I just finished reading BAT BOY – My True Life Adventures Coming of Age with the New York Yankees by Matthew McGough. This is a new release – it just came out on May 10, 2005. And, it retails for $22.95.
In a nutshell, this is the story of Matt “Spider” McGough who, as 16-year-old, pulled off what would seem like the impossible. McGough wrote letters to the New York Yankees, seeking a job as a bat boy for the team, and his request was granted. Landing this gig was a major accomplishment since bat boy positions are never filled via the route used by McGough – in just about every case, you have to “know someone” (as in being the son, grandson or nephew to a major Yankees supplier or the like) to get this type of position.
McGough served as a Yankees bat boy for the 1992 and 1993 seasons. (Also, later during the 1998 post-season, he was brought back to help out around the clubhouse – a short and sweet assignment that paid off with Matt being able to ride on a float in the World Championship tickertape parade that followed the World Series.)
This book is a wonderful story about the long hours, hard work, and personal sacrifice that is required by a bat boy in exchange for an incredible experience which leads to opportunities and perks that forge memories to last a lifetime.
BAT BOY is quick read although it is replete with fantastic stories that will make you want to run and tell someone what you just found out after reading it. In fact, when you are done reading this book, you find yourself wishing that it had not ended – so that you could continue your travel down the stream of enjoyment that it provides you.
McGough provides the reader with unlimited and revealing insights to the workings of the Yankees organization, Yankee Stadium, and baseball clubhouses in general. There are also terrific stories about some of the players with whom Matt grew close to as a bat boy – such as Jim Abbott, Scott Kamieniecki, Don Mattingly, Matt Nokes, and Bernie Williams (just to name a few).
BAT BOY includes tales about player and team generosities, clubhouse pranks, late night Yankees Stadium happenings, road trips, autograph high jinks, and personal mishaps, etc., that are also very compelling. (Although, one anecdote of misfortune detailing a “pyramid scheme” that McGough was pulled into via some Yankee Stadium connections did tend to run perhaps twice as long as necessary in my opinion. But, this one small item here is the only “knock” on this book for me. And, it is very small and therefore an inconsequential nitpick.)
In his storytelling, McGough excels at making you feel as if you are in the exact time and place that he is describing. Additionally, as you read BAT BOY, you cannot help but finding yourself liking both Matt and his family.
In summary, BAT BOY is a book that I recommend for any and all baseball fans. For Yankees fans, it is a “must read” and an essential for your Yankees baseball library.