World Series champs made sure beloved clubhouse attendants got a $505K bonus: 'Life-changing'

PHOENIX — Taxes are due Monday and while folks are still scrambling to put checks in the mail, about a dozen men have never had to pay so much money to Uncle Sam in their lives.

And couldn’t be happier to do so.

We are talking about the baseball clubhouse attendants for the Texas Rangers and Arizona Diamondbacks, who received the biggest checks of their lives this winter, rewarded by the Rangers and D-backs players who granted them full playoff shares.

The Rangers’ players were given $505,263 checks for winning the World Series while the Diamondbacks players received $313,634.

Corey Seager may have won the World Series MVP award, but thanks to the players’ generosity, he received the same check as Rangers clubhouse director Brandon Boyd and his staff.

The Diamondbacks, who hadn’t been to the World Series since 2001, made sure that every single member of their home clubhouse staff received the same checks as they did, along with shares to be split among the visiting clubhouse attendants.

It was a fabulous holiday bonus for the players.

It was life-changing money for the clubbies.

Texas Rangers celebrate in the locker room after winning the 2023 World Series.
Texas Rangers celebrate in the locker room after winning the 2023 World Series.

Most of the Diamondbacks’ clubhouse staff, with six in the organization since its inception in 1998, used the money to pay off their homes.

“I know that no matter what happens to me," said Lupe Uribe, “my family will be taken care of forever. They won’t have to worry about a mortgage ever again."

Jimmy Garrett, who also handles the umpires room, not only paid off his house, but travelled to Baltimore and New York with his wife to watch the final performances of Kiss, the Hall of Fame rock band. It was the 29th time Garrett had seen them perform and wanted to make sure he saw their last show.

Chad Chiffin bought his first car in 19 years, went home to Jamestown, N.Y., spending the holidays buying rounds of beers for his buddies.

“The thank yous and tips are great for these guys at the end of the season," Diamondbacks reliever Paul Sewald says, “but when you get to the World Series, that check starts to get life-changing. They can pay off their mortgage. Or their kids can go to any college they want. That’s special.

“You look around, there’s a lot of people in this building that make more money than you can ever count, and then there’s a lot of people in this building that don’t make much money and help make our jobs a whole lot easier."

There’s no glory in washing underwear and jock straps, cleaning the showers and vacuuming the clubhouse floors. The hours are brutal, arriving at 11 a.m. for night games and leaving by midnight.

Yet, it’s the love of the game, and definitely the people, that have clubhouse attendants keep coming back, spending virtually their entire lives working for one organization.

“We had all of our guys thank every one of us," Rangers outfielder Travis Jankowski says, “and we said, 'Hey, you guys are welcome, but we’re not really doing you a favor. You deserve this. You earned that and much, much more.’

“Their hours are terrible. They make sacrifices to be away from their family. It’s not glorious. What they do is make our lives incredibly easy."

It technically may be a 26-man roster, but as every player can tell you, the clubhouse attendants are the warriors, and feel the euphoria of wins and the pain of losses just as much as the players.

“These are the guys who are the first ones at the ballpark, the last to leave, and they’re there to help you and make life as easy as possible," Rangers manager Bruce Bochy says. “These guys work so hard to take care of you, and for these players to reward the staff behind the scenes means everything. It was tremendous to see how generous they were and to show they’re part of us."

Shawn Moore, who has been with the Diamondbacks since the team's inception, used his postseason share from the 2001 World Series for a down payment and to help purchase his first home. He was able to use this postseason check to completely pay it off.

“It was so unbelievably generous and unexpected," Moore said. “I couldn’t believe it. I remember looking at my wife and saying, 'Look at what we’re going to be able to do now. We’re set up for the future because of what they guys did for us.'

“I made sure to let all of these guys know how much I appreciated it."

It was those flood of text messages and phone calls, D-backs ace Zac Gallen said, that was one of the highlights of his winter, knowing the impact their generosity meant to the clubhouse staff, led by Roger Riley and Bob Doty.

