Trey Search is always right in the middle of the action.
To him, a St. Louis Cardinals game is way more than just the game itself.
It’s all the hours of preparation before and after the game, all the behind-the-scenes work no one else sees.
Search is one of the two current Cardinals batboys.
He is also a senior at Columbia High School and has had the job since his sophomore year.
He currently plays basketball at CHS and he played baseball his freshman year.
Search said he got the job after his older brother, Tanner, had it previously.
“The equipment manager is my cousin-in-law,” Search said. “He asked me to fill out an application and do an interview, and I got a call about a month later.”
Hundreds of people turn in applications to be batboys for the Cardinals, but Search said knowing someone on staff didn’t hurt.
“I got lucky,” he said. “It’s pretty slim chances that I would get it.”
Many of Search’s friends tell him he has the greatest job a teenager could ask for, and he says it is true.
“You get to watch a pro baseball game and pretty much be right in the middle of it,” he said.
On a typical day as a batboy, Search shows up three or four hours before the game is scheduled to begin.
His duties include filling up water and Gatorade coolers and bringing out all the helmets and bats.
He watches batting practice while keeping an eye on the players’ gear and then takes gear out to the bullpen when the game is close to beginning.
During the game, Search is responsible for bringing baseballs to the umpire and picking up bats.
“They’re all such great guys,” Search said of the Cardinals. “They all have great senses of humor, but they’ re so dedicated to what they do.”
After the game, Search cleans the players’ shoes and does their laundry, along with refilling the coolers and taking out the trash.
“It’s time-consuming, but it’s really not too hard of work,” he said.
Search often will not get home until several hours after an evening game has ended.
“One time I got home at 5 a.m. on a school night,” he said. “And oftentimes I go straight to (Busch Stadium) after school, so I really have to keep up with my schoolwork.”
Search said he has never been directly hit with a ball, but he did come close to being hit with a broken bat.
Last year during the playoffs, a San Francisco player’s bat came within a few inches of his shoulder.
“The other batboy Greg and I were kind of scared,” Search said. “We actually got on ESPN for that.”
Search said he heard there were some people gossiping on the Internet about how batboys should not be out in the middle of the action when situations like that occur.
“It’s a risk I’m more than willing to take,” he said. “I’d rather be out here and watch the game.”
One of his favorite times as a batboy so far has been working during the playoffs.
“After a game, we were waiting to see if we’d won the wild card,” he said. “We put up plastic all over the walls for the champagne. I got drenched and it was so exciting.”
Search said he plans to stay with the Cardinals through part of college, which he will attend at SIUE.
He is not planning on continuing to play sports in college because he wants to continue to work for the Cardinals and have the full college experience as well.
“I won’t stay forever as the batboy because if you stay too long you’ll be a batman, not a batboy,” he said with a laugh. “My brother did it for four years, though, so I might do it until sophomore year of college.”
Search said his outlook on professional baseball has changed in his time as a batboy.
“I didn’t know the players show up four hours before a game to watch videos on the team they’re playing and get to know their strengths and weaknesses,” he said. “It’s all worth it for them, though, because they’re playing baseball as a job.”