SYCAMORE – Nicolas Brauer will have a unique experience to discuss when he enters third grade and is asked, “What did you during your summer vacation?”
Brauer, 8, is bat boy for the Rockford Rivets, a team of college players in the Northwoods League.
His first bat boy experience was in April with the Wright State Raiders in Dayton, Ohio. Next spring, he will be the bat boy for the North Central Cardinals in Naperville.
Brauer also plays baseball himself, and his favorite positions are pitcher, catcher and first baseman. His team, the Sycamore River Bandits, won this year’s Futures League Championships. Brauer caught the final out in the championship game.
Brauer met with MidWeek reporter Katrina Milton to discuss his bat boy experiences, his love of baseball and his goals for the future.
Milton: What are some of your roles as bat boy?
Brauer: I run out and give the umpire baseballs when he needs them and I get the bats after each Rivets player bats. During batting practice, I run and get the balls they hit. I think that being bat boy is fun and interesting.
Milton: What are some things that you learned this summer?
Brauer: I get to know what college the players are from, learn their names and learn more about baseball from them. It’s fun to watch them and see what they’re doing. I also like to play catch with them. One player, Zach Watson, was in the college world series with [Louisiana State University,] and he hit a grand slam that game.
Milton: What do you like the most about being bat boy?
Brauer: I like it because I get to be part of the team. I do what the players do. I get to stretch and play catch with them, get baseballs, and I even get to give high-fives with the team if we win. It’s awesome when we win. I also stand in line during the National Anthem. Once, I was wearing a white shirt and black pants like the players. The other team thought I was a player, too, just a really small, young player. Everyone laughed when they realized I was the bat boy.
Milton: How long have you been involved and playing baseball?
Brauer: I’ve been playing baseball since I was 3. I play on the Sycamore Youth Baseball League. My team, the Sycamore River Bandits, won first place this year and are Futures League Champions. I caught the final out in the championship game and hit a run that had us up by two. We switch positions every inning, but my favorite positions are pitcher, catcher and first baseman. I love running bases, pitching, hitting, everything.
Milton: Do you have a favorite team?
Brauer: My favorite Major League team is the Cardinals, but I also like the Blue Jays and Orioles. My favorite Minor League team is the Beloit Snappers, and college is the University of Illinois. My favorite player is Josh Donaldson, who is the third baseman for the Blue Jays.
Milton: What is your goal in baseball?
Brauer: I want to make it to the majors. I watch baseball on TV, and they’re good players. I want to be one of them someday. I see bat boys on TV all the time, but they’re a little older than me. I want to keep being bat boy until I get too old for it or until I get to play baseball myself in leagues during the summer.