If one wants to have a job in professional baseball, being a clubhouse attendant is one option. That is how Greg Larson decided to do so and his story of the two years he worked in that position is told in this book. Here is my review of “Clubbie”
Title/Author: “Clubbie: A Minor League Baseball Memoir” by Greg Larson
Rating: 4 of 5 stars (very good)
Review: Life as the clubhouse attendant for a baseball team, whether major or minor league, is far from glamorous. But yet, because “clubbies” can feel like they are part of the team and have access to certain perks that many fans would love to have, there are plenty of people who apply for the job. Greg Larson did that after his dreams of having a career in baseball as a player ended. In 2012, he took the job of clubhouse attendant of the Aberdeen Ironbirds, a low-level farm club of the Baltimore Orioles. He shares the story of the two years he held the job in this memoir.
While the book is not really a how-to on being a clubhouse attendant or manager, the reader will get a good look inside what goes on in there during a baseball season. Far from the fancy food and luxurious accommodations that greet major league players, Larson talks often about having to get the food for players ready, at times resorting to leftovers from the stadium concession stands or restaurant. Later, he also feels remorse for having to collect any dues for the food when he realizes how little these players are paid as they are mostly low draft choices or undrafted players who are given a chance to follow their dreams.
Speaking of pay, Larson doesn’t make much in this either as his tips were the best source of income and he also bemoans the lack of support for an apartment from the team in his second year, choosing instead to live in the clubhouse closet for that season. It came across as a desperate attempt to try to chase that “dream” of a baseball career, even if it meant preparing food and doing laundry for peers who are players.
That doesn’t mean the book isn’t entertaining or a good read. Indeed, some of the stories of his interaction with players, coaches and the manager are fun reading. I really got a kick out of the team’s manager Allen Mills (a former Orioles pitcher) always calling Larson “meat.” After a while, one realizes that Mills called everyone that, but it still was funny when Mills would be either calling Larson out for a mistake or imploring him to come join the celebration when Aberdeen won the New York-Penn League championship in 2013. His adventure of warming up an outfielder also made an excellent funny story.
Those stories offset some of the melancholier parts of the book, such as when he is describing his relationship with his father or his girlfriend. He also at times seems to be upset about not being one of the players. Those, however, only occasionally dull the otherwise fun mood one will be in when reading this book.
I wish to thank University of Nebraska Press for providing a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.