There's a Spartan among the Cardinals on the field at Busch Stadium this season.
De Smet Jesuit junior Ethan Weishaar has realized his childhood dream of becoming a batboy for the St. Louis Cardinals. He took the field for the first time on Opening Day, April 7, as one of just three batboys to wear the Cardinals uniform this season. And he doesn't take this incredible opportunity lightly.
"The uniform not only represents the Cardinals, but represents a certain style of this game, and how every individual should uphold the integrity of the game both on and off the field," he said. "The Cardinals are a huge part of my life and who I am as a person. Having the chance to work directly with team personnel and witness 'The Cardinal Way' is something that is very humbling."
This realized dream came true for Ethan because things didn't initially go according to plan.
When he didn't make De Smet's baseball team as a player, Ethan worked with coaches to take care of the field during the Spartans' 2020 season. "I knew from my research that getting some field experience was an important first step," he said.
He also realized the effectiveness of using his personal network. In February 2021, Linda Sodemann, his academic counselor at De Smet and a long-time usher for the Cardinals, helped him set up a Zoom conversation with her former student, Cardinals' Vice President of Stadium Operations Matt Gifford. A month later, the Cardinals posted a Field Crew Game Attendant position and Ethan got the job.
As a member of the Cardinals' Grounds Crew for the 2021 season, he had responsibility for maintaining field conditions before, during, and after games. He was honored with the "Grounds Crew Rookie of the Year" award for his work ethic, attitude, and determination. His reputation as a dedicated worker earned him the respect of his bosses and opened the door for an introduction to the Cardinals' Clubhouse Manager.
When an opening for a bat boy became available in January, Ethan applied, having received advice from former Cardinals' bat boys. He participated in a phone interview with the Cardinals in late March and was hired a week later — just in time to spend his first day on the job unpacking from spring training and preparing for Opening Day.
"There's just something about being on the field and working in the clubhouse at Busch Stadium that is unlike anything else," he said. "It's very special."
In addition to being on the field during home games, Ethan's responsibilities include preparing the bench and bullpen, cleaning the locker room, stocking food and drink in the clubhouse, and even washing and folding towels and uniforms for the Cardinals.
It's a pretty cool way to learn how to do laundry.