The Marlins had a fresh set of instructions up on the whiteboard for all visitors in their clubhouse to see Tuesday afternoon.
It read: “DON’T TOUCH BATS!”
Off to a 1-6 start and hitting just .211 with one home run as a team, somebody on the team took it upon themselves to grab roughly 30 to 40 bats and spread them across couches and the floor in the clubhouse. A source said the culprit was leadoff man Dee Gordon, one of the few players on the team off to a hot start.
“Someone just decided to wake all the bats up. Pick ’em up throw ’em around,” catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia said.
“It’s kind of like a baseball thing if you have a bat in your hand and it drops out of your hand you say, ‘Oh, that bat’s awake, let’s use it.’
“I’ve seen some guys take firecrackers and put it next to the bat to wake it up. It’s part of the game, it’s all fun. It doesn’t do anything, but for some guys who are superstitious it might work. Sometimes it’s just something to loosen everybody up.”
Manager Mike Redmond, who once took batting practice in the nude when he was a player to try to break the Marlins out of a funk, didn’t mind the good-natured prank to get the offense going.
“I’m up for anything,” Redmond said. “I’m hoping at this stage I don’t have to take my clothes off again. I leave that up to the players now to figure out how to motivate each other. This is a great group of guys. We all know this hasn’t started off as we planned.
“The same time, too, we have to turn the page and move on. These guys are in good spirits. I still think the key for us is just to relax. We still have some guys trying too hard, and maybe pressing a bit. It’s human nature for guys to want to not only be successful, to help their team. But at the end of the day, the quicker we can relax and just get back to being ourselves and playing our game is when we’re going to be able to turn this thing around.”
The Marlins were playing the second game of a 10-game, 11-day road trip Tuesday night against the Braves. Heavy rains in the area were expected to delay action well into the night.
First baseman Michael Morse said the Marlins’ 1-6 start is nothing to be too worried about. When he was with the Giants last season the eventual World Series champs went through a 22-30 stretch in June and July where they saw a 10-game lead in the division evaporate. The Dodgers ended up winning their division, and the Giants made the playoffs as the second wild-card team.
Making the playoffs in the end is all that matters, Morse said.
“I’m the wrong guy to talk to about losing,” Morse said. “Little things like this I think make our team stronger. The goal is to make the playoffs, not have the most wins in the regular season. At the end of the season there’s always a good story about what happened during the season. Maybe this is part of our story.”