June 2014

In Cleveland, daughters of Indians players are invited into clubhouse

This is pretty awesome.

On Sundays, the Indians open the clubhouse to the players’ kids after the game. ALL kids — sons and daughters. Apparently, the “no girls allowed” mantra that has infiltrated clubhouses for generations is slowly dissipating.

Kids’ presence in the clubhouse, before and after games, is nothing new. Sons of players have always been invited in, especially after a win. You’ll see them hanging on the couches watching TV, or spinning in the chair at pop’s locker, or chowing down in the dining area. (One of my favorite images is of a five-year-old Carlos Lee mini-mi, that little round cherubic face holding three bags of potato chips grinning like he just won the pre-K lottery).

It’s a nice thing for the kids. The players are gone so much, unable to really have a normal family life during Spring Training and baseball season. Those few precious moments that a kid can tag along with dad loom large. Being able to bring the kids to work, and hand them off to mom before the game, helps create just a little more normalcy in a life that is anything but normal.

But through the years, it always bugged me. What about the girls?

Obviously, the clubhouse isn’t an ideal environment for a girl. Grown men changing out of their uniforms isn’t exactly something you can introduce to your eight year old daughter.

The Indians came up with a simple plan that eradicates that issue. The guys hang their street clothes on a rack that the clubhouse manager wheels into the shower area after the game. Players shower and change into their clothes in there, instead of at their lockers.

And voila!

It’s a wonder no one had come up with that idea earlier. Not only do I love this, I love that the players thought up the idea and were in full support. Today, there are legions of grown men who grew up in clubhouses because dear old dad was lucky enough to play Major League Baseball for a living. They have a lifetime of great memories hanging out with sons of other players, watching dad work, and spending quality time that they wouldn’t have had if they hadn’t been allowed to tag along.

Why shouldn’t daughters grow up with the same memories?

For every Reid Ryan, Jose Cruz Jr., Conor and Cavan Biggio and all of those K sons of Roger Clemens, there was a Peyton Everett, Quinn Biggio, Sophie Ausmus, Mia Blum and Hannah Berkman.

During the mid-2000s, the Astros’ roster was comprised mostly of players who had only daughters. Lots and lots of lots of daughters. Doug Brocail had five. Adam Everett, three. Brad Ausmus, two. Jeff Bagwell, two. Geoff Blum, four. Roy Oswalt, three. Lance Berkman, four.

Wouldn’t it have been nice for them to hang out with dad on the occasional Sunday?

Good for the Indians. Here’s hoping more teams follow suit.