On the Road: Ballpark boss, ballpark dad

Asheville's DeWine calls shots, raises kids at McCormick Field

Asheville President Brian DeWine in his office, which includes (inset) photos of his wife, Kali, and children Parker, Addison and Tucker.

By Benjamin Hill / MiLB.com | August 6, 2018 10:00 AM

Brian DeWine, president of the Asheville Tourists, occupies an office that serves as a work room, play room and nap room. Such is the reality of raising kids while running a Minor League Baseball team.

DeWine and his wife, Kali, have three children: Parker (8), Addison (5) and Tucker (2). Parker was born just three months before the DeWine family closed on the purchase of the Tourists, who were then and now the Class A affiliate of the Colorado Rockies. 

2018 Road Trip

"I'm one of eight, so family's big with me. I'm the fifth of eight kids," said DeWine, whose father, Mike, serves as Ohio Attorney General and is currently the Republican nominee in the state's gubernatorial race. "We wanted to have a family and still run a baseball team, and so far me and my wife have figured out a way to do it.

"Parker -- and when we named him we didn't know this -- we found out later that means 'keeper of the park.' And he's definitely the keeper of the park in his mind. The youngest two were baseball babies in that they both came in September. Tried to plan it so, you know, boom -- right after the season ended, they were born." 

For the past three seasons, Kali has worked as the team's merchandise manager. As such, her office is McCormick Field's Tourist Trap store. 

"A typical day in the season when school's out, my wife will wake up and first thing go into the ballpark," said DeWine. "I'll stay at home and play with the kids for a little bit. Usually about 9:30 or 10 I will bring them in, and they'll have an hour or maybe longer to just run around the ballpark and play. And then when my wife gets done with her stuff, she puts them in the car and takes them home." 

When the logistics of the day call for it, 2-year-old Tucker takes his noontime nap in DeWine's office. When that happens, DeWine affixes a "Baby's Sleeping" sign to the door and takes his laptop into the hallway to work.  

"[Tourists front office staff] are used to it; they're used to our kids.... They know when the 'Baby's Sleeping' sign's up to use their inside voices," said DeWine. "But my oldest loves to work -- he just loves to come to the game. He got mad at me the other day because I wouldn't let him stay to help pick up trash. He loves our staff. My daughter, she likes a bit of socializing at the ballpark; she got in a little trouble one time for taking a thousand tickets and just throwing them up in the air in the box office. They were tickets that needed to be in order, so she's banned from the ticket office now. And Tucker, he's two, so he just loves running."

DeWine's children sometimes influence his approach to work-related matters. 

"I always have to remember, when they're here, not to bring the stress in," he said. "Maybe somebody comes to my office, asks me a question and it's something I want to get mad at.... But I've got my 2-year-old playing with cars on the floor. So that might be good. It brings me down. It makes me calm." 

But the grind of a Minor League Baseball season can wear on everyone -- moms, dads and kids alike. 

"I was talking to them this morning," said DeWine. "'Guys, this is game one of [an eight-game homestand]. I need you guys not to drive your mom crazy. What happens if you drive your mom crazy?' 'We know, daddy. If we drive mom too crazy, then you can't work at the ballpark.' And they don't want that. They love it." 

Asheville's McCormick Field: A good place to raise a family. 

As Parker, Addison and Tucker grow older, their roles at the ballpark will evolve. 

"I think they'll always be a part of the ballpark. I always envision them being able to come here," said DeWine. "Obviously when they get older they can be a batboy here, or a batgirl. My wife has made it very clear that our daughter's allowed to be a batgirl."

I think this is something that I'll definitely look back on, like, 'That was awesome. I got to bring my kids to work every day.'" 

Benjamin Hill is a reporter for MiLB.com and writes Ben's Biz Blog. Follow Ben on Twitter This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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