I had a thrill on Friday night when I got to hang out with the Harlem Globetrotters for one of their games in Glendale, Arizona, in the Coyotes’ NHL arena.
I was actually on the floor for a while with my old buddy, LaTroy Hawkins, doing a routine with a basketball that the Trotters put together for us. LaTroy is pitching for the Brewers. We go way back to when I was 17, just getting started in baseball with the Twins. We were roommates back in 1993. So that was definitely a lot of fun, being part of our little act together.
Here I am, 34 years old, and I’m acting like I’m 10 around these guys. No matter how many times you’ve seen them – this was my fourth time in the past 10 years – they always crack you up. They contacted Tim Mead, the Angels’ PR man, and asked him if I could come out and do a skit with them. We invited them over to camp on Friday, and they entertained the guys before we went out to our workout.
Everybody had a great time, especially Bobby Abreu. He’s a part-owner of a basketball team in Venezuela, and they said they wanted to try out for Bobby’s team. Bobby’s got a great sense of humor, so he loved it.
I’ve always loved the Globetrotters. Being around them now, I have a whole new respect for what they do and the way they do it. These guys work out, eat right, keep themselves in great condition. You have to be in shape to travel the world and entertain people the way they do.
They’re on their way to England next and will be on the road for a month. Some of them have family in the Phoenix area, so they were enjoying that while they could before going back to work.
These guys are legends. They were in every household on TV, in cartoons. It was these guys and Scooby Doo for me. They had their own cartoon show, and every Saturday we’d watch them. To have a chance to hang with them, talk to them and laugh with those guys, it’s really something special.
These guys are athletes, dancers, perfectionists. They take their job very seriously, and their job is to make people laugh – kids, middle-aged people, old folks. Everybody loves the Globetrotters.
Think about all the good will and joy they’ve spread over the world, and it’s awesome, really. I was looking around the arena and parents were cracking up right along with their kids. They had that old routine where one of the guys would run out carrying what everybody thought was confetti – but it turned out to be water, and he splashed some people.
Spring Training can get a little monotonous at times, going through drills day after day when you really want to just go out and play the game. But you have to prepare yourselves right to be ready – it’s part of the deal. Lucky for me, I got one of the best breaks in the routine you could possibly imagine when the Globetrotters invited me to be a part of their show.
It’s one of those things I’ll never forget. I wish all those guys the best in their travels.