Pity the bright orange Gatorade machine that once graced the home dugout at the friendly confines of Wrigley Field on Chicago’s north side. All it did was faithfully dispense the flavored electrolyte renewer, and for this it was punished and then banished. Cubs infielder Ryan Theriot did a tongue-in-cheek interview about it, calling the Gatorade dispenser “the rock of this team right now”.
A few weeks back, Cubs pitcher Ryan Dempster was having one of his frequent “bad days” at work, and after coming off the field mid-game he relieved his frustration on the hapless machine, pummeling it with his glove and kicking it.
A few days later, another Cubs pitcher, Carlos Zambrano, unleashed one of his frequent displays of rage against the machine, smashing it again and again with his bat. As pitchers go, “Big Z” wields a pretty good bat, but when he fails at the plate, he often returns to the dugout in a rage.
You would think after being pummeled by Dempster and then assaulted with a deadly weapon by Zambrano, the cheery orange machine would have given in. Nope. Cubs skipper Lou Piniella said it was whacked up…..sometimes dispensing fruit-flavored Gatorade when you pulled the “water” tap…but it still worked.
Then, when the team went on the road last week, Cubs brass ordered the brave Gatorade machine removed from the dugout, and the standard-issue water fountain (“bubbler”, if you prefer) put back in the cherished spot next to the tunnel leading to the locker room.
Jock-sniffers defend the childish (and dangerous) actions of these pro athletes as “part of their competitive nature”. White Sox player Carlos Quentin, after failing in an at-bat last season, smashed his hand into his bat and missed the rest of the season with broken bones in his hand. And stories of jocks who can’t control their emotions and end up injuring themselves are legion.
After this weekend’s series between the White Sox and Brewers, I have a suggestion.
Instead of a bright orange Gatorade machine in the Cubs dugout, they should hire failed former Brewers pitcher Manny Parra (who was sent directly to the minor leagues after giving up six runs in the second inning Saturday) to sit in the dugout where the “bubbler” is.
Then, when a Cubs player does something asinine on the field….like Milton Bradley catching a fly ball to right field with one out and then tossing it into the stands- like he did Friday….he can come back into the dugout and relieve his rage on Parra.
This arrangement would assure Parra of continued employment in Major League Baseball and make me feel much better about the Brewers ability to judge pitching talent.
By the way, where IS Ben Sheets????