Photos and Story by Gordy Jones
When I last interviewed Twins batboy Dominic Frost, it was 2011 and he was a rookie in the Twins’ clubhouse. Former batboy Adam Hanson had just been promoted to clubhouse attendant. I remember asking then-17-year-old Dominic how he landed such a cool job. He explained that the Twins recruited candidates through the Boys and Girls Club, where he was recommended by his baseball coach, interviewed, and was hired. He is a very likable young man; has an infectious smile, is polite, bright, and has a love for baseball. He can often be seen near the infield playing catch with Gardy or one of the coaches.
Batboys do much more than retrieve bats and supply the umpire with balls. A batboy may arrive at Target Field at noon for a 7 p.m. game. He cleans the bathrooms, shines the players’ shoes, helps attendants with laundry, sets the table for team meals, runs errands, help players with computer needs, puts bats and helmets in the dugout before the game, and must be ready and dressed in game uniform to supply the umpire with balls at home plate during the pregame ground-rules meeting. Then he can finally retreat to his chair to watch the game and retrieve bats and foul balls. He also replenishes the home plate umpire’s supply of balls. I was curious if he had a set time when to do this, and Dominic said, “I know the umpire likes to have about six balls at a time. So I just watch, and when it’s time, I run out and give him three, four, five, or whatever he needs. We go through between 100 and 150 balls per game. There are a lot of foul balls, and balls taken out of play.”
I asked Dominic if he knew what he was getting himself into when he accepted this job. Most of the
batboy’s work is not visible to the average fan. He laughed and said, “I came to the ball park thinking I’d pick up the bats, chase a few balls, and help out a little. When I got here, I was surprised at all of our duties. At first it took me too long to get everything done. But then I worked hard, and got used to it, and now I’m faster and can do a pretty good job.” Actually, two years after he made that statement, I frequently hear players and coaches rave about Dominic and the fine job that he does.
The batboys usually work all of the home games, and sometimes one road trip per season. The Twins supply a batboy and attendant to the visitors’ clubhouse and dugout, as do the hosting teams for the Twins when they are on the road.
I asked Dominic if it was difficult juggling his outside activities and being a batboy. He just smiled coolly and said, “I get it done.”
Since his rookie year, Dominic has graduated from high school, moved into his own apartment, studied a semester at St. Paul College, and been accepted at Georgia Perimeter College, near where his mother now lives. While in school, he plans to play basketball and football.
I told him it sounds as though he’s been pretty busy. He said: “Yeah, and lately I have been doing some music stuff. I have a group called A Cooler Unit, or ACU. We have three rappers, and I’m the lead singer for the group. Then we have a couple guys who make beats for us. Yeah, it’s real nice. We shot a video a few weeks ago!”
I asked him if school will affect his job with the Twins, or vice versa. “No, I’ve arranged to start after the season. My mom moved down there two weeks ago. I’ll want to get down there and make sure that she’s all right. For many years she made sure I was all right, and never made it seem like it was a struggle. She’s a strong woman!”
The conversation turned back to his job. I asked him how long he stays at the park after the game, and he said: “A couple of hours. I have to clean out the dugout, then clean and restock the coolers. But the most important part of my job starts when I arrive here and begin cleaning their cleats. I feel if I do my part and make these guys look their best, they’ll have a better chance to play their best.”