Bret Alexander made sure to savor the last pitch of the 2012 World Series. As closer Sergio Romo was preparing to throw an 89 mph fastball to Miguel Cabrera that would freeze the already cold slugger, Alexander, a 1979 Curtis High graduate, slithered toward the visitors’ dugout in Detroit’s Comerica Park.
“I got as close as I could,” Alexander recalled Tuesday, “without actually being in there.”
San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy and his players probably would have been happy to allow Alexander a seat on the bench. After all, the Giants’ director of team travel had spent seven months ensuring seats for them.
A postseason that found the Giants playing six elimination games required Alexander to make travel plans with contingencies. “Lose or go home” sounds like a simple premise – unless you’re the guy responsible for getting everybody home ASAP.
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“I was on hyperdrive for a few weeks,” Alexander said. “There were some nights I worked all the way through. But at the end, I had to take a minute to feel the energy. The elation of the moment was pretty thrilling.”
Although this past season was Alexander’s first around baseball, he did not consider himself a rookie. Alexander, 52, and his wife, Theresa Pesco-Alexander, worked as longtime travel managers for U2.
Coordinating a World Series trip for a traveling party of more than 500 – the Giants brought every employee in their front office to Detroit – can be a stressful task. But, then again, so was arranging transportation and lodging for U2’s 360-degree tour. The largest grossing tour in music history spanned two years, with seven legs on five continents.
Parents of three children still in school, Alexander and his wife yearned for a lifestyle a tad more conventional than accompanying one of the planet’s most popular bands to Oceania, Africa and South America.
“Raising three children, while trying to balance a time budget between the kids and work, I wondered: How can I recreate my career in another industry?” Alexander said. “Baseball gave me an opportunity to reinvent myself. With all travel contacts I had in the business, it made perfect sense.”
The transition from music to sports had a personal appeal for Alexander: His late father, Bruce, was a distinguished NBA official. Refereeing is among those professions – firefighting and policing are others – that typically stays in the family. Alexander pondered following dad’s footsteps, but the basketball career was confined to an internship with the Seattle SuperSonics.
The son maintains a posthumous link with the father: Both were given All-Star Game rings, Bruce as an official, and Bret for assisting with travel arrangements for the MLB All-Star Game this past July in Kansas City, Mo.
“I think my dad would have been proud,” said Alexander, who relocated from New York City to the Tacoma area during his father’s struggle with health problems.
Alexander and his family eventually settled down in Roslyn, where he owns the cafe recognizable to fans of the TV show “Northern Exposure.” But don’t expect to meet him there much longer, because he and Theresa are in the process of selling it and moving to San Francisco.
Baseball fans will tell you the season begins on Opening Day. Nonsense. Those working behind the scenes know that the baseball offseason is as brief as the life of a butterfly. Spring training begins in, like, an hour.
“We’re packing up and going south,” Alexander said. “As much as we love the cafe, being an absentee owner of a restaurant is, so to speak, a bad recipe.”
Alexander volunteers no regrets about yanking his kids out of school for a chance to watch the Giants open the Fall Classic in San Francisco, and another chance, a week later, to participate in the victory parade. Come April, the family will convene for another celebration, when the Giants receive their world championship rings.
“I’m getting one,” Alexander said, “and I didn’t even play baseball.”
A ring is due the man who clamored to see Sergio Romo’s clinching pitch in Detroit. The Giants couldn’t have gotten there without him.