There are summer jobs, and then there are SUMMER JOBS!
Claremore resident Micah McCombs, 15, believes he has one of those latter positions.
The son of Lea Ann and Wayne McCombs, Micah has been working as a bat boy for the Tulsa Drillers professional Double-A baseball team since the start of the season.
Admitting up front he is not as big a baseball fan as his father, the teenager is having (pardon the expression) a ball at his job.
Before the season started, Micah was one of seven young men selected as bat boys.
Despite his father having a past connection with team officials, Micah had to interview like all the other applicants.
Two of the ones selected have since quit leaving the remaining five to split duties at the two-year-old downtown ball park.
On a rotating basis, two of them work each night the Drillers play a home game.
Time for the first pitch at night games is 7:05 p.m. at downtown ONEOK Field. This means the bat boys are expected to be in uniform and ready to go an hour and half beforehand. One serves in each dugout.
All the coolers must be filled with water or Gatorade and a huge supply of clean towels are ready for use. Another key element according to the players is to make sure there will be enough sunflower seeds to go around.
Due to the extreme hot temperatures this summer, extra care is extended to safeguard the welfare of the players, coaching staff and the three umpires working each night. At the same time, Micah and the other bat boys must take the same precautions.
Their official title is “bat boy” and this doesn’t really come into place until the game actually starts.
“The players all select their favorite bat when they go up to the plate,” Micah said this past week when talking about his summer occupation, “but when the batter is finished we must replace the bats back in the rack. All the players use the wood bats and we need to check to make sure they are not broken or cracked.
“Even if the bats are damaged, we always check with the player to see if he wants to keep or get rid of it.”
Asked what he would be doing this summer if not working as a Driller bat boy, Micah said he didn’t know.
“I help around the house some like mow the yard at times, but I would have needed to find some type of paying job,” he added, “and that may have been hard to do.
“There are not that many opportunities now days.”
When classes start back later this month, Micah will be a sophomore at Claremore Christian School. When pinned down he said he likes history the best.
Apparently that trait runs in the family.
His dad, Wayne, is a devoted sports historian. He has written books on the history of Tulsa professional baseball, Tulsa University athletics and Claremore High School Zebra football.
Since he was old enough to read the newspaper box scores, he has also been a New York Yankees follower.
Thanks mainly to the back of baseball trading cards he collected as a youngster, Wayne is a walking volume of baseball trivial.
“No, I’m not as big a baseball fan as my dad,” Micah said, “I am somewhere in between my parents. My mother doesn’t like baseball at all.”
Micah added he did collect baseball cards when he was younger, but not so much now. Yankee shortstop Derek Jeter is his favorite player, but because of work he missed seeing Jeter claim his recent 3,000 base hit.
Still with plenty of time to decide, Micah is undecided about his future career. He wants to continue making good grades in high school the next three years, then possibly enroll at Rogers State University.
For the next several summers, however, he plans to continue in his fun-filled role as Driller bat boy.
If he can help manager Duane Espy get center fielder Tim Wheeler, his favorite player, up to the big leagues, so much the better.
In the meantime, please pass a mustard-loaded hot dog down this way.