Only Ichiro could decide who would win the final day of the Marlins' Clubbie Olympics
Like many things in life, advancing to the next stage of the Clubbie Olympics came down to Ichiro Suzuki's approval. Ichiro was the judge during the obstacle course round on Wednesday morning, which wrapped up the Marlins' first annual Clubbie Olympics.
As part of organizational bonding, the Marlins players coordinated a playful competition for the clubhouse attendants that was spread over three days. All the players and most of the front office, watched Wednesday's finale.
Wednesday's event featured each participant first throwing a baseball through a screen, and then sprinting to first base, where there was a table filled with several unfolded towels. Ichiro was stationed at the base, serving as chief towel inspector.
But there was an extra, unplanned obstacle.
"The wind," manager Don Mattingly said. "We didn't anticipate that."
Dan Budreika, the Major League video coordinator, struggled with the wind, and Ichiro took notice. One towel didn't pass inspection, and Ichiro casually flipped it to the ground to do over.
But the home clubhouse assistant Domenic Camarda had no trouble.
"I noticed it was very windy, so I turned my back to the wind," Camarda said in a TV interview.
He also used the virtuoso "snapping of the towel technique" (known only to towel-folding masters) to eliminate all the wrinkles. Ichiro was so impressed, he gave Camarda a hug of approval before sending him to the next stage of the course.
As far as we're concerned, that's the greatest prize of all.