D-Backs' Brenly Won't Let Team Get Complacent, Institutes "Child's Play" Training Regimen



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    Diamondbacks manager Bob Brenly has designed an array of team activities that he believes will prevent Arizona players from resting on the laurels of their 2001 World Series Championship. Brenly's spring training program puts an emphasis on the fact that baseball is, in essence, a child's game played by grown-ups.

     "So long as they feel like kids, these guys will have fun and try their hardest," explained Brenly, while elaborating a little on a drill he claims to have created, called ‘Duck, duck, goose!'

     "Under the duck, duck, goose! drill, players sit in a large circle in the outfield, with one player who is ‘it,' walking around the outside of the circle and patting his seated teammates on the head. Some he might call ‘ducks,' but there will be one who he will call a ‘goose.' That's really all I can tell you. I won't have other managers stealing my ideas."

     However, according to some kindergarden teachers, who prefer to remain anonymous for this story, "the goose must attempt to catch the player who patted him on the head before he takes his spot in the circle."

     Player response to the drill has been mixed: "I hate this game and have no idea what it is teaching us," lamented Tony Womack. "I patted Randy [Johnson] on the head and called him a goose, and with his long arms he was able to catch me without even getting up off the grass! If this kind of stuff keeps happening, I'm gonna make it a long season for Bob."

     "That's just boys being boys and sour grapes," answered Brenly, when told of Womack's comments.

     Most of the other Diamondbacks players seemed to enjoy the game, as it mostly entailed watching the diminutive Womack run in a circle.

     In addition to duck, duck, goose!, Brenly has had players take part in projects involving wooden building blocks. "It's a waste of time," commented outfielder Jay Bell, whose glove is safety-pinned to his shirt sleeve so that he doesn't lose it. "I just wanna do my stretches and get the hell out of this place by sundown."

     The experience has been traumatic for some players, who still have deep-seated childhood traumas that remain unresolved. Curt Schilling, for example, admitted during a shoe tying drill that he had never properly learned to tie his laces. "I've been wearing loafers and cleats with straps since the first grade," admitted the sobbing pitcher.  

     However, after a full day of watching players take part in numerous drills, this reporter tried to gauge its success. Walking around the outfield, where players lay sleeping on burlap mats, I saw more guys having good dreams than bad dreams. Only Schilling's and Womack's lips were quivering during the nap time.

     The real challenge to Brenly's plan will come tomorrow, when the manager will ask players with large contracts to defer some of their money -- so that he can contract with HK Architects to design and construct something he would only describe to TwistedFans.com as "Jungle gym."

Butch Rogaine

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