The Astros pranked Tyler White by parking his car in center field during batting practice
Tyler White, like most Major Leaguers, drives a really nice car. But until Saturday morning, that car was mostly hidden from public view, able to enjoy the anonymity that comes with being an inanimate object hiding out in the Astros underground players' parking garage.
But around 11:15 a.m. on Saturday, the rookie infielder's shiny white Range Rover was on full display, having been driven around the circumference of the warning track at Minute Maid Park and finding its final resting place on the center field track, directly in front of Tal's Hill.
There it sat, alone, for more than an hour, with only a smattering of A's players jogging by it as they went through their morning workout routine.
Then, a couple hours before the 3:10 CT scheduled first pitch, Astros players began to trickle onto the field for optional batting practice. White, tipped off by teammates that there was something he needed to tend to on the field, came walking out in shorts and a T-shirt, sipping a bottle of water, seemingly wondering why everyone was looking at him and laughing.
Then White turned his attention toward the outfield, where 400 feet away sat his luxury SUV.
The instigators of the prank haven't been publicly revealed, but for official comment, we turned to veteran Dallas Keuchel, reigning AL Cy Young Award winner, to speak on behalf of the team. Even if -- ahem -- he had nothing to do with it.
"Just a nice joke," Keuchel said. "Rookies get the brunt of a lot of jokes, myself included when I was a rookie. It's just all fun and games."
Maybe this is one of those stories that White will look back at and be able to see the humor, but as it was happening, well, let's just say, he wasn't exactly doubled over with laughter.
"It looked like he was a little tired, like he was a little befuddled at what was going on," Keuchel said. "We'll take care of him and he'll get over it if he's mad."
It would be understandable if the first baseman was a little miffed at the unplanned consequence of the car sitting in dead center during batting practice -- a Carlos Gomez long fly ball bounced off the roof.
"I've been working really hard to hit the ball to the middle," Gomez said. "I get excited when I hit it to the middle. Every day they need to put a car in center field so I can have a great BP."
As for damages?
"We'll take care of it," Keuchel said, indicating White would not be responsible. "As long as you don't take it out of context, it's all fun and games. It makes you a little stronger. Whitey's one of the guys we like. We'll continue to get on him a little bit and it'll make him a little tougher. We're having a little bit of fun."