Yes, That’s Brandon Kintzler Serving as Batboy in Tonight’s Game
A bet is a bet. And Brandon Kintzler lost one to Kyle Lohse. That’s why he’s the batboy for tonight’s Exhibition Game at Miller Park vs the Kansas City Royals.
“I’m not nervous at all,” Brandon said. “Whatever entertains the guys to kick off the year. And I can’t wear big-league stuff. I have to wear my own jersey so everyone knows it’s me. In Rookie Ball, you have to batboy, so I have experience. I know to watch the umpire, watch what he needs. I’m probably going to get really tired; it will be my conditioning for the day.”
So what are the events that lead up to this? I sat down with both Brandon and Kyle individually to get both sides of the story, and, okay, I’ll admit it–stir the pot a little. Read on.
You see, it all started in Spring Training at Bob Uecker’s Front Row Classic, when Brandon was in the winning group:
“After that… He popped off that he was just as good as me,” said Kyle, who is basically a scratch golfer and well-known for his golfing prowess in the clubhouse. “He didn’t back down from a one-on-one challenge. Leading up to it, he was even talking smack about how he out-drives me and maybe I might need strokes. I was like ‘Alright. Whatever. Pick a course, we’ll go play it.’ I wanted to be fair, so we picked a course that I hadn’t played, didn’t know anything about,” he said.
“We wanted a course that we hadn’t played,” Brandon confirmed. And that’s how they landed at Moon Valley Country Club. “I had heard it’s a long, tough course, a lot of target golf.”
Of course, after all of the buildup to the match, they had to put some stakes on it.
“I wouldn’t agree to a bunch of bets, so at the end he said–and I think he was joking–‘loser batboys Exhibition Game‘ and I said, ‘Okay, I’ll do that,” Brandon said. “Last time I played with him at his course, he beat me by one hole, and by like two strokes, so it wasn’t like it was going to be an unfair match.”
But this time, their match was not as close. Kyle ended up winning by 11 strokes, shooting a 74 to Brandon’s 85.
“It was definitely my chipping. And sand. I probably gave 8 strokes away from chipping and sand alone,” Brandon lamented. He also chalked it up to a lot of “bad luck.”
“There was one drive where we both hit in the fairway, but mine bounced left into the sand trap. It was literally two feet from his ball. I had a lot of bad luck,” Brandon, who played competitive Junior Golf a little as a teen, explained.
“You know old guys gotta get luck,” he continued, taking a not-so-subtle dig at Kyle, who is 35-years old and six years older than him.
“I outdrive him so, he’s gotta get luck. He needed all the luck he could get….Make sure you put that in there,” he added.
“And Kyle was really nice during the round,” he continued. ” He knows I had a lot of bad luck and he had some good luck, but then he shows up to the field and makes it sound like I was terrible. He even brought in a Championship belt. He said he crushed me, but they don’t know about the round before. He’s just mad because I have the Bob Uecker title. He’s a totally different person on the course and off the course.“
Kyle refutes this. “I show up, I don’t know anything about the course, just like he doesn’t… and I beat him by 11 strokes. There’s not a lot of bad luck that happens when you’re on the fairways or greens, right? So when you’re constantly off the fairways and off the greens, I don’t know if you call that bad luck, or not being able to keep the ball in play. There are two ways you can look at it.”
“I got a couple grays in my beard,” he continued, “But you know, it is what it is. Older, wiser, better? I don’t know. My 74 could have been like a 68 if I had made some other putts. I didn’t miss too many greens. I went into it with prior experience, beating another guy on the team, another ‘young fella’–[Johnny] Hellweg. He popped off about my golf game… I gave him 20 strokes and I beat him by 41 so I went into it knowing…. With Brandon, the third hole was when I knew it was over because it was a driving hole, a par-4, even for me, a ‘short hitter,’ so I hit 3-iron. Just wanted to keep it in play. He hits driver, got lucky that it was in play, then had to play a shot under and through a tree, ended up in a bunker, went from that bunker to 60-yds past the green into a fairway bunker and from that bunker back into the same bunker he was just in, you know, so I knew then that experience was going to carry me through the match.”
As for the belt? Kyle tells me it serves a dual purpose. “I went to the store and picked up a little belt so I could make sure he knew I was the champ, but we have card games in the clubhouse and we have a champion of the day. From now on, that person will get the belt.”
“I think of it like back in the day when Tiger dominated,” Kyle told me. “You know, whenever he was in that final group, everyone kind of wilted around him? It was kind of the same thing. That’s what happened to Hellweg and I knew that if I just kept the ball in play–I don’t care if I get outdriven–I’m gonna keep it in play and put it on the green. Not too many bad things can happen when you do that.”
And, long story short, that is how Brandon Kintzler ended up as a batboy for tonight’s game.
But still, Brandon wants a chance at redemption: “I will get a rematch at some point,” he said.
Kyle is not so sure.
“What happens in boxing when the champ defends his title? Do they automatically give a rematch to the other guy, or does he have to fight a few more battles and work his way back up? The way I look at it, he got knocked out in the first round, he’s been knocked way down in status. I’m not even sure he’s third or fourth best golfer on the team right now with the play he put out. After he works his way up, he can challenge me again, but it’s going to be awhile.”
Speaking of challenges… in his interview tonight, Kyle failed to mention another golf match that took place earlier in Spring Training down in Arizona. We’ll have more on that to come here on the blog.