Caught looking: Tigers new bat boy taken by old ball trick Braeden Ward, 18, the bat boy for the Detroit Tigers, poses for a photo after a spring training baseball game against the New York Mets in Lakeland, Fla., Monday, March 14, 2016. (AP Photo/Ben Walker/Brynn Anderson)
Caught looking: Tigers new bat boy taken by old ball trick
Lexile

This rookie got caught looking.
 
Eager to do well, Braeden Ward reported to the Detroit Tigers to work his first day of spring training as a bat boy, and it didn't take long for the college freshman to fall prey to a clubhouse prank that's been around forever.
 
"They asked me to get the key to the batter's box," he said in Lakeland, Florida.
 
Despite his best efforts - oh, and plenty of help from the Tigers, New York Mets manager Terry Collins and the umpires - the 18-year-old nicknamed "Bugsy" never got it locked down.
 
"The oldest trick in baseball," Ward said, laughing, "yes, sir, they got me good."
 
He won't be the last one, for sure, because every year, stories grow about teams sending earnest, young employees on searches for nonexistent ballpark items as a playful rite of passage.
 
Mets assistant general manager John Ricco recalled an intern at Citi Field last season who was dispatched to retrieve the left-handed fungo bats.
 
"They went to 15 different departments and never did find them," Ricco said. "It's a tradition in the game, it's fun, but the key to batter's box - that's the gold standard."
 
This gag played out at the Tigers' spring training park, fittingly named Joker Marchant Stadium in honor of a local official.
 
Ward's quest began when Detroit third base coach Dave Clark said he needed the key and suggested the umpires might have it. Wearing his Tigers uniform and a batting helmet, Ward knocked on the door at the umps' locker room and politely asked.
 
Veteran umpire Bob Davidson quickly sensed what was going on.
 
"First day?" he inquired.
 
Having seen this routine before, Davidson pointed the Florida Southern College student toward Collins, and when Ward left, the ump deadpanned: "He might be back for the box of curveballs, too."
 
Ward then went over to the Mets' locker room and told a clubhouse worker why he needed to see Collins. The skipper is no stranger to these sort of shenanigans, either.
 
"He tapped me on the chest and said, 'Don't worry, son, you'll find it,'" Ward said.
 
Eventually, a staff member in the Tigers' clubhouse clued in Ward.
 
"I can't believe I fell for it," a smiling Ward said. "I've played baseball my whole life (and) I played tricks like that on the freshmen in high school, but this time, yup, they got me."

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CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
Why doesn't the batter's box have a key?
Write your answers in the comments section below


COMMENTS (14)
  • rowens-cel
    3/23/2016 - 09:53 a.m.

    The batter's box doesn't have a key because it doesn't get locked. The new bat boy didn't know that, and it's a tradition to send them to go look for the key. Both teams are in on it, so he was confused for a while.

  • kalebs1-lam
    4/19/2016 - 02:31 p.m.

    I think it is funny that the bat boy fell for the prank. He has played baseball in high school he should know there is no key to the batter's box because it is never locked.

  • deangelod-pay
    4/25/2016 - 10:15 a.m.

    The batter's box does not need a key, because that is where the batter goes to hit the ball the pitcher is throwing.

  • barringtond-pay
    4/25/2016 - 10:17 a.m.

    There no key to the batter box cause the batter box where they player stand during the game waiting on pitcher to pitch the ball.

  • andreww2-wal
    4/29/2016 - 08:53 a.m.

    The batters box doesn't have a key because it can't be locked. It is literally a box of chalk on both sides of home plate that just indicates where the batter needs to stand when he is up to bat. I can't believe he fell for that!

  • lucianoi-wal
    4/29/2016 - 09:45 a.m.

    The batter's box doesn't have a key because there are no doors to a batters box. There is only a white chalk outline on the ground. You do not need a key to step into the batter's box.

  • briannec-ste
    4/30/2016 - 03:01 p.m.

    That is a funny thing to do to someone, but I don't understand who would fall for it, but clearly people have. For someone who said that they have been playing their whole life you would think they would know that there is no key to the batter's box.

  • hannaha-edg
    6/09/2016 - 03:43 p.m.

    because it doesnt lock

  • alexb-edg
    6/09/2016 - 03:45 p.m.

    hat is a funny thing to do to someone, but I don't understand who would fall for it, but clearly people have. For someone who said that they have been playing their whole life you would think they would know that there is no key to the batter's box.

  • izaacb-edg
    6/09/2016 - 03:50 p.m.

    it is not supposed to be locked

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