JARROD WASHBURN scanned the Mariners' clubhouse in Peoria, Ariz., last month and flashed a wry grin. "Everybody is fair game," he said. In his second season with Seattle, the No. 2 starter is also the team's No. 1 prankster and, along with newly arrived starter Jeff Weaver and first baseman Richie Sexson, provides the core of what may be the most levity-prone clubhouse in baseball. Consider the recently instituted fashion police, which aims to cut garishly dressed Mariners down to size. "We'll grab [a teammate's] outfit and hang it in the middle of the clubhouse for everyone to see," says Weaver. "We'll say, 'What is that? How does he wear this?'"
THE PLAYER MOST OFTEN MOCKED? Outfielder Ichiro Suzuki (left), who showed up one day at Seattle's spring training facility wearing a pink T shirt, black long-sleeved undershirt, two-toned ski cap and shiny silver sneakers. "You can't describe 'em," Washburn (left) says of Ichiro's outfits. "He says they're 'fashion.' It's some crazy stuff."
WASHBURN VAULTED INTO CLUBHOUSE LORE IN 2000, with the Angels when he strolled into the dressing room with a nine-foot-tall ostrich. The bird panicked several players and pitcher Ramon Ortiz backed into his locker shouting in Spanish. "He was saying, 'My, God, look at the big chicken!'" Washburn says.
AN OLD HAND AT SUCH BASEBALL STAPLES AS THE HOT FOOT, Washburn kept the Angels loose a few years ago when he and closer Troy Percival organized a race of gas-fueled, remote-controlled cars against infielder Shane Halter. On race day, Washburn and Percival came to the ballfield in NASCAR pit crew fire suits. Washburn, who won the World Series with the Angels in 2002, believes such antics can raise the spirits of a team that finished last in '06. Says Washburn, "It keeps everyone laughing and takes away from the grind of the season."
April 8, 2007
The Pop Culture Grid