Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Avoiding the Rookie Hazing

This is my entry for Nachos Grande's contest, Round 1. [Edit: this piece is completely fictional.]

Looking out for the veterans of the ball club.
In his mind it wasn't a matter of if he would be called up to The Show, but when.  Jaret Wright, drafted in the first round in 1994 by the Indians, already had plans for his signing bonus money.  After being named Orange County's high school football player of the year by the Los Angeles Times he had a reputation to protect.  No way in the world was he going out like the many rookie classes before, or after him.

Exhibit A: Joba Chamberlain and Ian Kennedy of the New York Yankees as rookies.

Rookie Hazing was not in his plans and he would stop at no cost to escape embarrassment.  The Flintstones movie was in theaters and the Wonderbra was just invented.  He shuddered at the thought of going back to his 10-year high school reunion with pictures of him dressed as Betty Rubble floating around on the newly created World Wide Web.

Jaret picked a few brains, made a few connections, and he ultimately decided his best way to avoid certain humiliation was to invest in a golf cart.

You see, Jaret knew that each team in The Show had their own team golf cart . . . the perfect escape vehicle!

He planned to keep his ears and eyes open and learn when the veterans of the ball club were ready to move forward with the rookie hazing process.  Jaret would then find the team's golf cart and make his escape.

Jaret had a lot of work to do before this fateful day was to come.  He first joined the National Golf Kart Racing Association while pitching his way through the minors.   He sunk a good portion of his bonus money into a couple of golf carts, had a mechanic on retainer, and found a body shop back in Orange County to help him out.

Traditionally, golf carts don't top out at more than 15 miles per hour.  Jaret, being no dummy, knew that 15 mph wasn't going to get the job done.   He took his two newly purchased golf carts back to OC and had them souped up.

Why two?  One to practice in and one to anonymously give to the Indians to replace the run-down excuse for a golf cart they had been using for the past couple of decades.  The second cart would naturally be painted to fit within the team's color scheme and be at the ballpark at all times.

During the 1997 season Jaret Wright spent a good portion of his time in between starts at the local race track in Buffalo perfecting his golf cart driving techniques.  His major league debut was so close he could smell it!  Jaret knew that to avoid being made to wear a cheer leading outfit he had to perfect the driving skills of his get-a-way vehicle.

Exhibit B: Robinson Cano as a rookie.

Jaret Wright was called up in 1997 and his plan was put to test.  He successfully was able to avoid the veterans dressing up the rookies as characters from The Lion King.

Yet, Jaret's actions led to some consequences that he had not originally anticipated.

The MLB Players Association usually doesn't turn on one of its own, but in this case the union mad an exception.  Jaret Wright would not be allowed to join the MLBPA until he had succumbed to the hazing rituals that EVERY player went through as rookie.

Jaret Wright didn't want to be a part of the silly MLBPA anyway.  As a result, Jaret spent the next ten years in the majors fearing the rookie hazing right of passage and surrounding himself with ludicrously fast golf carts.

Here's a quick a small sampling of what can be found in Jaret's 12 stall garage, which features one golf cart for each year he was in the big leagues and a Nissan golf cart he had made just in case he was traded to the Nippon Ham-Fighters in the Japaneses Baseball League.

Stall #4: Garia Edition Soleil de Minuit Golf Cart made by Porsche -- Jaret's golf cart of choice after he signed his first million dollar contract in 2000.

Stall #7:  Hummer H2 Golf Cart -- Jaret thought he had three rookies on the 2007 Padres to join him. 

Exhibit C: The Padres' rookies as Hooters Girls.

Stall #9: Inspired by the 2007 movie, Batman Begins

Stall #12: The Japanese made Nissan Electric Golf Cart

Jaret had seen some of those wacky game shows from Japan and he didn't want any part of the crazy Japanese Baseball League hazing that could possibly take place.