Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Bat Boys Baseball: Living Life on the Diamond

Liam Holland and Eric Shellhouse started Bat Boys Baseball. (Photo by Jennifer Stewart)

WILLIAMSBURG — Liam Holland, a William & Mary student, and Eric Shellhouse, a James Madison student, have always loved life on the baseball diamond.

After losing their senior season of high school baseball due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the pair desperately looked for ways to continue being involved with the sport they loved.

“Eric and I have been friends since fourth grade. We grew up going to baseball games together, trying to get autographs together. During COVID, we lost our senior year of high school. There was nothing to do during quarantine. Eric and I had run fan pages for players before on Instagram. We decided to start a YouTube channel on a FaceTime call,” Holland said.

The duo began posting any baseball-related content that they could. They would film videos each week of the most random baseball content, from dressing up and impersonating players to bubblegum challenges.

Holland and Shellhouse have always been baseball fans, and as such, they have always wanted to know more about their favorite players. Once COVID-19 protocols allowed fans back into baseball stadiums in the summer of 2021, they collaborated on an idea to interview players from the stands.

Interviewing a player on the San Diego Padres. (Bat Boys Baseball)

Bat Boys Baseball was born.

While it’s the sport that they love, Bat Boys Baseball doesn’t only focus on the game. The pair are known on social media for their antics at ballparks. They love to feature interviews with players that offer the viewer behind-the-scenes knowledge of who their favorite players are as people. Common questions they ask players include interests other than baseball, pop culture, and their personality.

“We’re really trying to get the players to showcase their personality. We find that the MLB and baseball in general have a lack of that. We want the players to be able to talk about themselves and they love doing it. Baseball is such a rooted tradition of talking about the game day in and day out, that they don’t get the opportunity to talk about themselves,” Shellhouse said.

In the summer of 2022, they applied for media credentials with different minor league teams around the country. From there, they made a connection with a member of the Washington Nationals and earned MLB credentials. They have filmed content with the Arizona Diamondbacks, San Diego Padres, Cleveland Guardians, Pittsburgh Pirates, Baltimore Orioles, Washington Nationals and more.

Through the success of Bat Boys Baseball, Holland and Shellhouse have been able to attend many domestic and international baseball events, most recently returning from Dubai after being invited to the launch of the Middle East’s first professional baseball league.

To date, the boys have amassed over 159,000 followers on Instagram, 364,000 on TikTok, and 103,000 subscribers on YouTube. For Holland and Shellhouse, they view their channel as a “for the fans, by the fans” organization.

“Starting this company means the world to me because it’s what we want to see as fans of the sport. We’re motivated by making content that we would find interesting, by learning things about players that we want to know ourselves, and promoting baseball and connecting fans to players, even those that are just casual fans of the sport,” Holland said.

On the field with Baseball United in Dubai. (Bat Boys Baseball)

Holland also prides himself on the fact that he conducts many interviews with Latino players in Spanish.

“So many people thank us for showing the sides of the players that they have never seen before. People really enjoy how I speak Spanish to the Latino players. It gives such a meaningful view of the cultural exchange. The promotion of Latino players in the MLB is limited because of the language barrier. It’s cool to be able to tell their stories by speaking Spanish with them,” Holland said.

when the company launched, neither Shellhouse nor Holland had any idea that people would flock to them as they did.

“We’re so lucky to be able to do this. It’s been so awesome to see all the different places we’ve been to and the events that we’ve been able to cover. It’s super cool and we’re looking forward to doing more,” Shellhouse said.

They would eventually like to work their way up to covering the World Series and the MLB All-Star Game. They also have hopes to become the biggest baseball media content supplier in the world. For more information on Bat Boys Baseball, visit batsboysbaseball.wordpress.com.

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