He doesn’t know what “inside baseball” or “hot corner” means.
Perhaps the Everett AquaSox could give him a copy of the seldom-cited dictionary of baseball, “Fungoes, Floaters and Fork Balls: A Colorful Baseball Dictionary,” by Patrick Ercolano. Used copies are available for as little as a penny, plus shipping and handling.
But 16-year-old Tyler Eli does know his first summer job is something special.
When the Class A minor-league-baseball team advertised for a grounds-crew member, he applied. Twenty were interviewed, and he got the job.
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Duties include raking the basepaths before a game to ensure a true bounce.
Then it’s to right-center field for at least nine innings inside the scoreboard.
The wooden structure measures about 40 feet by 4 ½ feet. Light is provided by two incandescent bulbs and the rays that spill through the runs-hits-errors slots. “It’s really warm in here.” The only breeze is through the opening through which he pays close attention to the game.
There’s also a radio broadcast, but “the radio gets fuzzy when it’s windy. It gets staticky.” There’s no restroom and no break. Lunch is delivered around the sixth inning: one hot dog, one bag of chips and a drink.
Relatives tell him, “This job is cool. It’s way better than any summer job they ever had.”
“I get to watch baseball and get paid,” he said.
After the game, it’s back to the infield to cover the mound.
After the season, it’s back to Kamiak High School in Mukilteo and playing his favorite sport, club lacrosse.