“They made us feel great just the way they thanked us, it was awesome," Gallen says. “They told us what they planned, whether it was paying off a house, sending kids to college, investing, everything. Just seeing the joy on their face being able to help them out is what it’s all about.

“We know as players, we’re very fortunate in this game to make life-changing money. So, to be able to give that opportunity to somebody else, guys who have been here for 20-plus years, yeah, it’s pretty awesome.’’

This was a World Series, after all, in which no team was expected to be playing in deep October. The Rangers weren't favored in a series until the World Series. The Diamondbacks, the last team to qualify for the postseason with 84 victories, were even bigger underdogs each series.

Yet, there they were, the last teams standing on baseball’s biggest stage, with the clubhouse attendants standing on the baselines alongside the players during the pre-game introductions.

“Those kind of people behind the scenes, whether it’s the clubbies, security, grounds crew or whatever, they’re all part of this," Rangers All-Star second baseman Marcus Semien said. “People just see us playing on the field, but everyone’s involved. They were all part of our world championship and they deserve to have shares just like us.

“It was a life-changing experience for everyone, in so many different ways.’’

Tax Day?

It’s never been so beautiful.

Nolan Arenado and Paul Goldschmidt after a win against the Phillies.
Nolan Arenado and Paul Goldschmidt after a win against the Phillies.

Old or impatient?

It’s far too early to make rash judgements, but if you’re 30 years and older these days and get off to a slow start, you’re immediately surrounded by speculation that the end is near.

We’re hearing it already.

Scouts are alarmed that Astros first baseman Jose Abreu’s bat has drastically slowed and wonder how patient the team will be considering Abreu is the second year of a three-year, $58.5 million contract.

Abreu, 37 has already been benched several games this past week, and has batted eighth for the first time in his career when in the starting lineup. He is hitting just .122 with only one extra-base hit.

Is he done, or is just the usual, considering he’s a notorious slow starter with a career .742 OPS in March and April compared to a .838 overall OPS?

Phillies slugger Nick Castellanos, 32, is getting heavily booed with great consternation in Philadelphia. He badly struggled in the NLCS last season, hitting a homer in his first at-bat, and then ended the season hitless in his final 23 at-bats with 11 strikeouts.

It’s been the same at the start of this season. He is hitting .182, striking out 18 times, and finally got his first extra-base hit Saturday with a homer. He has been badly struggling to hit breaking balls.

Los Angeles Dodgers super utilityman Chris Taylor, 33, has opened the season in a one-for-32 skid (.031) with 17 strikeouts.

The timing has been out of sync for St. Louis Cardinals veterans Nolan Arenado and Paul Goldschmidt.

Goldschmidt, 37, is hitting .188 with one extra-base hit and 18 strikeouts in his first 57 at-bats. Arenado, who turns 33 on April 16, is hitting .276, but is slugging just .379, finally hitting his first home run on Friday night since Aug. 19.

Just two years ago, Goldschmidt and Arenado finished first and third in the MVP balloting.

These days? Well, what have you done for me lately?

“It pisses me off when everyone talks about the age part," Arenado said, “because we know physically we don’t feel that way. We’re really hard on ourselves and expect to do great things. And when you struggle, age is always talked about.

“Listen, I’ve gotten off to slow starts the last two years, and it’s frustrating. I don’t know what it is. When I was younger, I had a few years when I really got off to really good starts. And as I’ve gotten older, it’s always been a little harder to get going. Who knows why, but I I feel just fine."

If any of the 30-year-olds needs inspiration, look no further than Atlanta DH Marcell Ozuna, 33. Fans were trying to run him out of town a year ago, imploring the front office to release him. He was hitting just .085 with two RBI in April, but also was in the third year of a four-year, $65 million contract.

These days?

Ozuna is hitting .352 with six homers, 17 RBI and a 1.119 OPS.

