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. 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 (18)
  • matildav-nic
    3/22/2016 - 11:57 a.m.

    Because there was no key. They played a trick on him because he was new. They also will be tricking him with the box of curved balls.

  • kalebs-2-nic
    3/22/2016 - 12:02 p.m.

    Because the batter's box is on the field and its not even a real box. I used to play baseball but now i just sorta lost interest after i started having back problems and stuff. My dad loves baseball and he and my best friend's dad was my coach up until i stopped. My best friend and i always played baseball together no matter what because our dads were always the coach.

  • Eric0221-YYCA
    3/22/2016 - 02:11 p.m.

    The Tigers' new bat boy might have gotten taken to old ball trick which he might have been getting some amusement which he had been tricked that there is something that they needed but he would always fall for it. The bat boy might have been always been tricked by other people in his team which he would always be falling for it because he would always be getting tricked by his friends. The people in the Tigers might have been getting the bat boy to always get tricked which he would be seeing that he would always be falling for the trick that he had been asked for something to get. People in the Tigers might have been getting the bat boy to keep on getting tricked because he might have been thinking that they would need something but they don't have it.
    Critical Thinking Question: Why doesn't the batter's box have a key?
    Answer: I know that there is no key to the batter's box because the batter's box only needs to be open without a key to open the batter's box.

  • Steve0620-yyca
    3/22/2016 - 07:58 p.m.

    I didn't know that people played tricks on each other. A man named Braeden Ward went to the Detroit Tigers to do his first day of spring training. The people played a prank on Braeden Ward. They told him to go look for a key to the batter's box. Braeden went around to different people and looked for the key but couldn't find it. The people in the park knew about this trick because it has been around for many years and has been played on many people. The people in the park like the umpires played on and fooled Braeden. Later, Braeden found out about the trick and was shocked but smiled. He played tricks like that to other people but now it was played on him. What goes around comes around.
    The batter's box doesn't have a key because it doesn't exist. The people were just playing a trick on him.

  • aidano-1-bar
    3/23/2016 - 04:11 p.m.

    The batters box did not have a key because the tigers players were joking by saying that there was an actual box that needed a key to be unlocked. In all reality, the batters box is a 2D rectangle on the dirt where the player whom is up to bat is supposed to stand. I found this article interesting because a bat-boy would usually be able to figure a baseball related joke out but "the 18-year-old nicknamed "Bugsy" never got it locked down."

  • jahir-orv
    3/23/2016 - 06:16 p.m.

    I feel like it's some sort of form of initiation.

  • oliviam-6-bar
    3/23/2016 - 09:41 p.m.

    The batter's box does not have a key because it is made up. Young Ward fell for the prank by the "Tigers, New York Mets manager Terry Collins." It was to find an imaginary key. Ward said "The oldest trick in baseball," Ward said, laughing. "Yes, sir, they got me good."

  • reidi-4-bar
    3/24/2016 - 06:08 p.m.

    The Detroit tigers sent their bat boy on a hunt for a key that did not exist. It is the oldest trick in the book in baseball, there are commonly stories about players sending nervous people on searches for things that dont exist. I think it is cool that there is still pranks that are in good fun, not ment to harm people

  • jackw-4-bar
    3/25/2016 - 10:18 a.m.

    There is no key for the batter's box because batter's box is on the field it is not really a box. This article interested me because I'll play freshman baseball next year and I don't want to get pranked.

  • shanej-lam
    4/19/2016 - 10:45 a.m.

    The batter's box is the white lining in chalk to the left and right side of home plate on the baseball field. That is where the batter stands when up to bat, waiting for the pitcher to pitch the ball so he can crank it.

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