So, kid, you want to be a New York Yankees batboy? Hang out with Derek Jeter? Ride in the parades? Great. But, first, maybe you'd better take a look at a batboy's typical day.
2 p.m.—Pete Shalhoub, 17, shows up for a 7:05 game and starts setting up the dugout. Sure, most of the players won't be arriving for at least two hours, but so what? Pete'll be here two hours after the players have left, too.
You think batboys still only run out and get Johnny Blanchard's bat? Get real. Pete and the six other Yankees batboys-clubhouse boys are valets, cabbies, maids, deliverymen, shrinks and short-order cooks. And they're not 12 years old anymore. They're all 16 and older because the average sixth-grader doesn't do well when he's also working 75-hour weeks.
Some nights Pete has to show up at 3 in the morning to help unload the road-trip truck, do laundry and set up players' lockers. That takes four hours. Then he goes straight to high school in Jersey City, and then right back to the Stadium, where he'll work until about 1 a.m., go to bed at 2 and get up again at 6 the next morning to go to class.
"It's like I tell him," says Joe Lee, another member of the crew. "In this job you've got to sleep twice as fast."
3:45 p.m.—One of Pete's 1,000 jobs is mixing Gatorade for the dugout. That can be dangerous. A few years ago former visiting team batboy Joe Rocchio made green, not knowing volcanic Cleveland Indians star Albert Belle drank only red. Belle spit it out, knocked the jug over in the dugout, and Joe had to clean it up. Glamorous job, no?
4 p.m.—When players arrive, batboys start hopping. They're each player's little Jeeves. "Anything they ask for, they pretty much get," says Pete. That includes everything from, "Go get my wife a birthday present" to "Go get my brother-in-law at the airport." From going to a player's home to pack his bags to making dinner reservations. One player asked Lee to go to the ballpark every day during a 12-day road trip and idle his car for a half hour. "Keeps the engine clean," the player said.
Of course, there are rewards. When Jason Giambi was with Oakland, he sent an As batboy to McDonald's. Giambi got three hits that day, so he kept sending the kid for the rest of the season. When Giambi won the MVP, he tipped him $5,000.
4:30 p.m.—A new kid shows up, the winner of a contest to be a batboy for a day. He's lucky he doesn't get the initiation Craig Postolowski got. To start, Jeter sent him off to look for the key to the batter's box. Then Joe Torre told him to go get the knuckleballs ready. Then Don Zimmer needed the lefthanded fungo bat. Finally, when Bernie Williams asked him to get a bucket of steam from the shower to clean home plate, he realized he'd been had.
5:45 p.m.—It's Pete's day to shag flies in the outfield and run the balls back to the batting practice pitcher. This is a gas. There's other cool stuff too. Some nights the clubhouse is lousy with celebs. You get to be in the team photo. And players have been known to lend batboys their sweet sleds for the prom. Of course, two years ago Manny Alexander of the Boston Red Sox lent his car to a batboy. Problem is, the kid got pulled over and police found steroids in it. Oops. Always check the glove compartment, Kid.