Editor’s note: Patrick Armstrong works as a clubhouse attendant for the Florida Marlins in spring training and a batboy for the Marlins’ minor-leauge team, the Jupiter Hammerheads, during the regular season. TTFB is thrilled to have Patrick sharing his unique perspective about the wonderful world of baseball.
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Every kid has a dream when they are little. Some want to be doctors, others want to be like their parents and many have a dream of playing professional sports. I admit it: I was one of those kids. I thought I had a chance of playing professional baseball, but that all changed when realized I was just a slightly above-average ballplayer. This did not bring me down; it only made me try harder.
When I got into high school, I continued to play baseball for fun. I knew I wasn’t going anywhere, but I still wanted to make it to the top. I often wondered what I could do to pursue this dream. After weeks and weeks of not being able to come up with anything, I decided to attend a Palm Beach Cardinals game — they’re the single-A affiliate of St. Louis Cardinals — and this is when my life changed forever.
I got to the ballpark thinking it was going to be an ordinary game, but I was far from right. At this game, I started thinking that I could be a batboy once I realized the kids on the field were not much older than me. From there, I emailed a bunch of people wondering how I could be a batboy for one of the teams. After weeks of not hearing anything, I finally got a reply from the stadium’s general manger asking me to come in and fill out an application.
Two weeks later, I received an email asking me to be a batboy for the Jupiter Hammerheads, which is the Florida Marlins single-A affiliate. From that point on, I finished the season working for both Jupiter and Palm Beach since they share a stadium.
Then spring training came along, and I got a phone call asking if I could work in the spring for the professional teams. After two weeks of working, the Florida Marlins called and asked me to work in their clubhouse — this was a dream come true! That was two years ago. From that point on, I have been working in their clubhouse along with the Jupiter Hammerheads — and I still get to be a batboy. I may not be one of a thousand kids to play professional baseball, but I do get to work for a team, and I am only going into my junior year in high school.
It is my first week on the job, I went from just watching the game in the stands and the dugout to being in the clubhouse with the stars! Just imagine talking to Josh Johnson or Hanley Ramirez for the first time — it is mind-blowing for a kid! We’re not usually talking about baseball though, but instead everyday life, like girls and what’s for dinner that night. From this point on, I could see that these guys may seem like superstars, but they are more like me and you — doing the same activities and going to work everyday.
I look forward to sharing my batboy experiences with you!