Angels in the bullpen

With the season winding down, it’s that time of year again where rookies have to pay their dues and honor the age old baseball tradition of dressing in embarrassing attire.

Some call it rookie hazing. Others see it as just good fun.

rookies9-9.jpgTypically, entire rookie classes must go through some sort of ritual. The Marlins relievers are getting some extra treatment from the veterans. Starting in Philadelphia and continuing through the end of the season, the rookie relievers are walking out to the bullpen dressed in angle wings and halos.

Rookie relievers Jay Buente, Jose Ceda and Chris Leroux certainly heard their share of heckling from the crowd at Citizens Bank Park.

“I’d say initially getting out there is kind of embarrassing, but once you’re out there, you get used to hearing at all the fans yelling at you all at one time,” said Buente, who wasn’t sure if he should remove the halo during the national anthem. “You couldn’t really hear any one single fan.”

Seeing the 6-foot-4, 275-pound Ceda, the Phillies Phanatic came up and gave the reliever a big hug.

“My highlight was seeing Jose Ceda hug the mascot,” Leroux. “That was my highlight.”

One Marlin, who didn’t want to be named, said: “Ceda hugging the mascot looked like two mascots hugging each other.”

The idea of wings and halos was a brainstorm of veteran Wes Helms.

Will Ohman, a veteran in the bullpen, says the rookies will wear their outfits for the rest of the season, so fans at Sun Life Stadium and other markets will be able to see the costumes.

All rookies go through some special routine. When Ohman was a rookie, he dressed as a cowgirl.

Later in the season, the position players will get into the act.

Ohman noted that since relievers don’t sit in the dugout during the games, they have to do their own special bonding in the pen.

Buente noted that he is having fun with it, because it beats the alternative — not being with a big league club in September.

– Joe Frisaro

  

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