Ever wonder what an MLB bat boy does and how exactly he got there? Well wonder no more! I sat down with my good friend Anthony Pennella, who happens to have been the bat boy for the New York Mets for many years. He shared with me some great stories and also some pretty bold predictions for the 2016 season. Check out my interview below!
1) What is a common misconception about being a bat boy?
The biggest misconception of being a bat boy is that people think that you are just a “bat boy”; a person that is just in uniform sitting on the field for the game with no prior or post game responsibilities, which is definitely an appropriate thought because of the title. However, not many people know the actual full job of a bat boy. To be honest, before I became one, I didn’t know anything about the job besides getting to sit on the field in full uniform.
2) What is your favorite memory from being a part of the Mets?
There have been so many amazing things that I have witnessed and have gotten to be apart of. But still to this day, Johan Santana’s no hitter was my favorite memory. Just everything about that day was special. There is no better view than a crowd jumping up and down going insane and team doing the same thing because history was made. I remember having chills, and having that feeling of nervousness in my stomach from the 7th inning of that game up until the last pitch. I remember with two outs in the 9th, I glanced down at Jimmy Voigt (another bat boy) and we just knew; we knew that we were on the field for the first New York Mets no hitter. Then strike three happened! My glove went flying in the air, my arms rose to the sky, and I started running towards home plate. It kinda felt like it was fake, almost like a movie. Jimmy and I met near the dugout and started jumping up and down like we had just won the World Series. When we entered the dugout and clubhouse, I was in awe. Johan made a speech in the clubhouse that night and it was truly an honor to be able to be inside of that clubhouse along with the team, the coaching staff, and the rest of my co-workers to hear what Johan had to say live.
3) Day-to-day what were your responsibilities?
My day-to-day responsibilities were to get to the ballpark hours before the game. I would do the daily routines around the clubhouse. I collected whatever laundry there was from guys who got to the stadium before me, folded towels, and hung up the uniforms that were clean from the night before. We would wash and dry them after games, so when we come in the next day they would be ready to hang into their respective lockers. As the day would go on, if players, coaches, front office or co-workers would need anything, I would help take care of it. For example, Omar Miniya needed his car washed so I took it to get it done or Bobby Parnell asked me to get him a video game. Then the day would move forward I would start setting up the bullpen with gum, seeds, and towels. Usually between 2-4 o’clock I would sometimes go bring mail down to the mailroom and collect whatever mail was for the clubhouse. Jimmy and I would set up the dugout with seeds, gum, towels, the bats and helmets, and batting gloves. Also during batting practice I went outside to do the bucket and shag fly balls. That was my favorite part of the day. I would work the game and my responsibility during the game was to warm up our right fielder. After the game ended, my responsibility would be to head to the bullpen and put away everything and clean up the clubhouse.
4) How did you become a bat boy?
In high school I had a part time job at an embroidery shop. The name of the place was “STITCHES” and a really good friend of mine, Russ Gompers, owned it. Russ had an account with the Mets, which included making uniforms for players and coaches and whatever the Mets needed embroidered. One day I got a phone call from Russ saying “Reddy where are you?” I happened to be driving back from Myrtle Beach, but he told me that the Mets needed two bat boys for that night’s game. He asked me if I could make it and of course I said yes. Russ gave me the information, like whom I would be meeting at the stadium and where to go. I actually was still five hours away from Queens at that point. The rest is history.
5) What is the craziest thing that you’ve witnessed during your time with the Mets?
The craziest thing that I have witnessed was the 2013 Home Run Derby and AllStar Game. The sights of the stadium were unbelievable. For the home run derby I sat on the field 60 feet from home plate, so I had a front row seat for all the action. Witnessing David Wright smash homers in his home ballpark was amazing. Plus watching other players up close was a real treat. The crowd gave me chills. The electricity in that stadium gave me goose bumps. It was something really special to be apart of. I got to witness MLB’s best dish it out for 9 innings. Wearing the same uniform as the starting pitcher for the National league and starting third baseman was surreal. A fan actually ran on the field during the game, a security guard have him a James Harrison type of tackle and the crowd erupted. That was really funny to watch.
6) Have you ever made a crazy play yourself?
There are a few plays that I think made television. One actually made Sports Center’s Top 10 Plays. It was the bottom of the 9th and Daniel Murphy was at bat.
He hit a line drive that started out fair, but cut towards the foul line. It all happened so fast, but I remember looking at the ball saying I have a play at this. My only chance was to leap up and snag it, which thankfully I did. I ended up coming down, hitting the legs of my stool, and falling on my bum haha. But the ball was in my glove!
7) Any predictions for this season?
My prediction for this season is 92 wins. I say we win the division at 92-70. Syndergaard will win NL Cy Young and that you will see us back in the World Series. I predict we will win in 6 games. Travis d’Arnaud wins the World Series MVP for his offensive breakout in the series.