FORT MYERS, Fla. — Eduardo Escobar’s son, Eddie Jr., got a nice gift last week, and it wasn’t even his birthday. EEJ was presented with his dad’s “hoverboard,” those two-wheeled scooters that grew so popular last summer. See, his dad isn’t supposed to ride one anymore.
“Had to give it to my boy,” Escobar said Monday morning as the Twins prepared for their third full-squad workout. “That’s OK. He likes riding it, too.”
Not as much as his father, and about a dozen other Twins, did during the final month of the 2015 season, when relief pitcher Ryan O’Rourke set off the hoverboard craze among his teammates by riding one around the clubhouse. Pretty soon, nearly every member of the bullpen owned one, and Miguel Sano helped his teammates acquire more.
But there was always a vague air of danger about them, considering most people fall off them several times while learning to ride. The Twins were especially entertained by Mike Pelfrey’s awkward attempts to stay upright, but Twins manager Paul Molitor decided not to wait for the first broken wrist or sprained ankle to institute a new rule. These guys earn millions of dollars, after all, so their health is paramount.
“They just seemed a little too dangerous,” said Molitor, who banned the contraptions from Minnesota’s clubhouse this spring. “The guys had fun with them, but you’ve got to be aware that someone could get hurt.”
Nobody ever did, but the two-wheeled traffic in the clubhouse could get pretty heavy. Their absence is a noticeable change this spring.
The Twins took their spring physicals this morning before the workout. Tomorrow is picture day, when the players wear their regular-season uniforms so baseball-card companies, TV and newspaper photographers, and MLB can take new player pictures.