Most of us have dreamed of sitting in the dugout with our favorite baseball team, and at sixteen Matt McGough was no different. A few months after sending a blind application letter to George Steinbrenner, on Opening Day 1992 Matt found himself walking into the legendary Yankee clubhouse. There, amid the chaos and excitement, he was greeted by none other than his idol Don Mattingly — who promptly played a prank on him.Thus began two years of adventures and misadventures, from being set up on a date by the bullpen to playing blackjack on the team plane to studying for an exam at 3 am in Yankee Stadium. Through these often hilarious experiences, and especially through his friendships with the ballplayers, Matt learned priceless lessons about honor, responsibility, and the importance of believing in oneself. A magical tale of what happens to a young man when his fondest dream comes true, Bat Boy wonderfully evokes that twilight time just before adulthood, ripe with possibility, foolishness, and hard-won knowledge.
The author, who spent two seasons with the Yankees when he was a high school student in the early 1990s, is evenhanded in describing the job's ups (hanging around the players) and downs (doing menial chores like cleaning sinks and polishing baseball spikes, and putting up with the players' egos). McGough, now a Fordham Law School graduate, chooses to dwell on the positives and tells his story without too much fawning over or dish on the players. He loved getting paid cash tips, meeting girls and becoming famous in a minor way by association. But he also had to deal with outsiders who sought to gain an "in" with players like Don Mattingly and bigwigs like George Steinbrenner by cozying up to peripheral personnel like McGough and other clubhouse workers. The teenager tried to balance all this glamour with a hectic school life, which, naturally, wasn't always easy, much to the chagrin of his parents and teachers. Since Yankee policy dictates that bat boys can work a maximum of two years, McGough matured from "rookie" to old hand in a short time, losing a degree of innocence as he learned how to take advantage of his "veteran" status, which he describes in honest and self-effacing terms.
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Bat Boy delivers
This is a must read for any Yankees fan growing up in the 90's! The story provides a rare glimpse into the workings of The House That Ruth Built, while also showcasing the magic that is baseball. Thank you Mr. McGough for sharing your experiences with us.