MINNEAPOLIS -- All the late nights and weekends, the extended periods of time spent on the road away from his family, and time spent on-call have earned Tom Probst the ultimate compliment:
Acclaim from his peers.
The Brainerd native has been selected to serve as one of two National League trainers for the July 15 All-Star Game in Chicago.
Probst, a trainer in the major leagues for 11 seasons, all with the Colorado Rockies, has been the franchise's head trainer the last five. He will be making his first All-Star appearance.
"You have to have 10 years in the game at professional level in order to even qualify for it," Probst said. "Yes, it's a great honor. I'm really excited. Usually you have a little bit of a break at the All-Star Game, even if it's just a couple days, but I've never worked one before. I think it will be a great experience."
Last week, Probst made only his second visit to the Metrodome. His only previous trip to Minnesota, before last week's three-game interleague series, was in 1993 for two exhibition games.
Following a home game June 8 against Kansas City, Probst flew home to visit his parents, Helen and Warren. Helen is recovering from a stroke at Bethany Good Samaritan Village in Brainerd.
"The plans were that my sister, my brother, my mom and dad, would come down, stay in the hotel, enjoy the games, spend time together," Probst said. "My mom had a stroke at the end of January, so she's been at Bethany, basically. That's one of the big reasons I went home, was to see her."
The 44-year-old Probst doesn't mind the often-maligned Metrodome. He has accompanied the Rockies on many trips to Olympic Stadium in Montreal, another domed facility.
"I can say this is probably better than Montreal's stadium," he said. "I do enjoy going to Montreal, but Minnesota is home so I really can't say too many things bad about the stadium or Minnesota."
Probst graduated from Mankato State University in 1981 with a degree in physical education. Later that year, he landed a job as a trainer in the Montreal organization, working there for five years. He then left baseball and obtained a degree in physical therapy from Florida International University.
He returned to baseball in 1992 when the Rockies began minor league play. He was trainer of the first team in organization history, at Bend, Ore., in the Northwest League.
Following the 1998 season, Probst was named the second head trainer in Rockies history. He serves on the executive board of the Professional Baseball Athletic Trainers Society, and was the National League representative for PBATS in 2002 and again this year.
Probst said being a major league trainer is a "great job" but is less glamorous than people envision. He arrives at the ballpark five to six hours before games and is one of the last to leave the stadium.
"It's a dream come true for anybody," he said. "But, does it wear on you about the middle of the summer? Sure it does. I think every job does, even the 9 to 5 job does.
"You put in a lot of hours, seven days a week. I don't think that's what people realize. The baseball season doesn't have weekends off. You don't have holidays off. When you do have a day off it may be a treatment day, so you're not really off, or it may be a travel day.
"It's a grueling season, primarily for the players, but as tag-along personnel it's grueling for us as well."
That grind may force Probst to consider making a career change at some point. He and his wife, Gina, have three boys under the ages of eight.
"I really enjoy what I'm doing," he said, "but I do have to look out for my family. I've got three young boys, and a family life. I think we have to make a decision as a family what we're going to do."
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