Minor league baseball officials wonder whether they will have any batboys left in the wake of a U.S. Department of Labor order that forced the South Atlantic League's Savannah, Ga., club to fire an under-age batboy.
A federal labor official said Tuesday that publicity about the case is prompting the agency to look more closely at what apparently is a longstanding practice.
Savannah Cardinal General Manager Ric Sisler said he replaced his 14-year-old batboy with a 16-year-old this month after a labor official told him he was violating federal law. Child labor laws prohibit any child under 14 from working and stipulate that 14- and 15-year-olds must not work past 7 p.m. on a school night or 9 p.m. in the summer.
"What kind of real work is picking up a bat and some balls?" Sisler said. "I just find this whole thing absurd. It's like cutting away a piece of Americana."