Nolan Ryan's latest find will be on display tonight when the Rangers host the Red Sox, but don't look to the pitcher's mound to find this prospect.
BBoy McCoy, the break-dancing bat boy, will make his major league debut tonight in Texas after spending four years spinning and poppin' on top of dugouts throughout the minors. McCoy's call to the big leagues comes after a recent appearance at Ryan-owned Triple-A Round Rock, where he apparently caught the eye of the Rangers president.
"Nolan suggested that we bring him up," Rangers vice president of in-park entertainment Chuck Morgan said. "Nolan said to get him here because he heard good things about him in Round Rock."
McCoy's appearance at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington will cap an unlikely rise for the 21-year-old former Atlanta street performer that includes a run on the hit show "America's Got Talent." It was there in 2008 that McCoy, whose real name is Kenneth Paryo, met Dominic Latkovski, the veteran minor league performer and founder of BirdZerk and ZOOperstars.
Latkovski was so taken with McCoy that he incorporated him into a few of his performances at ballparks around Atlanta. In 2009, McCoy performed for roughly a dozen teams, including an appearance at the Double-A Southern League all-star game with Latkovski in Carolina. Last season, McCoy's bookings increased to over 20 teams and this year he has had 40 teams on his schedule.
"Pretty much everywhere he goes he is a hit," Latkovski said of McCoy.
McCoy admits that he was not much of a baseball fan growing up and never imagined that his talents as a dancer would take him to ballparks in places like Albuquerque, Peoria and South Bend. But that didn't make his call to the majors leagues any less exciting, even if he wasn't familiar with a certain Hall of Famer.
"Dominic called me and said that Nolan Ryan just referred you to the Texas Rangers to perform. And I was like, 'Who is that?' " McCoy said. "Dominic said, 'One of the most famous pitchers in baseball and he wants you to perform . . . '
"It feels great. I'm really excited. At every ballpark, players ask me if I have ever done a major league ballpark. And now I'll get my chance."
Part of McCoy's routine is trying to convince the crowd that he is actually a bat boy. His performance usually begins with him on the field, dressed in the home-team's uniform, having a tug-of-war over a bat with the local team's mascot, and when they can't settle on who gets it, a dance-off ensues. McCoy wins, of course, and heads into the dugout with the bat.
A few innings later, the PA announcer asks the crowd if they'd like to see some more moves from the "bat boy." McCoy emerges on top of a dugout and does his routine before jumping back on the field to collect some bats. His evening usually ends on the concourse after the game, where McCoy meets fans, signs autographs and shows off a few more moves.
"I have gotten to go to a lot of places and meet a lot of people that I never would have without this baseball act," McCoy said. "It's great to be able to entertain people and see how they react to what I do."