In 1992, if you were waiting to check out at the grocery store you may have been struck by a news story about a half-bat, half-human child found in a West Virginia cave. This front-page news, which came with the shocking headline "Bat Child Found in Cave" was only the beginning.
This child would lead quite the life. He repeatedly was captured by the FBI but always managed to escape. He bit a child and stole a car. Also, he met Elvis, led the U.S. Army into battle and bit Santa Claus. Huh?
OK, so this is the story of Bat Boy, the de facto mascot of supermarket tabloid parody the Weekly World News. He's both a hoax and a pop-culture icon, Bigfoot with an ironic edge. Bat Boy was cooked up by Weekly World News editor Dick Kulpa—who would go on to run Mad Magazine competitor Cracked—and writer Bob Lind. In fact, Bat Boy even got his own off-Broadway musical fittingly titled "Bat Boy: The Musical." From a cave in West Virginia to the heart of New York City? Not a bad run.
However, Bat Boy isn't the only "bat boy" in the world, and we aren't talking about some aged-down version of Batman. We're talking about the bat boys you see at Major League Baseball games. Hey, we bet back in the day some bat boys also met Elvis or possibly bit Santa Claus.
What does a MLB bat boy do? And how much money do they make? Here's the shocking truth they don't want you to know! You can read all about it in FanBuzz magazine you can find in the checkout line at your local grocery store! Or, you know, just read about it right here, right now.
What Do Bat Boys Do?
The tasks of a bat boy go way beyond baseball bats. Before the game they have to get the dugout set up. You know those big containers of sunflower seeds and gum you see in dugouts? Bat boys set those up. They do the same thing for the bullpens.
During the game they hand players new bats if the hitter breaks theirs. They also shag some foul balls (the ones that don't get near the ball boys or ball girls) and if a player drops an arm guard en route to first base they have to pick it up. Anything that helps players out—doing laundry, refilling coolers, cleaning cleats—bat boys pitch in to do.
Then, after the game, they have to clean up the dugout and also the clubhouse. It's a lot of work, but is it a lot of pay?
MLB Bat Boy Salary
In order to be a bat boy you have to know baseball at least a bit, and you have to be in physical shape to the degree you can set up and then clean up the dugout and the clubhouse. Additionally, a bat boy has to be at least 14 years old.
This was not always the case. Back in the day, San Francisco Giants manager Dusty Baker's tiny young child Darren was the team's bat boy (no idea how he got that job).
However, because he was a little kid he lacked awareness, during the 2002 World Series he rushed out to collect Kenny Lofton's bat. The problem was that both J.T. Snow and David Bell were headed home. Snow realized what was happening and was able to grab Darren and pull him out of the way before he was flattened by Bell.
At this point, MLB realized that they needed to install an age requirement for the position.
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That being said, all that work doesn't necessarily yield great pay. Most bat boys make around $9 or $10 an hour. Also, since they only work home games, they only get 81 days of work each year.
To make things worse, they work pretty crazy hours. According to one Washington Nationals bat boy on Youtube, bat boys arrive to the stadium as early as 3 p.m. ET and don't leave until two hours after the game ends. That can be around midnight or even later depending how long the game lasts.
"Bat boys do not just show up at game time and work the game and leave. There are so many other things that we do, because we're pretty much clubhouse assistants," he said.
Nobody is making a good living as a bat boy, which is probably another reason the job is largely done by teenagers, presumably who just love baseball and want to be around the game.
Bat boys do a lot of work for not a lot of pay, but the job has perks. And maybe someday one of those perks will be the team of Laurence O'Keefe, Brian Flemming, and Keythe Farley making a music about a bat boy, just as they did for Bat Boy.
Editor's Note: FanBuzz does not have an actual grocery store tabloid magazine...yet.
MORE: Minor League Baseball Player Salaries Are Embarrassingly Low
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