NBC Baseball

NBC World Series suspends use of bat boys after death of Kaiser Carlile

A wall in the concourse of Lawrence-Dumont Stadium displays past champions of the annual NBC baseball tournament. (May 16, 2013)
A wall in the concourse of Lawrence-Dumont Stadium displays past champions of the annual NBC baseball tournament. (May 16, 2013) File photo

Following the death of Kaiser Carlile, the Liberal Bee Jays’ 9-year-old bat boy, the National Baseball Congress will not have bat boys or ball boys during the remainder of World Series games at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium.

“It’s out of respect for the Bee Jays,” said Kevin Jenks, the NBC’s general manager. “… It’s too emotionally charged. We’re going to remove it from the World Series.”

Kaiser died Sunday after he was struck in the head with a follow-through swing near the on-deck circle on Saturday afternoon during the Bee Jays’ game.

Kaiser, who is from Liberal, was wearing a helmet.

Bat boys retrieve bats from the home-plate area and return them to the dugout. Ball boys chase foul balls that stay in the field of play and also take additional baseballs to the home-plate umpire. Parents sometimes contact the NBC to have their children participate as a bat boy or ball boy, and Jenks said that it’s a volunteer position that is filled early in the process for all 60 games.

“We’re also responsible for the safety of these kids,” Jenks said. “At this point, safety is No. 1. It’s unfortunate that it takes a situation like this to implement that.”

As for future World Series, Jenks is unsure.

“We need to look at it and have some conversations and see what is best,” he said. “Our age limit is 10 years old.… We’ll talk about it; we may need to raise the age limit.”

At 9, Kaiser was able to be on the field because he was Liberal’s bat boy all summer.

Jenks said that beginning Tuesday, the city of Wichita will lower its flags to half-staff in honor of Kaiser, and his family would be honored before the Bee Jays’ game on Tuesday night, including an address from mayour Jeff Longwell.

The NBC will also have a sign with “KC” on each dugout by the area where ball boys usually sit, “Bee Jay blue” ribbons will be given out to remember Kaiser, there will be a moment of silence before feature games and the NBC will cease promotions during the second inning of games, because that’s when Kaiser was injured.

A GoFundMe page has been established — BigHits4Kaiser. More than $62,000 had been raised to help Kaiser’s family as of Monday afternoon.

Hurt’s Donuts in Wichita put on its Facebook page Monday that it had raised $3,500 for the family by selling baseball-themed donuts, and cash donations were still coming in.

“With the funding and stuff we have set up, what’s left over, it’s nothing for gain,” said Chad Carlile, Kaiser’s dad. “It’s all going to be put back into any kind of youth programs or sports.”

The city of Wichita has not decided whether it will conduct an investigation into the death. Lawrence-Dumont Stadium is owned by the city.

Ken Evans, the city’s strategic communications director, said it is too early to decide on the need for an inquiry.

“I think we’re all kind of in shock at the moment with the rest of the community and focused on expressing our heartfelt sympathies for all the family and the friends and the folks involved with the tournament,” Evans said.

“… I just don’t think anyone is focused on that at the moment. It’s difficult for me to say anything about it, other than, it seems premature for us.”

Reach Joanna Chadwick at 316-268-6270 or jchadwick@wichitaeagle.com. Follow her on Twitter: @joannachadwick.

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