Why, since May 1 last season, the only player with more home runs or RBI than Ozuna’s 44 homers and 115 RBI is teammate Matt Olson.

And, oh yeah, looks who’s back, hitting .283 with a 1.035 OPS, with six homers.

Yep, that 32-year-old who was forgotten about in Anaheim.

Mike Trout.

Around the basepaths

– Major League Baseball is expected to quickly interview, and clear Shohei Ohtani of any wrongdoing once the federal government’s investigation is complete.

Ohtani appears to be guilty of only having a poor taste in friends and being naive to his finances.

Ippei Mizuhara, Ohtani’s interpreter, on the other hand, faces a potential lifetime ban from the sport.

Mizuhara, who allegedly stole $16 million from Ohtani’s bank account to cover gambling losses, surrendered to authorities and was ordered not to contact Ohtani while immediately undergoing gambling addiction treatment.

– Certainly, even with a capacity of only 14,014 at Sutter Health Park, where the A’s will play the next three years in Sacramento, it’s not as if they’re going to take a hit at the ticket window. The A’s are averaging just 6,356 fans a game this season, with only 3,330 fans showing up Saturday afternoon and haven’t averaged more than 10,276 in a season since the pandemic.

Yet, the A’s will take a huge hit with their local TV deal at NBC Sports California, dropping to about $35 million after receiving $67 million last season. They also are expected to receive at least $45 million in revenue sharing.

– While there’s been speculation in the industry on whether Jordan Montgomery’s decision to leave agent Scott Boras would have an impact on any of his other clients, all agents received a notice this week informing them they are prohibited from contacting Houston Astros third baseman Alex Bregman.

Bregman is expected to be one of the most highly sought-after free agents this winter.

– Scouts say that the Baltimore Orioles are so loaded that four of their position players at Triple-A Norfolk could play for virtually any other team in the big leagues right now:

  • Outfielder Heston Kjerstad (second overall pick, 2020).

  • Second baseman/outfielder Connor Norby (41st overall pick, 2021)

  • Outfielder Kyle Stowers (71st overall pick, 2019).

  • First baseman/third baseman Coby Mayo (fourth round, 2021).

The Orioles starting lineup these days includes only has one player – Ryan O’Hearn – who came from outside the organization.

No wonder a group text message sent between Jackson Holliday and the other four simply said: “One down, four to go,” according to the Baltimore Banner.

– The three youngest players in Major League Baseball this season are all named Jackson:

  • Jackson Chourio, 20, Brewers.

  • Jackson Holliday, 20, Orioles.

  • Jackson Merrill, 20 (turns 21 on April 19), Padres.

– Atlanta ace Spencer Strider is the latest pitching star to undergo season-ending elbow surgery, a blow to the club's World Series hopes. They will be on the lookout for a replacement, but are extremely thankful they traded for Boston Red Sox veteran Chris Sale this winter.

There still are multiple veteran pitchers still on the free-agent market.

– The Houston Astros, who have been to seven consecutive American League Championship Series, now are trying to just get out of April alive.

They have easily been baseball’s biggest disappointment, 5-11, and their pitching staff, with five starters on the IL, has been in shambles.

They became the first team to have their starters yield 24 or more earned runs getting fewer than 24 outs over a three-game span since earned runs became an official stat in 1913. Young starter Hunter Brown also became the first pitcher in history to allow 11 hits in less than one inning. They have already used a major-league leading 20 pitchers.

The last time they lost 11 of their first 15 games?

It was in 2013, the year they wound up going 51-111.

– Boston Red Sox manager Alex Cora had the quote of the week with the news that Jackson Holliday was making his major-league debut against them.

“For baseball, this is great,” Cora said. “For the American League East, it sucks.”

– Former White Sox manager Tony La Russa was ripped for telling his players it was OK not to hustle at all times running to first base, fearing injuries.

Maybe he was ahead of his time.

