Love Baseball Trivia? Follow Bat Boys, Stat

Arlington's own Liam Holland and Eric Shellhouse have MLB press credentials. And their interview questions are hilarious.
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W-L alumnus Liam Holland interviewing Astros second baseman Jose Altuve (Courtesy photo)

This story has been updated.

You’ve seen them hit the upper decks, throw wicked fast balls and execute double plays with graceful efficiency, but did you know that some Houston Astros players get hyped listening to Bad Bunny and Drake? Or why Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Bailey Falter doesn’t have a walk-up song? That if he weren’t playing ball, New York Mets shortstop Francisco Lindor would be a dentist? Or the story behind San Diego Padres pitcher Sean Manaea’s tattoos?

Most of the reporting on the teams that made it to this year’s postseason—including the two that faced off in the World Series—didn’t mention these kinds of fun facts. But Washington-Liberty High School alum Liam Holland and Yorktown alum Eric Shellhouse did. Bat Boys Baseball, the social media platform they created in 2020, is all about capturing players’ quirks, back stories and personalities.

“We’re asking questions that I’ve never seen the answers to,” says Holland, 21, now a junior at William and Mary. Like what’s the weirdest thing a player has ever been asked to autograph? Or what’s his go-to pregame food?  “It’s just our own unique, informal style, which kind of grabs that initial attention.”

The interview questions don’t always fit the traditional milieu of—ahem—inside baseball, so the pair’s videos, which they post to Instagram, TikTok and YouTube, appeal to a wide swath of viewers, notes Shellhouse, 20, a student at James Madison University. “You don’t necessarily have to be a baseball fan to enjoy our content.” (While you won’t find banter about batting averages and perfect games, you might gain a few tips on how to grow a perfect mustache or deflect heckling fans.)

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Eric Shellhouse with outfielders Lane Thomas and Victor Robles at Nats Park (Photo by fellow W-L alumnus John Edelstein)

Since June, Holland and Shellhouse have attended about 30 Major League ball games and interviewed more than 220 players, posting videos a few times a day.

So far, they have more than 1,000 posts on Instagram; about 70 full-length videos and a couple hundred shorts on YouTube; and more than 1,000 snippets on TikTok. Their followers on each platform number 79,000, 25,000 and 202,000, respectively.

“I think the coolest thing is how different we are from modern baseball media,” Holland says. “When people see a kid on the field standing next to their favorite baseball players, they’re going to take a second and be like, ‘Wait, what? How did this happen?’”

The longtime friends’ storied road to the Majors began in March 2020, when they launched Bat Boys as a way to fill time during the Covid lockdown. At the time they were high school seniors trying to stave off boredom during the height of the pandemic. “It was really just us filming goofy baseball videos,” Shellhouse says. Using fields at Westover Park and Yorktown High School as home base, they dressed as famous players and mimicked their swings, and stuffed their mouths with Big League Chew bubble gum. They shattered a bat when Holland hit a dumbbell with it.

Once baseball fans were permitted to return to the bleachers in 2021, the pair started going to Minor and Major League games to capture the vibe. “We would ask players for interviews from the stands at Minor League games and they would stop by and answer them,” Shellhouse says.

By the winter of 2022, Bat Boys had amassed 50,000 followers across the three platforms.

Their big break came when the head of media for the Fredericksburg Nationals gave the Washington Nationals organization a heads up about Bat Boys’ growing social media presence. That’s when Holland and Shellhouse received a green light to apply for press credentials—which gives them on-field access to MLB players. Bat Boys is now recognized as a media outlet through MLB Pressbox, a website for news outlets that cover Major League Baseball. “Once you have access to the website, it’s a big step toward legitimacy,” Holland says.

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Catching up with slugger Juan Soto, now with the San Diego Padres (Photo by fellow W-L alumnus John Edelstein)

The experience is a dream come true for two guys who met when they were on competing Arlington Little League teams and later became friends as teammates on a travel team.

As for who they rooted for in the 2022 World Series? It’s complicated.

“I’m a diehard Nats fan, so obviously I grew up not really liking the Phillies,” Shellhouse said, midway through the Series in early November. “But honestly, I’m rooting for the Phillies. I think they have more former Nats—Kyle Schwarber, Brad Hand, Bryce Harper…I have forgiven him [for leaving the Nationals in 2018]. I’d be excited to see all of them get a ring.”

Holland was more torn. “The Phillies were so friendly to us,” he says. “That’s kind of the weird thing about rooting for teams now. I’m starting to have bias based on my interactions with players. I got to talk to basically the entire Houston Astros team in Cleveland in early August and they were [also] one of the most friendly, laid back teams I’ve ever talked to. A lot of them followed me back or follow the Bat Boys page back on Instagram. We talked over DM [direct message] on occasion.”

What’s in the cards for this dynamic duo now that baseball season has come to a close? During the off-season, they plan to reach out to college teams and other baseball content creators to collaborate on more videos. “There’s definitely going to be some cool stuff coming,” Holland says. Tune in.

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Categories: Arts & Entertainment