By Tyler Emerick, Special to the Journal Sentinel
Phoenix – Phil Rozewicz is a serial dater.
As the Brewers’ visiting clubhouse manager, the 13-year veteran sees a lot of major leaguers come and go.
It is a relationship he eloquently relates to the single life.
For eight months of the year, Rozewicz watches his colleague, home clubhouse operator Tony Migliaccio, experience the volatile nature of a committed relationship in his interactions with the Brewers.
“With Tony, it’s like a marriage,” Rozewicz said. “He’s with them the whole season. He has his ups and downs with them just like every couple has, except he’s one and there’s 25 of them.”
Rozewicz’s rapport with players is much more cavalier.
“I like the idea of every three days I see a new team,” he said. “Teams in the Central Division come in nine or 10 times a year, though, so I do get to develop relationships with them and know their families and kids.”
Rozewicz’s job description during the Brewers’ annual six-week trek to Maryvale changes a bit.
His average spring training day begins at 3:45 a.m. and lasts well into the late afternoon.
“I’m the early bird; the first one here who unlocks all the doors and turns all the lights on,” he said. “Every day is a different day, though. You never really look at the clock. A 12- or 14-hour day in my little world is quick.”
The biggest difference in the spring is the proximity between the clubs.
“Everybody is real close so they don’t spend a lot of time here,” he said. “Teams get here at noon and the game starts at 1, where as in Milwaukee players start showing up at 11o’clock in the morning and stay there until game time and then hang out afterwards.”
Rozewicz’s main responsibility is to cater to the visiting players needs.
Some request special food, while others request odd items but it’s his job to accommodate to any need no matter how strange it might be.
“You think you’ve seen it all until something new comes up,” he said. “Sometimes they’re funny but I don’t ask what it’s for. If I’m able to do it, I do my best to take care of it and get it done.”
The most off-the-wall requests Rozewicz had gotten were for practical jokes between teammates.
“I’ve had guys go buy parakeets to put in the player’s hotel room prior to his arrival, so when he turned on the light all these parakeets were flying around,” he said. “I’ve had to buy goldfish where they fill up the player’s tub with them. They really go all out.”
Starting his career as a batboy more than 20 years ago, the 37-year-old has spent his entire adult life catering to other people, but if you ask him if he’s enjoyed it, he’ll give the same answer.
“With my job, I like to say I’ve never worked a day in my life.”