Last season the Yankees went on a field trip to a bowling alley in what was meant to be part team building exercise and part break in the monotony of spring training. Mariano Rivera dominated at pool so this season they decided to switch it up as manager Joe Girardi took them all to a video arcade where they competed video Indy Car racing, Skeeball, and pop-a-shot basketball.
“There will be three games that they are required to perform in,” he said. “We are looking for well-rounded, video arcade nuts. They will participate in Indy racing, skee and pop-a-shot. And during the time they are not participating, they are allowed to do whatever they want, play any games they want. I figure that there should be a gold medal, a silver medal and a bronze medal, but they will be in the order of gift certificates. I’m not going to buy medals.”
Other options were paintball, ping pong, bowling, and a pool party, but for one reason or another, mostly injury concerns, they opted against those.
This years winners (via Chad Jennings of the Journal News):
Winner: A.J. Burnett
Runner-up: Dana Cavalea
Winner: Andrew Brackman
Runner-up: Eduardo Nunez
Winner: Royce Ring
Runner-up: Mark Melancon
Highlights (via Mark Teixeira): “The highlights were A.J. Burnett just smoking the field in the video game racing, and Royce Ring being probably the best Pop-A-Shot basketball player I’ve ever seen,” Teixeira said. “Those two were hands-down the best at those two events.”
On Mariano not being as good today as he was at pool: “I don’t think he did as well, but I don’t want to throw him under the bus,” Teixeira said. “At pool, he was definitely head and shoulders above the rest, but these arcade games leveled the playing field a little. I won’t throw anybody else under the bus, but I’ll admit the race car game was a little difficult and I finished last in my heat.”
On the day as a whole: “It was a great day,” Teixeira said. “The fact that we get three or four hours not to have to worry about baseball and not have to compete on the baseball field, it was fun. Playing video games, we felt like kids again. It promotes a light-hearted atmosphere.
“The great thing about this kind of atmosphere is that there’s no veterans or rookies, starters or role players, Triple-A or Single-A; everyone is on the same playing field. We’re all having fun, really kind of letting our hair down and getting to know each other without competing on the field.”
It all sounded very cool. I’ll have pictures up as soon as some are available. Thoughts?