Adrian Beltre, whose father-in-law in California took the day off as part of the national boycott by immigration activists, got Seattle’s foreign-born Latin players together to tell Hargrove they felt honor-bound to honor the boycott, too.
Eddie Guardado, American-born but whose father was born in Mexico, acted as the spokesman for the group, which included Yuniesky Betancourt (Cuba), Beltre (Dominican Republic), Jose Lopez (Venezuela), Rafael Soriano (Dominican Republic), Roberto Petagine (Venezuela) and Julio Mateo (Dominican Republic).
The group asked Hargrove for a moment to talk in his office. Hargrove ushered them in, and Guardado broke the news that the group wasn’t going to be able to play.
“Three times he asked, ‘Are you serious?’ ” Beltre said. “He really bought it.”
Guardado, usually the best of the Mariners at holding a joke in, was the one who gave it away finally. When Hargrove finally realized he’d been had, a huge roar of laughter came from his office, and the players were beside themselves with a case of the giggles.
“For the longest time, I didn’t buy it,” Hargrove said. “But there was about 15 seconds where I thought they were on the level. But then Eddie gave it away.”
Yes, he’s been giving it away quite a bit, recently. But kudos to the M’s on the finest prank they’ve played since they sent Ken Phelps to the Yankees.