At 22 years old, Jaycob Brugman has just a few years on most of his Beloit Snappers teammates. To them, however, his nickname might as well be Father Time.
With the release of relief pitcher Brent Powers, Brugman is the lone married player on the team. He’s also a father to Millie, a 9-month-old baby girl who has attracted a lot of attention at Pohlman Field this season.
Wife Ali and Millie have been a fixture, seated on the third base side in reserved seats even in the most frigid of temperatures.
“We’re from Utah and Millie was born in September, so she’s really just known cold weather,” Brugman said. “She had all of her cold gear and was ready to go. She loves cold weather, cold water, everything. She’s just a super happy baby.”
The transition at home, eased before Sunday by Powers and his wife, was nothing compared to some issues they’ve had to deal with on the road.
“In some of the places we go, the hotel is in a really busy area,” Brugman said. “So there’s been times where we are out looking for a place to eat, pushing the stroller across the highway. It’s been a little crazy at times.”
Brugman said that while his team gives him grief for being in a different life stage than them, he’s been surprised at their generosity towards his family.
“They definitely let me know about me being in a different situation,” Brugman said. “They tell me I’m like a 30-year old guy to them. But they are also great to Millie and Ali. They always come by our room when we’re on the road and want to hold Millie and play with her, and they’ve gotten her some gifts along the way.
“Even though there are times when I hear some things they say and think they aren’t quite ready to be parents, I couldn’t ask for a better group of guys. We’re teammates, and we love each other like brothers. These guys have extended that love to my family and that’s something I really appreciate.”
Brugman, a BYU grad and a devout member of the Mormon church, has only been able to attend church once this year.
“It’s been a tough adjustment,” Brugman said. “I’ve gone from going to church every single Sunday to almost never going. But I still do things away from church on a daily basis that keep my faith strong.”
On the field, Brugman has been solid. He’s hitting .269 with four home runs and 30 runs batted in. Snappers manager Rick Magnante, who managed Brugman last year in Vermont when he hit .261 with just one home run, has been pleased with what he’s seen.
“He’s really made incremental progress in every area of his game,” Magnante said. “He’s still got the same tools he showed up with last year: He’s a good defender with a good arm. But the difference is he’s been much better at the plate.
“He’s put in a lot of work at instructionals and through spring training. He does extra work with Lloyd and that’s starting to pay dividends.”