It was a quiet time in the Seattle clubhouse this morning, just a handful of players and me, the always amiable beat guy.
Wladimir Balentien and Jose Lopez were playing cards, and when I asked who was winning, each said ‘I am.’ The team bus hadn’t arrived, and there were no coaches, no manager to talk to.
What could possibly go wrong?
Carlos Silva came out of the training room and I asked how his back was. He’d had spasms a night earlier, come out of the game after gritting his teeth on each pitch the final two innings – and Silva had won.
So I asked the question, and he ignored me and kept walking. Sometimes, players are focused and don’t hear you. Sometimes, they ignore you.
A few minutes later, Silva walked back across the clubhouse and as he passed, I asked again, ‘How’s your back this morning?’
"Good," he said, and kept moving.
Not exactly expansive, but straight forward. About two minutes later, MLB.com writer Jim Street entered the clubhouse and glanced around, then asked who was winning the card game. We beat guys don’t miss a thing.
"They both are," I told him.
Street saw Silva across the room and asked me, "How’s Carlos feeling?"
I told him Carlos might not be in a talkative mood, explaining our brief conversation. Silva came walking over, angry.
"If you have something to say to me, say it to me, don’t tell him," he said. "You’re always stirring up poo."
Ok, he didn’t say poo. Close enough.
"I was trying to save him and you time," I told Silva.
"You’re always stirring up poo," he said. "That’s why I don’t talk to you."
I stared at him. A confused beat guy does that. Carlos had never not talked to me before.
"Don’t ever ask me for another interview," Silva said and walked away.
I turned to Street.
"See what you started?" I asked. I thought about accusing him of stirring up poo.
And that, sometimes, is life in the clubhouse.