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Confessions of an AquaSox batboy

The deep, dark secrets of the man — or is it boy? — beneath the batting helmet

  • David Krueger, who covers high school sports for The Herald, moonlights as a batboy for the Everett AquaSox during the summer.

    Jennifer Buchanan / The Herald

    David Krueger, who covers high school sports for The Herald, moonlights as a batboy for the Everett AquaSox during the summer.

  • AquaSox batboy David Krueger congratulates catcher Mike Zunino (left) after Zunino, the Mariners’ first-round draft pick in June’s basebal...

    Jennifer Buchanan / The Herald

    AquaSox batboy David Krueger congratulates catcher Mike Zunino (left) after Zunino, the Mariners’ first-round draft pick in June’s baseball draft, scored his first run as a professional in a game on July 14.

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  • David Krueger, who covers high school sports for The Herald, moonlights as a batboy for the Everett AquaSox during the summer.

    Jennifer Buchanan / The Herald

    David Krueger, who covers high school sports for The Herald, moonlights as a batboy for the Everett AquaSox during the summer.

  • AquaSox batboy David Krueger congratulates catcher Mike Zunino (left) after Zunino, the Mariners’ first-round draft pick in June’s basebal...

    Jennifer Buchanan / The Herald

    AquaSox batboy David Krueger congratulates catcher Mike Zunino (left) after Zunino, the Mariners’ first-round draft pick in June’s baseball draft, scored his first run as a professional in a game on July 14.

Think of your dream job. Something you have wanted to do since you were a little kid. That job you told everyone -- from the first day of kindergarten on -- that you wanted to do when you were older.
For instance, when I was growing up, I really wanted to be a fire truck. Loud sirens, speeding through streets, saving lives -- it all seemed like the perfect job.
Unfortunately, there was one, teeny tiny problem with my desired career path: I wasn't an automobile.
So, I was forced to go with Plan B, and while I don't have any flashing lights, I think I've found the next best thing: a batting helmet.
This summer I get to spend my nights -- and some afternoons -- on the baseball field as a batboy for the Everett AquaSox, one of the Class A affiliates of the Seattle Mariners. And yes, the way I see it, this does basically make me a Mariner.
It's definitely the closest I'll ever get to being a professional baseball player.
I can't imagine a better way to spend a summer, except maybe spending it in a Spanish villa with Emma Stone. But even then I'd be constantly checking up on the AquaSox and Mariners.
The best part of my job is I get paid to watch baseball. Top that, I dare you.
My second favorite part: signing autographs.
I know I'm probably making kids' baseballs less valuable, but it's just so much fun to be asked to sign something. It happens to me very rarely in my day-to-day life, usually only after I purchase something with a credit card.
Aside from those two tasks, I'm also responsible for getting water for the players, and cleaning up the dugout and clubhouses after games. I also run errands for the team, like picking up dinners and taking pitchers to the dentist.
That latter task was one of the most interesting mornings of my life. I took a pitcher and his mother -- who didn't speak very much English -- to a dentist in Bellevue for a check-up, which ended up leading to an impromptu root canal. His mother and I sat in the waiting room for a couple hours.
It was a chance for me to use all the phrases I learned in my high school Spanish class for the first time since, well, high school. By the end of the root canal we were ¡buenos amigos!
As a batboy for the AquaSox, there's a lot I get to do. I get to wear a uniform. I get to sit on the field during the game. I get to give baseballs to umpires. I even get to eat the same peanut butter and jelly sandwiches the players do before games.
However, there's one thing I can't do: I can't give you a ball or a bat.
I'm not permitted to give those items to fans, and I'm very, very sorry. I hate telling kids "no." But I'm under strict orders to chase down every ball and put it in the "used" bag.
If it were up to me, everybody would leave Everett Memorial Stadium with a ball in one hand and a bat in the other. I'd also give all fans over 21 an adult beverage, and all kids under 21 some Dippin' Dots.
Unfortunately, I don't get to run a baseball team (yet). And when I do, if I instill that philosophy, I probably won't be able to afford to run one for long.
However, I still feel bad. So here's a tip from my kid days at the AquaSox. I was able to score a few balls from someone else at the stadium. Someone who always has extra baseballs on them, and has nothing to do with them after the game.
The umpires.
This will make me immensely popular with Northwest League officials, but I know for a fact they have baseballs in their belt-bag devices, because it's my job to ensure those belt bags remain filled. So when they leave the field, run up to them and ask if they have an extra ball. They may say "no," but you have a much better chance with them than you do with the batboys.
Now, I know I've asked for a lot in this column already, but I'm going to throw in one more request. Rather than being called "batboy," I prefer the term "batman." I'm 23-years old, darn it, and I think I've earned the "man" title, although some of my friends and coworkers may disagree.
I've lobbied for the title of "batman" and, unfortunately, have been informed by more than one person that it's already been taken.
But whatever you call it, I love my job. I have so much fun being a batboy, and I'd love to do it until I'm a batman, go through a bat-midlife crisis and finally become a batgrandfather. It's quite an experience kind of being one of the boys of summer.
And who knows where this career path might take me. Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik was at the Frogs game on July 11. I like to think he was scouting me for a promotion to batboy at Class A Clinton -- the next step on the Mariners minor-league ladder -- but it's much more likely he was there to see Seattle's first-round draft pick, catcher Mike Zunino.
I learned during a recent rain delay that Zunino throws a baseball significantly better than he throws a Frisbee. (Frogs outfielder Mike Faulkner, on the other hand, who had allegedly never thrown a Frisbee before, threw a strike right to me.)
I am thoroughly enjoying my summer at Everett Memorial Stadium. I love everything from Kristi, the season-ticket holder behind me who sneaks me Rolos during games to the seemingly endless supply of sunflower seeds at my disposal. I love the smell of pine tar, and getting to play in the dirt while mudding down baseballs.
More importantly, I think it's helped me come to terms with my future. Even with modern science, I think it's unlikely I'll ever be a fire truck.
And in reality, I'll probably never get that promotion to Clinton. But that's all right.
I'm beyond happy just -- sort of -- being a Frog.
David Krueger covers high school sports for The Everett Herald. In the summer, he is a batboy for the Everett AquaSox and can be found sitting by one of the dugouts at Everett Memorial Stadium. As stated above, he cannot give you a baseball, but feel free to email him at dkrueger@heraldnet.com and he will be more than happy to help you figure out how to successfully get one on your own.
Story tags » AquaSox

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