By Mitch and Charlotte Varnes
Few things say “summer” like baseball, and for Florida’s tourist and entertainment industry, baseball is a grand slam. Florida hosts spring training for 15 Major League teams, which usually means it also is the home of one of their minor league franchises. Florida also boasts two of its own teams, MLB’s Tampa Bay Rays and Miami Marlins.
Love of the sport is coupled with the wonderment of the kid in all of us, rekindling memories of backyard games or nail-biting collegiate and professional competitions. For Satellite Beach’s Robert Varnes, a student at Holy Trinity Episcopal Academy, it escalated to another level when his dream of being a Washington Nationals Bat Boy for a few games this spring was realized during their last season at Space Coast Stadium in Viera. The team will move to West Palm Beach in 2017.
Charlotte Varnes, Robert’s sister, took the opportunity to interview him on this awesome opportunity and on what it means to have the Washington Nationals on the Space Coast and their pending departure.
CV: What did you like best about being a Bat Boy?
RV: I felt like I was part of the team as we went through the clubhouse and changing rooms just like the players. It was cool being close to my favorite baseball team.
CV: What was your favorite experience with a player?
RV: Being able to talk with my favorite player, Bryce Harper, was pretty awesome and also playing around with manager, Dusty Baker. But, there were lots of other special times, too.
CV: What is it like being in the dugout with the team?
RV: You could overhear all the players and managers talking with each other, and, of course, being able to stand in line and high five them after runs or home runs.
CV: What are you going to miss about the Nationals not being in Brevard?
RV: I will miss the players and going to games, but I will also miss the stadium workers I got to know and who won’t be following them to West Palm Beach.
CV: How do you think Brevard County is going to be different without the Nationals?
RV: I think Brevard County loses out because we won’t have a Major League Baseball team here anymore, and fans and kids like me won’t be able to go to the games. It will also mean fewer people eating in the restaurants at The Avenue in Viera. Losing the Nats is just not good for anyone except West Palm Beach.