Owen Lieber: THE Bethesda Big Train Bat Boy

by Lily Stewart

Growing up, children feel wonderment around the chance to receive a bobblehead of their favorite player, manager, or even mascot.


On Sunday night, fans got the chance to get their hands on a one-of-a-kind bobblehead of the Big Train’s bat boy, Owen Lieber.


Owen Lieber with his bobblehead Sunday Night (Lily Stewart)

Lieber joined the Big Train as a bat boy in 2019 and has been an integral part of the team ever since. From collecting bats, picking up foul balls, running gear back and forth and even leading the crowd in Pump It Up at the beginning of the ninth-inning, Lieber does it all.


“It’s very cool to have my own bobblehead. I’m so grateful and honored to have a night dedicated to me and I appreciate everybody that’s allowed me to get to do this,” said Lieber.


Lieber has been attending Big Train games since he was four. His mom, Amy Matush, quickly realized that this was one of the only things that young Owen would sit still for.


By attending home and away games frequently, Owen got to know the players, coaching staff and interns well. When it was time for the previous bat boy, Greyson Fletcher, to step aside, it wasn’t long before manager Sal Colangelo asked Owen if he would like to try out.


“He’s always up, he’s never down. He always comes in with a smile on his face,” said Colangelo.


Amy and Owen both recounted their favorite memories from their time with the Big Train. Owen’s was when the team won the championship last year.


“When we won the championship last year has got to be my favorite memory. That was one of the best years that I think I’ve had as bat boy here,” said Owen. “I just enjoy meeting all the players and seeing some of them play in the MLB.”


He admits that it was hard to recall his top memory as he has created countless over his six years as the bat boy. Amy agreed with Owen that recalling her favorite would be a challenge, but Owen getting to celebrate the 2019 League Win with the team stood out the most.


“Owen was in the bullpen because we were hosting a pitcher back then.…They had won the game and Owen came sprinting out. Alec Burleson scooped him up and carried him out to do the high fives with the team,” said Amy.


However, the Big Train is more than just a team for Owen. The opportunity to host players has had a tremendous impact on him.


“Coach Sal recruits great players, but he also recruits great humans who care about their families, the sport, and their grades. It’s nice to have players in our house that focus on working out and getting a good night's sleep,” said Amy. “Owen loves baseball the way he does because of the players on the Big Train.”


While it’s easy to see the impact the players have made, Owen's impact on the team is just as large even if it may not be as easily noticed to the regular eye.


“The boys love him like a brother, and I love him like a son,” said Colangelo. “He makes a difference with these guys. He believes in them. He tells them that he believes that. From a guy that young, if you have a conversation with him, he will look you straight in the eyes like you are best friends.”

Owen Lieber signing his bobblehead for a fan (Lily Stewart)


Owen’s extended family traveled from all over the country to be at Shirley Povich Field to honor him Sunday night, in addition to collecting his bobblehead. Unfortunately, one very special member was not in attendance physically but was spiritually: his grandfather.


Owen showed up to Sunday's game wearing his grandfather’s dog tags.


“My dad wears them a lot like as my grandpa's here with him, and tonight he wanted me to wear them so that he could be here with me,” said Owen.


The entire Bethesda Big Train organization is what it is because of Owen. No one leaves without being touched by Owen’s outgoing character and radiant smile.