‘I love this job’: Former professional baseball player now Madison street sweeper
MADISON, Wis. — Spring cleanup is underway in the city of Madison. Street sweepers are out and about getting all the salt, sand and grit left over from the winter.
Felix Caraballo is one of many street sweepers working to make sure Madison’s roadways are clean. He said everyone can do their part to help make his job a little easier this spring.
“There’s many things that people can help us do,” Caraballo said. “It would be nice if people don’t park in the street and people shouldn’t put their recycling and garbage bins in the street. When we put it in the street, we have to go around and all that stuff will stay there.”
Caraballo has been a street sweeper for the past three years. He’s been an employee with the city of Madison for the past 20.
He said he switched from being in the street repair department to street sweeping three years ago and so far, ” It’s teaching me how to be patient with people.”
Patience is a job skill that he said didn’t necessarily transfer over from his previous career, before being employed with the City.
“It’s very difficult, when you are playing a professional sport, to come and do this job. It’s a big change,” Caraballo said
In 1987, Caraballo moved to the U.S. from the Dominican Republic to play for the Oakland A’s. In 1988, he played for the Madison Muskies. In 1990, he played for the Reno Silver Sox.
“It’s a big jump,” he said.
An injury and surgery prevented him from playing again. So he switched over to street cleaning.
It’s different for him, but some of his job skills did transfer over, like working as a team.
“It’s teamwork. We just keep working on it until we get it done,” Caraballo said.
He works with other city staff to make the streets look squeaky clean.
“I love the job. Either way, you have to get used to it to do the job,” he said. “I love this job. I love to do what I do.”
The city of Madison wants to remind people to help make Caraballo’s, and other street sweepers’ jobs a little easier this spring by moving cars and garbage and recycling bins off the streets. Last year, street sweepers collected more than 1,500 tons of debris. The city said crews likely could have collected even more had the streets been cleared with the residents’ help.
The city also said there will be two entry-level positions open this summer with the streets division. Whoever gets the job can work their way up to a position like Caraballo has now.
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