BOCA RATON – At a critical moment during today’s FAU baseball practice, a right-handed hitting Teletubbie hit a grounder to a Blue Martini at short, who fielded the ball cleanly, flipped to the donkey for the out at second, who then fired to a stretching hot dog at first to complete the double play.
There was no defense, however, for the old man with a walker who salvaged the day with a mammoth blast into a palm tree beyond the left field wall.
Gassed after the swing, the old man lacked the energy to round the bases. It’s a good thing, too. Considering the speed with which he was moving, the trip might have taken a few days.
Almost anything goes at FAU baseball’s annual Halloween practice.
“It breaks it up a little bit,” said coach John McCormack, dressed as Fred Flintstone. “The guys are grinding though the fall, classes and all the stuff we asked them to do, so we take half of one day and allow them to kind of have some fun.”
Players dressed as movie characters, cartoon characters, animals and celebrities.
“This is awesome,” first year FAU athletic director Brian White said. “I actually just heard about it a few hours ago. I had to come down and see it.”
McCormack begins touting the Halloween practice early in the fall.
“I bring it up in the first meeting,” McCormack said. “We go over the fall schedule and I bring it up, Halloween. No, no, you guys don’t understand, you’ve got to put some effort into it.”
Perhaps the gutsiest getup went to Dustin Reville, who wore, essentially a Depends undergarment, a bib, and nothing else as his baby costume.
“That took some guts,” McCormack said. “He pulled it off though.”
Eric Keating and Diamond Johnson teamed up as the combo of the Woody Harrelson (Billy Hoyle) and Wesley Snipes (Sidney Deane) characters from the 1992 movie “White Men Can’t Jump.”
“Some of the movie references, you think that they are too young to know,” McCormack said. “The White Men Can’t Jump, those guys, it’s pretty good, But that movie has to be 25 years old. It was out of the theaters before they were born.”
Could players with exceptional costumes actually earn more playing time come the spring when season starts?
“Possibly,” McCormack said. “It all matters. Part of the evaluation process, the last thing on the last column, it is Halloween costume.
So it’s a baseball skill?
“That’s the sixth tool,” McCormack said. There you go.”
For White, baseball was the second practice he attended on Wednesday. Earlier in the day he dropped in on the football Owls as they prepared for Saturday’s game against rival FIU.
White joked that, after seeing baseball’s practice, he was a little concerned that Lane Kiffin and the football Owls didn’t wear their Halloween costumes during practice.
“I’ve got to say, a little bit,” White said. “I’m going to talk with Lane about it later.”