I had a catcher on a club that I was with that was unique in many ways. His sense of humor combined with his not-so-shy antics made for a very interesting season, after season, after season. Here’s some of the things that I remember.
He’d point to the scoreboard and say …”hey look, that’s jello spelled backwards!” Over half the dugout would stare at the scoreboard trying to spell every word, number, and punctuation to see what the heck could be spelled backwards as jello.
After a miserable inning by one of our pitchers, he’d walk over to the guy, start taking off his catcher’s gear and pile the stuff in front of him and say, “here… you try it for a while!”
He’d stare at a coach’s game sheet stuck on the dugout wall, turn around in disgust and say at the top of his voice…” Oh great… we’re out of ketchup again!” It was just a quirky thing – but he was asked not to repeat the antics again. It seemed that some of the fielders would be starting into space during the game trying to figure out exactly what the guy meant.
When a pitcher of ours made a facial expression and muttered something in the direction of the home plate umpire after a call that he wasn’t too thrilled about, this guy would immediately defuse the situation by standing up – turning to the plate umpire and say …” he said… “do you want fries with that?”
During one game we went through six pitchers and lost badly. While the rotation was showering, he replaced all their towels with paper napkins. One by one they came out of the shower, found the napkins in place of their towels and said, “ I can’t use this!”. Upon which he’d say…” now you know how I felt.”
During a game we were five runs down, our catcher went into his equipment bag and pull out an issue of Sports Illustrated – swimsuit edition. Then he’d open to the center of the magazine and unfold a centerfold that only he could see. He then placed the magazine down and disappears into the dugout hallway leading to the locker room. One by one the guys in the dugout couldn’t stand the suspense any more – so they’d mosey over to the magazine, open to the centerfold and let it unfurl. There was a blank piece of paper, the full length of the centerfold that said…” WE’RE LOSING KNUCKLEHEADS – PAY ATTENTION TO THE GAME!!”
We had a guy who liked to party – a lot. During a road trip, he came in at four in the morning and was penciled in for a game that afternoon. Still reeking of sour mash, he did so–so in the bullpen, just squeaked by during his first inning, sat down in the dugout only to be greeted by our catcher with the following: “hey look… it’s trick-or-treat ….we’ve got a guy who’s dressed up as a ballplayer”. … “does your mommy know you’re out so late?” That name “trick-or-treat” struck with that pitcher all through his stint with our club.
There was one umpire on our circuit that our catcher just didn’t get along with. Maybe it was just personalities, maybe it was something that happened years ago. …. who knows. At the beginning of one game, the two met at the plate, our catcher took off his mask and extended his hand and shook hands with the umpire and offered his apologies for any remarks he may have said in the past regarding the umpire’s work. The plate ump was visually taken back by the unexpected behavior. So, after the first pitch – a ball called, our guy tosses the ball back, turns around and takes his mask off and offers his apologies for any remarks regarding the umpires work. Ball two is called - our guy tosses the ball back, turns around and takes his mask off and offers his apologies for any remarks regarding the umpires work. Ball three is called - our guy tosses the ball back, turns around and takes his mask off and offers his apologies for any remarks regarding the umpires work. The umpire calls time – confronts our catcher with his antics, upon which our guy tells the ump that his shoe is untied. The ump – with all is chest armor, has to bend down noticeably to check only to find out his shoes were just fine. “what’s the big deal with my shoes?” Our guy says he had a bet with the sports writers in the press booth that he could get the ump to bow to him at home plate. “YYYYYEEERRRRR OUT OF HERE!!!”