MLB: Spring training has sprung, and so will the jokesters

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - AUGUST 28: Kris Bryant #17 of the Chicago Cubs has a laugh with teammate Kyle Schwarber #12 before a game against the New York Mets at Citi Field on August 28, 2019 in New York City. The Cubs defeated the Mets 10-7. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - AUGUST 28: Kris Bryant #17 of the Chicago Cubs has a laugh with teammate Kyle Schwarber #12 before a game against the New York Mets at Citi Field on August 28, 2019 in New York City. The Cubs defeated the Mets 10-7. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images)
(Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images) /

MLB: Spring training has sprung, and so will the jokesters

A Car Demolition and a Cell Phone Number

Sometimes a prank only looks cruel at first. Twelve springs ago, a Cubs strength coach, Tim Buss, walked out to the parking lot to see his already beat-up old car left looking as though it survived a tank assault. It was also left with the bats and balls used to demolish it. The heartbroken Buss began pondering suspects when pitcher Ryan Dempster led a group of players to own the demolition—and present Buss a brand new Nissan Xterra.

Other times, a young MLB player spots a veteran worth emulating and learns the hard way how not to do it, as the Cubs’ Javier Baez did. “My first spring, I was following Alfonso Soriano‘s routine and hanging out with him, and [pitcher] Matt Garza thought I was big-leaguing everyone,” he told Rogers. “So they got my car and put a big sticker and stuff on it. It said, ‘Rookie on board.’ I had to ride my car like that for a week. It was fun, to be honest.”

Even rookies who become the game’s best players learn the hard way. When Trout was a rook and talked up during then-Angels manager Mike Scioscia‘s team meeting, pitcher Jered Weaver had Trout’s number: Weaver arranged for the scoreboard to flash Trout’s cell phone number multiple times during that day’s exhibition game. Perhaps needless to say, Trout changed his number post haste.