Being an MLB bat boy is a job that very few people get to experience, and it is more important than most people probably think it is. Bat boys have several tasks to do that go beyond what the title of “bat boy” would suggest. So exactly what does a ball boy do at Major League Baseball games, and how much does the position pay? Let’s explore the role of a bat boy at baseball games.
How do you become an MLB bat boy?
Teams post vacant bat boy positions on their websites, but it helps to have a “connection” with someone on the inside if you want to have a realistic at getting the job. There are only 60 bat boy jobs available across MLB, and the teams get lots of applications for them.
To be considered, you must be at least 14 years old and in decent physical condition. And while the title bat boy suggests you must be a kid, there are college-age bat boys in the league, and even some in their late 20s.
And it obviously helps to know about baseball because bat boys have to pay close attention to the game, and they often notice things that the average fan wouldn’t. Bat boys don’t travel with the team to road games, so it is the home team’s responsibility to provide a bat boy for the visiting team, in addition to their own.
What does a bat boy do?
A bat boy has a wide variety of duties that can include such mundane tasks as doing laundry in the clubhouse or getting the general manager’s car washed. The day begins hours before the scheduled first pitch because he is responsible for setting everything up in the dugout, from water and towels to seeds and gum.
He then sets up the bullpen as well. During batting practice, the bat boy collects balls that the outfielders shag in a bucket so that they can be delivered to whoever is throwing batting practice that day. After that, he takes out the garbage and restocks the clubhouse refrigerator. Once the game starts, the bat boy’s tasks become what most people are accustomed to seeing them do. That includes fetching foul balls, collecting arm and shin guards after players’ at-bats, and replacing broken bats.
What about the ball boy?
The ball boy is the person you see sitting on a stool down each foul line during the game. Unlike with the bat boy, the ball boy’s title is fairly descriptive of what the job involves — catching foul balls that go down the line — though the “boy” part of the title isn’t accurate because a ball boy can be male or female and can be an adult, as some teams use elderly ball boys.
Ball boys aren’t as big of a part of the game as bat boys, but they sometimes get featured on a game broadcast for making a good play, or for making a not-so-good play when the ball heads toward them. The one time a ball boy doesn’t want to be highlighted during the game is if he or she accidentally touches a fair ball that is still in play.
How much does a bat boy make?
Everyone always wants to know how much jobs pay. In the case of a bat boy, not a whole lot. According to Glassdoor, the Braves pay their bat boy an hourly rate ranging from $9 to $10 per hour. That equates to an average annual salary of $19,000 to $20,000.
But that would be for a full-time job, working 40 hours a week, 52 weeks a year. Bat boys obviously don’t work nearly that much. Remember, they only work home games. That works out to 81 days a year, more if the team makes the postseason.