LYNCHBURG, VIRGINIA -- For many people, the walk to the parking lot is the first step of the commute home. For Robert Broom, it's the only step.
Broom, a 22-year-old reliever in the Cleveland Indians organization, is off to a scorching start with the Class A Advanced Lynchburg Hillcats. The Chattanooga-area native hasn't allowed an earned run over his first nine appearances, striking out 20 over 13 1/3 innings and converting four saves in as many opportunities. He's doing all this while living at the ballpark, literally. Broom, a lifelong outdoors enthusiast, spends his nights in an RV situated in the parking lot of Lynchburg City Stadium.
The Indians' 10th-round pick in the 2018 Draft, Broom spent the last two months of that season with the Class A Lake County Captains. During that time he lived with an elderly couple who served as a host family, sharing a spacious basement with other Captains players. Groom said that situation suited him just fine, but at the end of the day he considers himself to be "an independent person who doesn't need a roommate or anything."
Enter the RV. During the offseason, at the suggestion of his mother, Broom began looking into truck campers that he could attach to the bed of his Dodge Ram 3500.
"I actually looked at a few new [truck campers] and the cheapest I found was $19,000. I didn't really want to spend that much on something. It'd probably be $500 a month for a payment on it," he said. "So I paid $3,700 for that [used camper.] It does the job. It has everything that a new one would have, it's just a bit older. It's a '97 model. The truck's a '95."
Video: Robert Broom gives tour of his RV
After Broom was assigned to the Hillcats following Spring Training, his parents drove his RV to Lynchburg.
"I guess [the Hillcats] found out about it and were OK with it. Having a big parking lot helped me, I've got pretty much any spot out there I can put my name on," said Broom. "But I got [a spot] out there, kind of in the corner, that I usually park it and it works out well for me.
"I'm only there for a few hours of the day. I just sleep there and have a few hours in the morning. So I do most of my business in the clubhouse, as far as showering, cleaning my teeth, doing all that stuff. But for the most part that has everything I need for what I need it for. It does have a bathroom, but whenever I'd have to use it I'd have to clean it. So that's the downside. I'm gonna stay away from that. Keep my business straight, my priority on baseball."
In addition to having a un-utilized bathroom, Broom's cramped but tidy and efficient living quarters include a stove, refrigerator, clothes closet, kitchen table, TV and queen-size Serta mattress. It also has an air-conditioner, powered by a generator, and Broom has recently constructed a homemade supplemental AC, which he describes as a fan-powered "big Igloo cooler."
"My mom, she gave it that home feel," he said. "She filled it with some snacks and stocked it up with some plates and stuff and towels, but I didn't really have to do anything once I got here. It was stocked and ready to go.... The guys love it. That first week I think over half the team came and checked it out. And I think we're still planning on doing a cookout after a Sunday afternoon game. Have a little cookout out there, have a good time."
Broom has found a living situation that suits his outdoor-oriented, independent nature. As his Minor League journey continues, so will his RV journey.
"We'll see how it goes, but as long as the Indians are all right with it, then it won't be much of a problem," he said. "I kinda keep to myself in a way. I think it'll be just fine for me."