Batboy shares his experiences inside the Asheville Tourists dugout

BAT CHASER: Houston Mashburn works as a batboy for the Asheville Tourists. Photo courtesy of Mashburn

It didn’t take but a minute for Houston Mashburn to agree with his dad, Michael, that he should apply to be a batboy with the Asheville Tourists.

“Right before baseball season, my dad saw a thing on Facebook asking if anybody wanted to come work as a batboy,” Houston Mashburn remembers. “He asked me, and I immediately said yes because it’s something I’ve watched people do since I was young, and I always thought it would be cool.”

That was two years ago. Mashburn, now a 10th grader at Charles D. Owen High School, is still at it. “You get to meet new people and meet the team and see what it’s like for them.”

When he’s not retrieving bats, Mashburn alternates between shortstop and second base for Owen High, where he plays on both the JV and varsity teams. “Baseball has been my biggest sport my whole life,” Mashburn says. “My dad got me into it.”

This interview has been edited for clarity and length.

Xpress: What’s it like working for the Tourists?

Mashburn: It’s been a lot of fun. I’ve built up a lot of friendships with a lot of the players until they get called up. And one time, the Hickory Crawdads came up, and I got invited to come down and work out with their team. They were great guys. 

Was it a hard job to learn?

No, it’s pretty simple when you get the hang of it. Really, you watch it once and you know what to do.

How many times have you been nearly hit by a bat?

Never by a bat, but I’ve been nearly hit by three or four baseballs on foul tips.

What do you get to see that fans don’t?

How the players act in the dugout. I’ve seen some funny things. There was one game, and it absolutely poured, and the dugout flooded. That canceled the game. Another thing that fans don’t get to see is how much fun they truly do have in the locker room and how they work as a team. Like, they’ll sit there and analyze stuff and go over their game plans and plan out their days. I’ve met some players that are now in the majors, including one who just won the World Series, playing for the Texas Rangers. 

IN UNIFORM: Houston Mashburn plays baseball at Charles D. Owen High School when not a batboy for the Asheville Tourists. Photo courtesy of Mashburn

Have you picked up tips?

Oh, yeah. There are a couple of [players] that I’ve talked to who have told me things I can work on. It’s a great experience for people my age. It shows you a lot more from being in the dugout versus being in the stands. … You get to watch the coaches and how they set things up. There are all these drills that you can learn from.

Which baseball team do you root for, besides the Tourists, of course?

The Atlanta Braves. It’s a team I grew up watching over the years and because of all of the great players that they’ve had.

What else do you do outside of school?

Football, basketball — I work for my cousin doing landscaping.  I love to be busy. 

Where do you see baseball taking you?

I think it will take me far, but I have to put the work in and do everything that it’s going to take. It takes hustle, a heart for the game. You gotta be on top of it —  grades, showing up at school, being at practice, being consistent, being a leader. Baseball is something I want to go onto in college. I would love that.


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