May 22, 2017

Rambling On About My Glory Days: April Fool’s Day

December 20, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

As baseball people know, April fools day lands near the end of spring training each year. The end of spring training is a very nervous time for most players. Obviously, this is when major league teams have to cut down to the twenty five man roster for the beginning of the regular season. Players, who are on the bubble, walk around the clubhouse hoping not to hear their name called. Unfortunately, I was a “bubble boy” my whole career. Some years I kind of knew what was coming, whereas in other years, I could not get a read on what to expect. There were always rumors of possible trades that were being considered and that might impact making the team or not for bubble guys. There was so much going through a players mind at this time, especially those with families who were packed and ready to go somewhere, but not sure where. Of course, the worst was when a player had to call his family and tell them to unpack the car  – “I have been released.” Anyway, I think you get the point and I will save all my bubble situations for another day.

Getting back to April fools day – that was another time when no one knew what to expect, but everyone pretty much knew that pranks were going to be pulled on this day. The source of this one was totally unexpected.

(Dodgertown, around the turn of the 1980’s decade) – Our great and always entertaining Dodger manager, Tommy Lasorda, had a coach call the “up and coming” great hitter Pete Guerrero into his office. Not many players took much notice because Pete seemed pretty untouchable with his previous minor league statistics and his enormous potential. Guerrero exits form the office and is obviously much shaken, “I”ve been traded to the Toronto Blue Jays,” he announces. Shock goes through the locker room before guys begin to go over to Pete. You may recall back at this time in baseball, the Los Angeles Dodgers were considered to be far and away one of the best places to play. Being traded to Toronto was like being sent to the Siberian desert, in comparison. His close friends go to him and console him with the usual talk when someone has been traded, “Hey, this is a great opportunity for you” and “They must have really wanted you.” Others just walk over to him, shake his hand and wish him good luck.

Time passed and it must have seemed like forever to Pete, when Lasorda walks in and yells to Pete and all, “April Fools.” Laughter breaks out everywhere and it is obvious that some players were made aware of the gag beforehand; Pete and many others, like me, were not. Such great memories and fun, until a few days later when I got the call “Perconte, Lasorda wants to see you in his office.” The only problem was it wasn’t April Fools day.

Former major leaguer Jack Perconte is the author of The Making of a Hitter (http://jackperconte.com) and has a baseball instruction blog that can be found at www.baseballcoachingtips.net. He has recently published his second book Raising an Athlete – How to Instill Confidence, Build Skills and Inspire a Love of Sport 

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