Dodgers First Practice with Mark McGwire
By Derek Taylor Kent
I wasn’t there, so I have no idea if this is how it went, but I’m pretty sure this exchange is how the Dodgers’ first hitting practice with Mark McGwire went down.
The Dodger team is gathered in the clubhouse. MARK McGWIRE enters, muscles bursting through his tight Dodger tank top and carrying a cartoonishly large baseball bat over his shoulder.
McGwire: Good morning, ladies. I’m your new hitting coach Mark Mc-You-Know-Exactly-Who-I-Am. Under my tutelage, each of you will hit more home runs than you can count up to. I hit 985 home runs in my career, so I think I know what I’m talking about.
Andre Ethier: Um, I thought you hit 583.
McGwire: Wrong, Frenchie! In my day the players union was on strike half the time, whether we said so or not. I did the calculations and 985 is what I would have had barring the strikes. Now hold onto your hats, because I’m about to tell you the secret to my success. I had a little help from my friend right here – Homer Gary Homerson.
McGwire unscrews a lid on his cartoonishly large bat and a pile of pills spill onto the floor.
McGwire: Also known as HGH.
Carl Crawford: Whoah, is that Human Growth Hormone? Guys, don’t even breathe or we could all test positive.
McGwire: Test positive? What does that mean?
Matt Kemp: Don’t you know? HGH is illegal. They test us, like, three times a day for it.
McGwire: Well shoot. Nobody sent me that memo. Hm. I guess we’re screwed.
Matt Kemp: That’s not true. With proper conditioning, nutrition, and tr—
McGwire: Sorry, Shemp. I’ve done the research and it’s physically impossible to hit a ball more than 300 feet without the muscle juice.
Adrian Gonzalez: Hey, I hit forty home runs in 2009 drug free.
McGwire: Oh yeah? And how many did you hit last year?
Adrian Gonzalez: Eighteen.
McGwire: Eighteen? And you were just thirty years old?! When I was forty-five I hit eighty-nine home runs in one playoff series.
A.J. Ellis: This is ridiculous. Hitting isn’t about home runs. It’s about discipline. If we stay patient and draw walks—
McGwire: Nobody on my team is drawing any bull$%# walks! We hit dingers. And you can’t hit dingers unless you swing at darn near every pitch.
Don Mattingly enters from his office.
Don Mattingly: Hey, I know a thing or two about hitting. I could—
McGwire: Get back in your office, Mattingly! You’re still in timeout.
Don Mattingly: Yes, sir.
Don Mattingly exits.
McGwire: Okay, I’m going to work on a way to sneak some HGH into your sunflower seeds. Until then, let’s—
Yasael Puig stumbles into the room.
Yasael Puig: Sorry I’m late. Next time I will drive here faster.
McGwire: Sweet Mary, that’s a strange accent. Where you from?
Yasael Puig: Cuba.
McGwire: Cuba?! This is Dodger Stadium, not Guantanamo Bay. Get down to the minors!
Dee Gordon: But coach, he’s hitting almost .600 this spring.
McGwire: Holy smoke, you’re skinnier than a fungo bat. Get down to the minors!
Mark Ellis: But coach, he would lead the league in steals if he played just half the games.
McGwire: Last I checked stealing is illegal. Minors!
Hanley Ramirez: That’s it! I’ve had enough!
Hanley Ramirez angrily approaches McGwire but stubs his toe on the bench.
Hanley Ramirez: Ow! I stubbed my toe! Sorry guys, I’m out for the year.
The pitching staff enters.
Clayton Kershaw: Hey guys, what’s the hold up? It’s time for batting practice.
McGwire: Pitchers, I’m glad you’re here. I just have one bit of advice for you. If you ever throw at someone’s head and they charge the mound, don’t be a p$%#y. Lower your shoulder and barrel into them like you’re Ray Lewis.
Zach Greinke: Yes, sir!
McGwire: That’s the spirit. Now here’s a standing order. None of you are allowed to hit more home runs than Clayton Kershaw this year, got it?
All Dodgers: Yes, sir!