Some people dream of setting foot on a Major League Baseball field. For the better part of this summer, Tyler Gosney of Monroe City did so every day.
Although a former member of the Monroe City High School baseball program, it wasn’t Gosney’s hitting skills or throwing ability that earned him a shot with the San Diego Padres. Instead, Gosney put to use what he had learned at Linn State Technical College as an intern member of the Padres’ ground crew.
Gosney, who is studying commercial turf and ground management at Linn State, is required to serve a 16-week internship as part of the program’s curriculum.
“I wanted to do one in baseball. I was really determined,” he said.
Gosney, the son of Sheila and Bret Gosney, received a number of offers.
“I had about 10 minor league offers. None of them were bad,” he said. “I got one that was actually (from) a AAA (team) that looked really good that I was about to take.”
But Gosney decided to delay his decision until he heard back from the San Diego Padres.
“Regardless of what profession you’re in you want to shoot high,” he said.
Gosney called the Padres to see if he had a shot.
“He (team official) gave me an interview over the phone and within 24 hours I had a job,” he said.
Far from home
Why San Diego instead of a team closer to home?
“Some teams just don’t do internships,” said Gosney. “For me, San Diego was the only major league (team) that made an offer. It all worked out wonderful.
“Ideally in the future I want to end up in St. Louis or Kansas City, just because it’s proximity to home. For now I’m enjoying traveling and networking.”
Unlike some internships, Gosney was paid for his labor.
“The pay only went so far with how expensive California was, but it all came out,” he said. “I got my own little studio (apartment). It was expensive, but I was 15 minutes away from three major beaches. I wasn’t complaining.”
On days when the Padres were at home, Gosney had little time for beaches. When San Diego had a night game, Gosney was generally at work between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m.
“It’s an extremely rigorous profession,” he said.
Page 2 of 3 - Initially, Gosney focused his attention on preparing the warning track, which circles the entire playing field.
“That was kind of like my full-time job. It’s good for beginners because it teaches you a lot about moisture management, which is a huge part of our job,” he said, estimating that preparing the track would take three hours.
After some staffing changes Gosney’s duties were altered.
“By the end of the season my game day preparation would start with the warning track. Then I would do the clay for the game mound and plate, and the two bullpens,” said Gosney, who was teamed with another member of the ground crew.
Gosney is thankful for the opportunity the Padres gave him.
“San Diego is known for having the best playing field from a player’s perspective,” he said.
While Gosney interacted with some players, it wasn’t the same as veteran members of the ground crew.
“I noticed the guys who had been on the crew for years, a lot of players knew them and would talk to them. A lot would engage in conversation with me as well, but it wasn’t the same because they didn’t know me personally,” he said.
Members of the ground crew maintained an attitude of professionalism when associating with players.
“We tried to make sure it seemed we were working on the same level as them as much as possible because in our eyes we are. Our jobs are just as important to make that field perfect as it is for them to execute plays on that field,” said Gosney. “That was really hard for me when I first got there because I was kind of star struck with all these major league players I’d looked up to. You’ve got to hide your wide eyes and keep working.”
Gosney’s game plan is to secure his associate’s degree from Linn State and then move on to Mizzou.
“I’m planning on working for the turf crew there. They take care of the sports turf for the whole campus,” he said. “I think that’s going to be a good experience because I’ll get to see what it’s like to maintain a soccer field, a softball field, the baseball field, the football field. It will be really fun.”
While he enjoyed his stint with the Padres, Gosney isn’t sure what the future will hold in store for him after he earns his bachelor’s degree from MU.
Page 3 of 3 - “That’s one thing I love about my industry, there are so many different areas you could go into – football, soccer, landscaping, lawn care,” he said.