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St. Pete Man Pressed Into Duty as Emergency Bat Boy for Rays

St. Petersburg’s Gus Grooms served as an emergency bat boy for the Tampa Bay Rays when they hosted the San Francisco Giants at Tropicana Field yesterday.

The 68-year-old from Kalamazoo, Michigan, filled in for 14-year-old Bobby Savoy III, who was unavailable due to a severe case of Bubble Guts and accompanying Squirts. 

A little-known rule in Major League Baseball allows teams to appoint a regular citizen as an emergency bat boy in extreme cases. All teams employ someone to serve this function, although it is rarely utilized. 

Grooms served as a bat boy for Grand Valley State College many years ago and also for a Pinellas County recreation league softball team about 15 years ago.

“Oh sure, I have experience, but this is the big leagues! I never dreamed I’d make it to The Show,” he said. “I was so nervous when I got the phone call yesterday morning and had butterflies all day.

“I just wanted to not embarrass myself out there!” he chuckled.

His big moment came in the fifth inning when San Francisco’s Mike Yastrzemski hit a foul ground ball up the right field line toward the Rays bullpen. Grooms got in front of it and the ball jumped up and hit him in the groin, a situation compounded by the fact that Grooms wasn’t wearing a cup because he doesn’t have one.

The Rays bullpen showed appreciation for Grooms on his special day by laughing hysterically and then treating him to a Budweiser when the game was over. 

Clark Brooks

About Clark Brooks

Senior Supreme Executive Premium Content Editor for Tampa News Force. Comedian, writer and ordained minister. Twitter: @ClarkBrooks | Instagram:@ClarkBrooks54