The White Sox’s three biggest stars are now facing lengthy absences on the IL with Eloy Jimenez, Luis Robert and Yoan Moncada.

Yep, they were all injured running to first base.

– The new provisions in the collective bargaining agreement designed to prevent teams from purposely keeping players in the minors to gain an extra year of control before free agency has been a huge success for players.

If the Orioles waited three more days, they could have delayed Holliday’s free agency by a year.

Yet, with MLB’s prospect promotion incentive program, Holliday would have gained a full year of service time anyway by finishing in the top two of the AL Rookie of the Year balloting.

So, the Orioles called him up now to not only immediately improve the team, but put them in line to gain a coveted first-round draft pick.

– While everyone is raving about Holliday’s star potential, the worst-kept secret in the family is that his little brother, Ethan, may even be better. Ethan will be eligible for the 2025 draft where he’s already projected to be the first pick.

– The White Sox may have a valuable trade chip on the market this summer with Michael Kopech, who has been lights out since being moved to the bullpen.

– Kris Bryant has the Rockies worried with his struggles. He’s hitting just .100 with one home run and four RBI, while striking out 31.9% of the time. He also has five years remaining on his seven-year, $182 million contract.

– Angels manager Ron Washington’s impact on third baseman Anthony Rendon has been remarkable, according to scouts and opposing managers. Rendon, who opened the season in an 0-for-21 slump, is not only hitting .357 since ending the skid, but is one of the first players on the field each day to be part of infield drills with Washington.

– Dodgers starter Tyler Glasnow, my preseason pick to win the NL Cy Young award, struck out 14 batters on only 88 pitches in his last start, the fewest since MLB began tracking pitch counts in 1988.

– It will be interesting to see if Julio Urias ever pitches again in MLB after being charged with five misdemeanors stemming from his arrest for suspicion of domestic violence last September. Urias, 27, could have commanded a free-agent contract in excess of $200 million if not for the arrest. He faces a suspension from MLB, which will investigate whether he violated the league’s domestic violence and sexual assault policy for the second time.

– The Cardinals drew the fewest fans (31,792) for a night game in the 18-year history of Busch Stadium last week to watch Sonny Gray’s debut with St. Louis against the Philadelphia Phillies.

– It’s hard to believe that Giancarlo Stanton has hit the most home runs in a Marlins’ uniform since 2017.

He has been a Yankee since 2018.

The next highest totals are Brian Anderson with 57 homers and Jazz Chisholm with 55.

– The Arizona Diamondbacks are 5-2 against the Colorado Rockies and 1-6 against everyone else entering Saturday’s game.

The D-backs don’t play the Rockies again until Aug. 12.

– The easiest pitcher to scout these days may be San Diego Padres closer Robert Suarez. In his last three outings, he has thrown 45 pitches.

All 45 have been fastballs.

Yet he has given up just two hits in those 3 ⅔ innings.

– Shohei Ohtani was thrilled to learn that he tied former slugger Hideki Matsui for the most homers by a Japanese-born major league player with his 175th career homer on Friday.

“I’m happy personally,” Ohtani told reporters. “He’s known as a power hitter, a left-handed hitter like me. It’s an honor to be associated with somebody like that. Obviously, it’s a big deal in the Japanese baseball industry.’’

–The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum was given the cleats from the Jackie Robinson statue stolen in Wichita, Kansas, during the winter while the youth baseball program raised more than $75,000 to install a new statue. The cleats will be on permanent display as part of a Jackie Robinson exhibit at the museum.

“The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum graciously accepts this donation from League 42 with some sadness, but also with hope,” Bob Kendrick, president of the Negro Leagues Museum, said in a statement. “The circumstances under which these cleats come to the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum are certainly not ideal; but we hope they serve as testament to Jackie’s enduring legacy become a symbol of hope as we continue to work to eradicate hate in our society.”

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: World Series teams' clubhouse attendants got 'life-changing' bonus