Clubhouse manager for baseball visitors

AT PLAY

Fred Tyler sees to the comforts and needs of the other teams that play at Oriole Park at Camden Yards

April 19, 2006|By JEFF SEIDEL | JEFF SEIDEL,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Only 23 hours separated the end of Monday's game against the Baltimore Orioles and the start of the next one in Minnesota against the Twins.

The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim were scrambling to get dressed, eat dinner, pack their travel bags and make the team's bus, scheduled to leave Oriole Park at Camden Yards at 10:15 p.m.

And Fred Tyler was in the middle of all of it.

The Arnold resident has been the visiting clubhouse manager for the Orioles since 1984. His job is to make sure that the other team has whatever it needs while in the clubhouse at Oriole Park.

At one point, he checked to make sure the Angels uniforms were in a pile together so they could be packed.

Tyler crossed the clubhouse several times over 30 minutes, cleaning up the locker room and asking players what they needed.

`100 percent of the battle'

"I always enjoy it, every day," said Tyler. "You meet so many people from all walks of life. Nice people, just really, really good people. Any time you can go to work and have that happen, that's 100 percent of the battle, really."

Tyler, 45, has been doing this work for a long time.

His father, Ernie Tyler, has been working with the Orioles in some form since the team came to Baltimore in 1954. He's been the umpires' attendant since 1960 - the guy who fans see running out to hand the umpires baseballs during the game -- and had worked 3,696 consecutive games through Monday night.

"We've always had good fun here," Ernie Tyler, 82, said. "This is a good place to be."

Fred Tyler began coming to Memorial Stadium as a child while his father was there, and that opened the door.

"We lived two blocks from the stadium in Waverly," Tyler said. "It was very convenient for me to walk a couple of blocks to see him in the daytime and at night. I started hanging around when ... I was younger. The guy there asked me if I wanted to help, and I started helping."

Tyler was working around the clubhouse while a teenager, assisting his older brother. Jimmy Tyler served as the visiting clubhouse manager for seven years at Memorial Stadium until becoming home clubhouse manager in 1979. He's held that job ever since.

But the work Fred Tyler did then led to his becoming visiting clubhouse manager. It also set him up for many, many long days.

The Orioles play 81 home games every year. Tyler and his staff of three to five people have to get the clubhouse ready for each game. They arrange lockers for the players and coaches, set up meals, do the laundry for the team's uniforms and clean up afterward. It's not uncommon for Tyler to leave home at 9:30 a.m. and not return until 1 a.m. or 2 a.m.

The days are even longer when a new team comes to town, which usually happens every three days during a homestand. But the long hours don't bother Tyler much because he enjoys the people he works with.

Tyler has an office directly across from the office that the visiting team's manager uses.

Name on the door

His name is painted on the door in orange - with a black background, of course. The large laundry facilities in the clubhouse are a few steps away from Tyler's office, and he's in there a lot.

But as the Angels were leaving late Monday night, players and other team employees came over to Tyler and said goodbye. This was the Angels' only trip to Baltimore this year.

"There's so many good people in this game," Tyler said. "And every day you see something different."

Tyler does more of the same in spring training and also works as the visiting clubhouse manager on game days for the Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium.

But he's not one to draw attention to himself, even though he knows so many people. He just quietly goes about doing his job.

"He does a lot of little things," Ernie Tyler said. "You know how you get to stay around a long time? You do a lot of little things and don't complain about them."

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