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) /
facebooktwitterreddit
Prev
5 of 5
Next
MLB
MLB /

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

Leave it to the Hall of Famers, then?

When Ken Griffey, Jr. was still a Seattle Mariner and Lou Piniella was his manager, Griffey lost a bet with the skipper that would cost him a steak dinner. Junior sent Piniella the meat on the hoof, literally: Piniella walked into his office the next day to find a live cow reposing therein.

No bull, it beats the living hell out of a fake arrest warrant. The kind slapped on then-Milwaukee Brewers catcher Gerald Laird in spring training 2007, when his teammate Jerry Hairston, Jr. arranged for two friends with la policia to hand him a warrant for unpaid child support and lead him out of the clubhouse in handcuffs and tears—until Hairston let Laird know it was a gag the moment he was plopped into the back of the squad car.

More from MLB News

On the other hand, fake trades are still good for laughs, even when they involve pending World Series champions such as Kyle Kendrick, a pitcher with the 2008 Philadelphia Phillies. That fine spring training, several Phillies strained to keep their sober faces when Kendrick was handed documents to sign finalizing a trade to the Japanese leagues. (Kendrick, alas, didn’t get to pitch that postseason due to ineffectiveness when his sinker became too predictable. But he did get his ring.)

“They had his agent in on it, the media in on it, his mom in on it,” said Wes Helms, who opened that season with the Phillies before he moved to the Florida Marlins in April. “He thought he was traded and the look on his face—I mean you can’t—that’s something I’ll always remember. Everybody held their face for a good fifteen minutes.”

Imagine Kris Bryant‘s face, then, when he decided to have himself a workout at College of Southern Nevada before leaving for spring training two years ago, with a crew for the Red Bull energy drink filming it.

First, a shaggy-looking sound man for Red Bull asked if Bryant needed hand sanitizer after swinging off a tee. Then, the sound man offered to throw him live batting practice. Bryant refused at first until the Red Bull people and Bryant’s agent convinced him to let the sound guy try. After the BP round ended, the sound guy asked Bryant to autograph a bat.

“Just make it out to Greg Maddux,” the sound guy said.

It took the crew’s laughter to make Bryant realize he really did just take live BP with the Hall of Famer throwing to him.

Next. Top 50 MLB Prospects from 2010: Where Are They Now?. dark

“I was acting mad when he kept hitting them off the pitching screen so I started throwing curveballs,” said Maddux, like Bryant a native of Las Vegas, “but he didn’t swing at them! The guy’s trained too good.”