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. 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. Every year, stories grow about teams sending earnest, young employees on searches for nonexistent ballpark items. It's 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. 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. 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 (175)
  • calebb-nic
    3/22/2016 - 08:07 a.m.

    The batter box doesn't have a key because the box is where the players hit the ball during the game. Also the box doesn't need a key. Finally the box is a rectangle a couple inches away from home plate.

    • reaganb-tar
      5/03/2016 - 10:06 a.m.

      I agree because if they have a key someone could open it at the wrong time and get hit with the ball!

    • kailam-tar
      5/05/2016 - 02:13 p.m.

      i agree it would be easier to just open it then have to use a key

  • caymani-hol
    3/22/2016 - 12:06 p.m.

    I think it's good that he kept a sense of humor during it. I think because they played the trick on him they will have a close bond.

  • ben0424-yyca-byo
    3/22/2016 - 03:26 p.m.

    It is funny that Braedon fell for the trick. He played baseball for most of his life. So, he should know that there are no batter's box key. He also has been playing tricks on high school freshman, so he should know when there is a prank. This seems like life's revenge for his pranks.
    Critical Thinking Question Answer: The batter's box doesn't have a key, because it was only a prank that Braedon fell for.

    • emilyn-tar
      5/03/2016 - 10:52 a.m.

      Braedon should know that there was not a key, he has been playing baseball his whole life.

  • blakes-kut
    3/22/2016 - 03:53 p.m.

    Its not a real box its IMAGINARY!!!!!!! A FIGURE OF SPEACH NOT A REAL BOX!!!But at the same time poor ward at least he found it amusing like the rest of us.I am surprised they would actually do it and that he fell for it.Its ok we all have our moments, Go Tigers.

    • emilyn-tar
      5/03/2016 - 10:53 a.m.

      That's what I'm sayin'.

    • cambridgec-tar
      5/03/2016 - 03:13 p.m.

      I totaly agree. I think the box does not have a key because why does it even need one?

  • devong-kut
    3/22/2016 - 05:28 p.m.

    That is funny how they pranked him but why prank the new guy? And also I cant believe he fell for it.

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