Coaches Consider Calling in the Mariachi Band…Again

Fantasy Camp coach and former Royals catcher John Wathan has decided that it doesn’t really matter if eight of the 12 players on your team are returning campers. Nor does it matter if the team is led by three former Major League Baseball players, including a Hall of Famer.

In the end, to win ball games – even at a Fantasy Camp – it’s simply a matter of you either have it or you don’t.

“For our team, it’s definitely a lack of talent we are dealing with,” laughed Wathan on day four of camp. “We’ve got one more game Friday morning, so I guess we’ll just cross our fingers and see how that turns out.”

Sharing coaching duties with George Brett and Bill Pecota, Wathan is helping lead a team that is very similar, but not exactly like the one he coached last year – the one that didn’t win a single game. Through the first four days, they have won just one game…barely.

“One night last year, George, Bill and I went to the Rio Mirage Café here in Surprise (Ariz.) for a Mexican dinner,” Wathan said. “They had a very entertaining Mariachi band that we decided to bring with us to the field the next day for some entertainment since our team wasn’t very ‘entertaining’ to watch. Well, I hate to admit it, but we might need a repeat performance from the band this year.”

Heading into the final stretch, this year’s Fantasy Camp has elements that are quickly making it stand out from years past. First, there were the changes in the Kangaroo Court hearings with the addition of a new “judge” (see Wednesday’s entry). Then, the Royals Fantasy Camp welcomed some outside competition, scheduling each of the Royals six teams to play against a team from the Texas Rangers Fantasy Camp. According to Wathan, that’s when the extra scoop of “ugly” play – not to mention a 21-1 whooping – was handed down.

“(The Rangers) team is a bunch of ringers,” Wathan said. “Texas has fantasy camps all over the place and here, against us, they are definitely fielding an all-star team.”

But, even a field of Texas “ringers” and a 20-run loss couldn’t keep the former big leaguer from still enjoying his role at camp. Joining the other 17 alumni, Wathan took the field Thursday to do some entertaining of his own, playing in a series of campers-vs.-alumni games – three teams playing three innings each. Although, Wathan admits the Alumni Games always leave him a little sorer each year, he wouldn’t trade suiting up with his old playing buddies again for anything.

“I really don’t know who has more fun at these camps,” Wathan added. “Sometimes, like today, I feel like it just might be us alumni.”

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