By Kirby Arnold
I’ve always been intrigued by the cars the ballplayers drive, mostly because I’m a classic-car nut. Lots of guys drive nice SUVs and pickups (dressed up, of course) and there’s the occasional Mercedes and Porsche, along with a couple of really nice Challengers that you know were purchased with some minor league signing bonus money.
The past two years, we could hear former bullpen coach John Wetteland coming from a mile away in his low-slung Lamborghini, and last year Milton Bradley drove a two-tone Bentley convertible that turned a lot of heads. We don’t know what Milton is driving this year, although I’m sure it has att-i-tude.
We rarely see the players driving true classic, god-bless-America muscle cars. Royce Ring’s ’53 Chevy is the first in a long time.
Several years ago, Scott Spiezio tooled around in a 1967 Corvette, and Carlos Silva’s wife bought him a highly modified 1968 Mustang which was one of the cars used in the movie Bullitt (Side note on that one: Last time I talked with Silva, he hadn’t driven that car because he didn’t know how to work a manual transmission). During Silva’s final season with the Mariners, famed car designer Chip Foose visited him at Safeco Field to review plans for a customized Ford GT-40 he was building for Silva.
A few notes before the Mariners go outside for their workout.
• Speaking of Royce Ring, here’s my story on him in today’s Herald. He talks about the change he made to a sidearm delivery a few years ago, along with the medical scare he had two weeks before spring training when he had his appendix removed.
• It’s looking like the Mariners will be joined by one other element for their first full-squad workout on Saturday – rain. There’s a 70 percent chance of it, which means a lot of the work may take place in the covered batting cages and bullpen areas closest to the clubhouse. The Mariners have been working out on the four-field “cloverleaf” at the lower end of their complex. The sun was shining for a while this morning, although clouds have drifted in and it’s pretty gray, with a good chance of it getting grayer (and wetter) around here by tonight.
• Japanese reporters are here, which means Ichiro Suzuki can’t be far behind. Ichiro is scheduled to take his physical exam this afternoon and, most likely, won’t conduct his annual pre-camp gathering with reporters until Saturday.
• Catcher Steven Baron says he is much more at-ease in this camp than last year, when he was a wide-eyed 19-year-old taking pictures of his locker to send back home to his family. Baron, who played last year with the Everett AquaSox before being moved up to Class A Clinton (Iowa), said he expects to start the season in Clinton.