Tim Gehron has always been around baseball. It's in his blood.
First he was a promising player in Newberry Little League for a team which reached the regional tournament. Then it was as a pitcher for his American Legion team, where he threw four one-hitters his last year. Then it was working with Little League Baseball, traveling around the country helping to start Little League programs.
More recently, Gehron has been working as the clubhouse manager for the Williamsport Crosscutters. And while his co-workers have sat through the winter's dog days, dodging accumulating snowfalls, Gehron has spent the last two-plus weeks in the sunshine of Florida working in the minor league clubhouse during Philadelphia Phillies spring training in Clearwater.
"Quite frankly, I was surprised they asked me, sure," Gehron said. "I was never thinking I'd be approached about coming down here and having the opportunity to work spring training."
Gehron has spent the past two seasons working as the Cutters' clubhouse manager. It's a job he learned about through Cutters' Vice President and General Manager Doug Estes, and through his brother Bill, the Director of Food and Beverage.
Come gameday, he's constantly busy. During the game he's getting the team's workout clothes washed and ready for the next day. Postgame, he's washing uniforms, stalking around the clubhouse making sure the players, most of them first-time pros, have enough bats for a road trip, or all the equipment they could need.
And when there is free time, he's on the field during batting practice, taking throws from infielders for the coaches hitting grounders.
"I did the job last year and Steve Noworyta (Phillies assistant director of player development) approached me in August and asked if I would like to come to spring training," Gehron said. "They said they liked that I did a bang-up job. They said I ran a tight ship and they offered me an opportunity to come down."
Gehron always had aspirations to play professional baseball. He played on teams which included Ed Ott and David Croyle, both of whom played professionally.
Gehron had tryouts with the Pirates, Phillies and Royals, but none of them went anywhere. He went to Lycoming College the year the school discontinued its baseball program.
Despite his playing days being over, he's found various ways to stay involved with the game. From 1971-1976 he worked for Little League Baseball, and in 1973 he made a six-week trip through Florida during spring training to help towns that wanted to set up Little League programs.
He's been to spring training before, but never in this type of capacity. Not in a situation where the team is putting him up for six weeks in a suite.
"I'm looking forward to hanging out with some of the guys from the past years," Gehron said. "I'm looking forward to seeing the whole operation. I want to see how they do their laundry and get the stains out. I guess I'm just excited to have the opportunity to come down here."
Gehron's whole experience around minor league baseball, both in the two years as Cutters clubhouse manager and this spring in Clearwater, has really opened his eyes to the grind minor leaguers go through.
"It makes someone really appreciate the fact that people don't just become major league baseball players," Gehron said. "Even today, it's a long, tedious, hard process to get to rookie league baseball."