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Michael Saunders Blames Neverending Prank For Batting Woes Thursday, May 5, 2011

Posted by mrgenre in Mariners.
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Photo courtesy zimbio.com

On the outside, Eric Wedge seems like a typical, no-nonsense manager on which baseball tradition has been founded.  His discussions with the media are meager when frustrated and to the quick when trying to induce change in his lineup.  But unknown to many outside of the Mariners’ clubhouse is a kiddish prankster gone awry.  Unfortunately, Michael Saunders is more familiar with the latter portrait of the first-time Mariners skipper.

“It started with the nickname,” Saunders explained in an exclusive interview Wednesday night after a 5-2 loss to Texas where Saunders struggled 0 for 3 with 2 strikeouts.

While he wouldn’t reveal it, we found out from other players that “Colonel Saunders” was the unfortunate pseudonym to which the young outfielder eluded.

“But soon, I was greeted by buckets of chicken in front of my locker before every batting practice,” Saunders continued. “I would find mashed potatoes in my batting helmet.  My socks were being seasoned with 11 original herbs and spices.  I couldn’t even concentrate without smelling chicken somewhere.”

Hitting Coach Chris Chambliss noticed a change in Saunders’ demeanor not long after the season began.

“At first, I thought he was binging on his diet,” Chambliss told us.  “The kid was practically sweating fried chicken.  But eventually, he filled me in on the prank.  I think he could have fought past Wedge’s zany antics if it hadn’t gone to the next level.”

Saunders refused to elaborate, nearly breaking into tears at the question, but interviews with his teammates revealed a series of ongoing chicken-related abuses inside the clubhouse.  Live chickens were put in his hotel room on the road.  Boullion cubes were hidden in his water bottle.  During closed batting practice sessions, Wedge would throw buttered biscuits at Saunders’ head when he was trying to readjust his struggling swing.  And worst of all, Wedge wouldn’t even allow teammates to talk to Saunders after a while.

“A couple weeks ago, during that closed door meeting, Wedge issued an ultimatum declaring that none of us could talk to Saunders,” an anonymous teammate reported.  “Instead, we were only allowed to bawk at him like a chicken if he talked to us.  The guy was going nuts after the first day.  It’s too much for anyone to take.  I even heard he asked for a demotion to Tacoma the other day, but all Wedge would do is bawk at the poor guy.”

Wedge denied any knowledge of the situation when we confronted him this morning, but did treat us to a bucket of wings on our way out.  This reporter concludes that Saunders needs to stop making excuses and hit the frickin’ baseball.