BAT BOY by Matthew McGough


My True Life Adventures Coming of Age with the New York Yankees
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A winsome little reminiscence of two years spent at the Bronx Zoo.

McGough had no connections to the New York Yankees organization when he sat down and wrote them for a job as batboy as he was about to enter his junior year in high school. But out of the blue he got the job, a plum for any young Yankees fan. Well, a plum until he found himself swabbing filthy sinks, shining shoes, gathering up dirty laundry, and lugging overstuffed trash bags leaking tobacco juice to the Dumpster. Still, it was a small price to pay for getting to know so many of his heroes, and most of them were real bricks to McGough, making him welcome and making him feel like a necessary cog in the great machine. Now a 29-year-old lawyer, the author writes with polish but manages to maintain a tone of innocence and awe in his narrative. Naturally, not all his time was spent rubbing shoulders with the players in the dugout, but a handful of stories relate adventures only someone in McGough’s unique position could experience. He got to drive a player’s car home from a Florida training camp and had amusingly thwarted encounters with college girls on spring break. He was ensnared in a pyramid scheme trying to cash in on box seats. He went on a couple of chaste dates with girls in the stands, lured by the pinstripes. By his second year, McGough was getting dumber rather than wiser. He concocted a scam to trade phony player autographs for CDs, and it backfired (though he didn’t get burned). Anyone who ever harbored an unmitigated distaste for the Yankees front office will be somewhat mollified by learning that the Yankee Foundation gave the author a critical $10,000 scholarship to attend Williams College.

Only a kid on the loose in a candy store would display more sheer joy than McGough at his great good luck.

Pub Date: May 10th, 2005
ISBN: 0-385-51020-9
Page count: 240pp
Publisher: Doubleday
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1st, 2005