For over 100 years, batboys and batgirls have been essential to the flow of baseball.
Every team from the old-school franchises of the 1800s to the modern New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox used them. In one of the strangest suspensions in MLB history, a Florida Marlins batboy once earned a week-long suspension.
The batboy in question didn’t slack off at his job or sell used equipment on eBay. The suspension actually came from drinking milk on the job.
Batboys play a vital role in baseball
Batboys are essentially mini versions of equipment managers. They help out with equipment — specifically carrying the bats — and prepare baseballs for that night’s game.
Batboys and batgirls hold other roles, too. The job includes restocking refrigerators in the clubhouse and setting up water, seeds, and gum in the dugout.
They are also responsible for cleaning cleats, taking out garbage, and in some cases, handling autographs.
Although the experience includes plenty of hard work, many batboys look back fondly on their jobs.
Former Yankees batboy Matthew McGough even wrote a memoir in 2007 titled Bat Boy: Coming of Age with the New York Yankees.
MLB players and teams often prank them
The life of a batboy is a challenging one in terms of work and finances.
Veteran players will often prank the batboys in strange and unusual ways. The Detroit Tigers, for example, sent Braeden Ward on a chase for the “key to the batter’s box” in March 2016.
Little did Ward realize that there is no key to the batter’s box.
The Florida Marlins once suspended a batboy for drinking milk
All of this backstory begs the question: Why did the Florida Marlins — now the Miami Marlins — suspend a batboy for drinking milk?
Former Marlins pitcher Brad Penny returned to Florida with the Los Angeles Dodgers in August 2005. Penny offered the Marlins’ batboy $500 if he could drink a gallon of milk in less than an hour without throwing up.
The good news? The batboy drank the milk and didn’t throw up. The bad news? He didn’t win the dare or the $500 because he didn’t finish the milk in the allotted time.
The worse news? The Marlins suspended the unnamed batboy six games, or an entire homestand, for the dare.
Brad Penny ripped the Marlins for the suspension and how they handled the situation, according to ESPN.
“It’s kind of ridiculous that you get a 10-game suspension for steroids and a six-game suspension for milk. It’s ridiculous that they worry about stuff like that.
“It shows they [the Marlins organization] don’t know anything about the game. That kind of stuff goes on everywhere. It didn’t affect the way he worked, the way he did his job.”
Florida went 3-3 on the homestand without the unnamed batboy.
Perhaps more importantly, batboys across the country learned a valuable lesson: The Marlins don’t take kindly to milk drinking, even if the prize is $500.