Darn screwballs! Pranks in the clubhouse
Published on: 05/11/2006
Baseball players always need to be alert — even off the field — because hijinks are everywhere. Even though it's mostly veterans picking on rookies or second-year players, the clubhouse pranks baseball players usually pull on each other are one of the game's traditions.
Braves coach Glenn Hubbard isn't immune to team pranks, as he found out when he got a letter from the N.Y. Mets.
On the Braves' last trip to Washington, D.C., right fielder Jeff Francoeur acted up on a downtown street one night. It wasn't serious and he didn't break the law, but a team veteran cajoled a D.C. policeman into coming to the team's clubhouse the next day. The officer asked Francoeur to follow him to the squad car, saying he was investigating a disorderly conduct complaint against Francoeur from the night before.
A concerned Francoeur was led away, and players in the clubhouse erupted in laughter.
Room keys are typically laid out on a desk with players' names on them when the team is on the road, and veteran pitcher Tim Hudson tries to go into the hotel first. Hudson will grab a rookie's second room key and go to the rookie's room and hide in the shower.
"First thing guys do when they get to the hotel after a trip is go to the bathroom," Hudson said. "I'll jump out from behind a shower curtain, usually with a mask on, and scare the you-know-what out of them. I've almost gotten punched before I can get the mask off."
Braves first-base coach Glenn Hubbard draws letters in the dirt in the first-base coaches box at Shea Stadium in New York. And the Mets groundskeeper always asks him to stop with no results.
One day, a registered letter signed by Mets general manager Omar Minaya and printed on Mets stationery arrived asking for a meeting with Hubbard. Hubbard took the letter to Braves manager Bobby Cox, who was in on the prank orchestrated by pitcher John Smoltz. Hubbard said, "I might get in trouble, Bobby, but I'm standing up to this guy."
After hearing how concerned Hubbard was, Smoltz said he was laughing so hard he almost wrecked his car on the way home.
• In Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium, Hubbard would crawl underneath the stadium's wide bench with a spray bottle of alcohol and spray a player's shoelaces. Then he would light the shoelaces on fire.
• If a clubhouse has black toilet seats, a player can take the paste players put under their eyes to prevent glare (eye black) and coat the toilet seat. After sitting on the toilet, a player would have a black spot on his butt and walk into the shower to roaring laughter.
• Before chartered flights, players waiting for flights will tie fishing line to a dollar bill and put it in the middle of the waiting area. "Kids see it 20 yards away and take off after it," Hubbard says. "The player would jerk the line at the last moment. You end up giving the kid the dollar."
Hubbard said the players did it to a man who chased the dollar bill several feet before he realized it was a trick. Twenty minutes later the man came back and tried to kick Hubbard and said, "You made me miss my plane."