Meet the Squeeze Squad, the Winter Garden Squeeze’s bat boys

Led by Bat Boy George, the Squeeze Squad has evolved into more than just a group of kids running around with bats. These days, everyone involved with the team is now part of the squad.

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When you go to a Winter Garden Squeeze home baseball game, you might see people wearing a blue or orange T-shirt with the words “Squeeze Squad” stamped on the chest. You’ll probably see those T-shirts among the fans sitting in the stands, behind the counter of the concession stand or at the gate, being worn by an intern or volunteer selling tickets. 

You might even see one of those T-shirts on the field, but you might miss those if you’re not paying attention, because not only are the people wearing those T-shirts focused on getting on and off the field as quickly as possible, but also they’re significantly smaller than the average adult.

Those lightning-quick, jitterbug-like blurs of orange and blue you see are the bat boys for which the name and identity of the Squeeze Squad was created. 

Since its inception, the squad has grown from a one-kid show into a seven-kid team comprising 7- to 10-year-olds.

“It was just George (Koss) — he was the bat boy,” Squeeze General Manager Adam Bates said. “From him being the only one, that’s when he turned into Bat Boy George, and his little persona began, and he became part of the team. But he couldn’t be at every game, and really our players wanted him there. … They missed George when he wasn’t around … not because they wanted a bat boy but because the players loved having the kid around and in the dugout. So, that’s when the idea of having a team of bat boys started to grow and with the help of George’s dad (Brian Koss) and Joe Light it just kind of morphed into the Squeeze Squad. Now, we have a schedule with like two to four kids on a given game night.”

‘Control the chaos’

With Bat Boy George leading his troops — under the watchful guidance of unofficial Squeeze Squad Manager Joe Light — the mission is simple: Retrieve the Squeeze players’ bats and other gear from the field to the home dugout, following the end of the play, as quickly as they can.

Sounds simple enough, right? But when you combine those elements — kids, a ball field, baseball bats and running as quickly as possible — let’s just say that accomplishing their mission can be a bit chaotic. Still, according to Light, father of two squad members on top of his managerial duties, the juice is worth the squeeze.

“In a few words, what I do is control the chaos,” Light said. “I’ve got a group of 7- to 10-year-olds out here who love the game, who are all competitive and all want to go grab bats, grab foul balls and get on the field as much as possible. That’s a recipe for some chaos. But honestly, this is such a great environment for these kids, and I’m really glad that they have the opportunity to get out here and be around this team.”

From the perspective of Squeeze Squad members, they seem more than glad to have the opportunity. 

“It’s just fun to, like, meet all the players and get into the action, picking up bats and stuff,” Koss said. “I really like just hanging out with the players and talking to them and getting to know them better. … I really like doing this, and I think this has grown my interest in baseball. I like baseball a lot more now because of this and the other fun stuff like playing catch on the field sometimes — even with the players.”

During games, the squad stands between the stands and the dugout entrance, behind a netted, half-wall area — which actually has a sweet view of A Game Field — and because of their location, they constantly interact with the Squeeze players — something the Squeeze Squad members love. Those moments of interactions not only help them love the game more but also can be the reason a player becomes a bat boy’s favorite. 

“I really like meeting and talking with the players,” Squeeze Squad member Logan Light said. “Tripp Landers and Titan Kamaka are my two favorites. … I like Titan because he went to FSU and my dad actually knew him from before, and then I like Tripp because he’s the player I know the most. He always talks to us and comes around.”

Studying the Squeeze 

But beyond the fun of running on the field and grabbing the gear, the amazing front-row seats to the action and the chance they get to build relationships with the players, these kids — all baseball players themselves — also get the chance to learn a thing or two from college baseball players.

“With their little enclave area, they have really neat access to the players and are able to hear the nuances of the game being talked about right in front of them,” Bates said. “And this group is a pretty educated bunch. I know some more than others, but they’re picking up on what the players are saying and teaching them. … They’re going to be able to use that stuff they’ve learned as they grow.” 

Joe Light thinks the experience these kids are getting from not only a life point of view but also from a baseball player’s perspective is invaluable. 

“The team has been great and kind of adopted the kids as unofficial team members,” Light said. “They’re always talking to them, interacting with them. … My oldest, Logan ... sits there and listens to the boys as they’re coming off the plate or are on deck, and they’re talking about the pitcher. ... For him to learn that approach as he grows from a 10U, 11U travel ball player up to where he wants to be in high school eventually and maybe where these guys are, I think this is invaluable for him.”

We’re all in the squad

For Bates, the Squeeze Squad members are becoming more than just bat boys. They’re members of the team, they’re unofficial mascots, and they’re what the Squeeze as an organization is building their entire identity around.

“Squeeze Squad is more than the bat boys,” Bates said. “It’s the fans, it’s the sponsors, it’s people like Chris Cohen with Huey Magoo’s — who helped us out by outfitting these kids with new T-shirts. ... It’s all of these people who are rallying around this team in our community. We want this team to be more than just something cool that happens in the summer; we want it to be a year-round thing. Our goal is to get to downtown Winter Garden and be involved more in events like the Christmas parade and be involved in Spring Fever in the Garden. ... Squeeze Squad is every member of the fan base, their members of our family.”

To see the Squeeze — and the Squeeze Squad — in action, their next home games will be Thursday, June 27, and Saturday, June 29, at A Game Field on the campus of West Orange High School. First pitch for both games is set for 7 p.m.



Sam Albuquerque

A native of João Pessoa, Brazil, Sam Albuquerque moved in 1997 to Central Florida as a kid. After earning a communications degree in 2016 from the University of Central Florida, he started his career covering sports as a producer for a local radio station, ESPN 580 Orlando. He went on to earn a master’s degree in editorial journalism from Northwestern University, before moving to South Carolina to cover local sports for the USA Today Network’s Spartanburg Herald-Journal. When he’s not working, you can find him spending time with his lovely wife, Sarah, newborn son, Noah, and dog named Skulí.

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