. You also see Larson struggle with the idea of taking money from these kids who make less then him; he explains the process of dues and tipping in the clubhouse.
He also shows the struggles of coaches and others that work for Aberdeen. In fact, one of the best “characters” in the book is pitching coach Alan Mills, who is simultaneously abrasive and charming. You get the feeling that the life of the coach is not all it’s cracked up to be, especially when you consider that a lot of minor league coaches were former players.
His writing style is clear and concise, making the book a very quick read; I had it done in about 5 days. You can tell he’s an English major by how he writes. It’s very honest while not holding back.
Rating: 5 out of 5. I recommend it for any baseball fan; this is a unique baseball book that is more about the background of the game rather then the events on the field.