Craig Candage Sr., settles behind the desk in his small office under the right field stands at Hadlock Field, surrounded by the tools – and prizes – of his trade.

 

The room is filled with uniforms of the Portland Sea Dogs – home, away and alternative – name tags of past, present and future players, buckets of sunflower seeds, boxes of baseballs … and bobbleheads. Dozens of them. In fact, he has a sample from every giveaway the Sea Dogs have ever held.

It is truly baseball heaven.

And the 64-year-old Candage couldn’t be happier. He is in his fifth year as the clubhouse manager for the Sea Dogs and his 19th season working for the organization. He began as an usher and slowly worked up to his current position, taking over for his son, Craig Jr., five years ago.

Asked what he does, he candidly says, “Basically I’m in charge of the clubhouse. I’m pretty much like a team mother.’’

He does laundry, delivers mail, takes care of meals, welcomes the new players to a new clubhouse, orders supplies, helps pack for road trips, cleans up after everyone has left.

It’s not easy work, as Candage is often at the ballpark until 1 or 2 a.m. – “And when we have an afternoon game the next day, it’s tough,’’ he said – but he loves it.

“I enjoy being around the players, I enjoy being around young people,’’ he said. “I’ve always been a baseball fan.’’

He watches home games from the Sea Dogs dugout, always ready to mend broken equipment or hustle back to the clubhouse to grab something.

Asked if he had any favorite stories, he said, “Some you couldn’t write.’’

The bullpen crew, he said, is always up to something. “They have too much time on their hands,’’ he said.

He’s become close to some of the players. And it’s always hard to see someone go.

“The worst part is when someone gets cut,’’ he said. “For a lot of them, that’s it for them in baseball.

“And if it’s someone that was well-liked in the locker room, there’s a lot of sadness when I collect his equipment.’’

Still, he said, he’s got no plans to stop. His wife, Catherine, also works for the Sea Dogs, in the souvenir store.

“I’m going to do this until it’s not fun anymore,’’ he said. “I have a great time.’’

 

Staff Writer Mike Lowe can be contacted at 791-6422 or at:
mlowe@pressherald.com
Twitter: MikeLowePPH