Eliezer Alfonzo was 32 and had 545 major league plate appearances stretched across six seasons. So far he’d been the perennial third catcher for the Giants, Padres and Mariners. Then last year he put up a ‘solid’ 1.166 OPS in 71 Triple-A games and everything was going right for once. He might just have had a performance-enhacing liquid to thank for his most recent call-up.
All those years in all those parks, and Alfonzo has developed quite the pre-game ritual. Once he settles down just a little from his usual loud and jovial self, Alfonzo begins his preparation for action. Pull on the uniform, one step at a time. Pull on the cleats. Check the catching gear. Once the sliding shorts are up to the armpits, there’s one last thing before he heads out of the locker room.
That’s when Alfonso pulls out his glass bottle with semi-clear liquid. Floating near the bottom is a large dead snake. Not a garter snake. Not a worm. An impressively large, very dead snake.
“Snake Juice time!” he declares to the room whether or not they care. This time, a staffer nearly vomits. Justin Smoak spits “that’s f*ing gross” into his glove. No-one moves closer. No-one wants a taste. A few people hold their noses, literally.
But Eliezer Alfonso is not fazed, and his smile does not fade. A few strong swigs of the potion and one more proclamation — “Ahhhh, Snake Juice gives me power!” Then the journeyman heads out the door.
Ready to be ready to catch.
Thanks to Ryan Divish for providing the insight and clubhouse access for this report.
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