5 stars! Twins reliever tips bullpen cart driver

May 22nd, 2024

Rolling along the warning track to greet relievers any time there's a pitching change, the bullpen cart is a reliable presence at Nationals Park. Most players, though, opt to jog through the outfield grass to reach the mound rather than go for a joyride in the baseball-shaped vehicle. But not Twins left-hander .

Entering in relief of starter Simeon Woods Richardson in the fifth inning of the Twins' 3-2 victory on Wednesday afternoon, Okert hopped underneath the cart’s Curly W cap and went cruising down the third-base line.

The veteran hurler had been planning to take advantage of the Nats’ ride-hailing service even before he got the call in the 'pen, and he came prepared, handing over a $5 bill as a tip for his driver before heading to the mound.

“I was carrying it the whole series waiting to get in,” said Okert. “Probably [the] eighth-ish time that I've ridden [the bullpen cart]. First time I tipped the driver, though.”

Okert’s club was supportive of his altruistic move.

“You’ve got to tip. Unless there’s a major issue, you’re going to tip,” manager Rocco Baldelli said. “We like to do things right here, treat people good. That’s it. Do it right. I’d be disappointed if we didn't.”

That good deed off the field translated to good results on the hill as Okert struck out two over 1 1/3 perfect innings to earn his first win of the season and help the Twins take the series from the Nationals -- feats that might not have been possible if he hadn’t arrived at the mound safe and sound.

“If there was an app, I would give them five stars,” Okert said. “It was a great ride in.”