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Long-time Threshers Employee Loves His Job

Charlie Koss has been with the Threshers nearly as long as Bright House Field has been open. He boasts it's the best job he's had in his life.

If fans have gone to Bright House Field more than a few times over the years, it's very possible they would recognize Charlie Koss.

An unassuming fellow, Koss, a retiree, has been an employee of the Clearwater Threshers for six of the eight years Bright House Field has been open. The veteran of the Vietnam War has done a variety of jobs at the stadium from usher to parking attendant to handyman and maintenance worker.

"I had to retire to find a job I like," Koss joked.

Koss works both the Phillies spring training games and all home games for the Threshers and though Father Time is creeping up on him too fast for his liking, the number of games he works in a six-month period doesn't wear him out.

"Shoot no," Koss said. "This keeps me out of the house and away from the honey-do list."

Currently, Koss works security at the VIP entrance of the staidum where he also monitors the visiting team's locker room. Nobody gets past his desk without a signature or a ticket, but he meets one and all with a smile and a helpful demeanor.

"I had to get out of the sun," Koss said of his new duties which largely keep him in the bowels of Bright House Field.

Koss lights up when he talks about all the baseball players and celebrities he has met, from Phillies legend Mike Schmidt to local football celebrity Mike Alstott.

Koss is a transplant from Hilton, N.Y., northwest of Rochester. He worked construction most of his life. After retiring, he was fishing with a friend of his from the Indian Rock Beach VFW 10094. His friend, who worked part-time for the Threshers, told Koss that the Phillies Florida State League affiliate was hiring ushers.

Shortly thereafter, Koss found himself working baseball games.

"I've always loved baseball, since I was a kid," Koss said. The child in Koss comes out when he talks about how much he loves his job and working for the Threshers.

But there have been some unpleasant memories too.

"I remember working Section 118 and there was a family with a young child who was on the front row standing up," Koss remembers.

Fearing for the child's safety from a foul ball, Koss repeatedly asked the child's parents to keep him from standing and try to shield him in case a line drive came their way.

Koss' fears were realized when the child was hit by a foul ball.

But bad times at Bright House Field are few for Koss.

"People are generally pretty good," Koss said. "I haven't had too many problems. As far as sports fans go, baseball fans may be the best and I'm a NASCAR fan."

Fish report: As the first week of May closes, the Threshers find themselves 1 1/2 games behind first-place Daytona in the Florida State League's North Division. ... RHP Julio Rodriguez still hasn't lost a game.  In a 4-0 win over Dunedin, Rodriguez (5-0) gave up a leadoff single then retired the next 10 Blue Jays batters. He struck out eight and walked one and was named FSL pitcher of the week. Rodriguez is third in the FSL in ERA at 1.67. ... 1B Joe Savery leads the FSL with a .416 batting average. He is second in the league in hits with 43. ... RHP Trevor May is fourth in the FSL in strikeouts with 35. ...  RHP Jonathan Pettibone is fifth in the FSL in ERA at 1.75. 

On deck: The Threshers have a big week. After a day off Sunday and a lone road game today at Dunedin, the Threshers host a four-game homestand with Palm Beach Tuesday through Thursday.

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