Dominic the Batboy
Photos and Story by Gordy Jones
I met and interviewed Twins batboy Dominic Frost in 2011 when he was a rookie in the Twins’ clubhouse. His first day on the job, his co-workers decided to pull a prank on the “new kid.” There was no one at the park yet, and they sent him to the dugout to retrieve something. Someone was on top of the dugout and had planned to dump a bucket of water on him. The guy missed, and Dominic coolly kept walking and going about his business, and he has been doing so ever since. Just the other day he said to me: “I’m in my fourth season now…and I’m loving it! They treat me really good. It’s been a lot of hard work, but it’s definitely been worth it.”
Frost was hired when former batboy Adam Hanson was promoted to clubhouse attendant. The Twins recruited Dominic through the Boys and Girls Club, where he was recommended by his baseball coach, Louie. Louie told Dominic that he chose him because he is the most mature and responsible kid he’s met. That is quite a compliment coming from someone who has worked with many youngsters on a daily basis for many years.
Dominic actually found out he got the job as the new batboy on his 17th birthday. He is a very likable young man; has an infectious smile, is polite, bright, and loves for baseball. He can often be seen near the infield during batting practice, playing catch with Gardy or one of the coaches.
Batboys do much more than retrieve bats and supply the umpire with balls. A batboy arrives at Target Field around 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, helps 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. Last season we were talking and he told me, “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.”
And that’s just before and during the game. Dominic must stay a couple hours after the game to clean the dugout, and to do a few other chores.
When he was first hired, young Frost told me: “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.” Now he looks back and says, “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.” He is stronger, too. He told me how difficult it used to be to move the big, heavy coolers filled with ice and liquids. “It’s so much easier now. I’m just used to lifting them every day. It’s a lot of repetition.”
Since his rookie year, Dominic has been busy. Besides working 12 hours per day, he has graduated from high school, moved into his own apartment, studied a semester at St. Paul College, and was in a band. He had hoped to attend Georgia Perimeter College, near his mother’s home in Georgia, last fall. But when he arrived at the school, he was stunned to find out that they had canceled all of his classes owing to a lack of students. This fall he plans to attend the University of Minnesota, Morris.
As his popularity grows, he sometimes is asked for an autograph, and quite often, it is a pretty, young lass doing the asking.
I asked Dominic what he hopes to do after he completes his education. He replied with a smile: “Anything to do with sports! That’s my goal. I’d like to get into sports management, or maybe sports medicine. I know there are some physical-therapy classes I can take to get certified and be a personal trainer. Hopefully I’ll do that.” Then he corrected himself and said in a determined voice: “Not hopefully — I am going to do that!”
Dominic is a hard worker and a true member of the Twins who takes pride in his job. He once told me: “The most important part of my job starts when I arrive here and begin cleaning the players’ 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.”