The Ultimate Teammate

“It’s a tough life to live. I think people don’t realize how tough it really is—especially on the wives. You have to have a very special wife…” – Andy Pettitte

While a baseball player may have 25 teammates who join him on the field each and every night, the most important member of his team is almost never seen by the fans.  The wives and girlfriends of baseball players come to games to cheer for their partners and melt into the crowd as if they were just regular fans.

The only time a baseball player’s wife or girlfriend can be picked out of the crowd is at the end of the night when she can be found waiting patiently for her husband or boyfriend to get changed and spend time with the fans who are waiting just like she is for an autograph or a picture.  When his job is finished for the night, they can finally say hi to each other and head out to spend some time before it all starts again the next day.

During my two years as an intern, I have seen a number of girlfriends and wives waiting outside of the clubhouse and have even had the opportunity to talk to some of them.  It is incredible to hear how far some of them travel just to be able to spend time with their significant other.  They come from a number of different states, and some of them even come from outside the country.  Some of the wives bring their children with them and it is so cute to see how the players interact with their children; they become a completely different person than who they were on the field just hours before.  The kids are excited that they finally get to spend some time with dad; the same kids who were upset hours before because they could see dad on the field but they couldn’t get to him.

Baseball players spend their summers living in apartments or hotels separated from their families by hundreds or thousands of miles.  If they’re lucky, they can afford to have their family travel to visit them, but even then they spend half of their time at the stadium and have a limited amount of time to spend visiting with family.  Baseball wives spend their time watching their husbands on national television or traveling between cities for the summer just to spend time together.  This commitment to spending time with their significant other has earned every baseball wife the title of “ultimate teammate” in my mind.

Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Bat Boys!

It’s a job that a number of young boys would love to have.  Hanging out with the players, sitting on the field during the game, and getting to wear a baseball uniform.  That’s not all the Reading Phillies bat boys do on game days   Ever wonder where the players get all that bubble gum and those sunflower seeds? The bat boys carry them out to the dugouts and the bullpens before every game.  They also make sure that both teams have towels to use during the games.  After the game is over and both teams have returned to their clubhouses, the bat boys clean up all the bats, helmets, towels and any other equipment that may have been left behind.

Once everything on the field is cleaned up, the bat boys make sure all of the players equipment is ready to go for the next day.  If the team is heading out on a road trip, the bat boys help to pack up all the equipment and load it onto the team bus. Over the past two season, I have watched the bat boys pick up batting practice balls, chase batting practice home runs, pick up food for the players at different concessions stands, and clean off cleats after a long game in the rain.

They are almost like the unsung heroes of the baseball club.  The fans rarely know their names, they don’t get to wear a number that everyone will remember, and they are never introduced on the field.  While the team may know how much work the bat boys do, they are only 26 out of the thousands of people who visit the stadium every summer.  I know that I never realized how much work is involved with being a bat boy, so I’m sure the majority of fans have no idea.  Next time you are at a game, take a minute to notice the two young fans who are lucky enough to be seated on the field throughout the entirety of the game and know that they have certainly earned those seats next to the dugouts.