We’re used to seeing players riding buses to games. We’re not used to buses riding around players locker rooms.
When roaming the Phillies’ locker room, you’ll see something peculiar hanging above one of the pitchers’ lockers. Pitching coach Rick Kranitz calls it the Sensitive Bus.
“You know, sometimes guys get a little sensitive about things,” Kranitz said. “They start jabbing each other a little, getting under each others’ skin. It doesn’t even have to be about baseball. You have to have tough skin. The boys, they don’t ever want the bus in their locker.”
The two-foot long yellow bus has emojis of sad faces and teary-eyed faces stuck on it as a reminder to keep their emotions in check. It currently resides at Aaron Nola’s locker, but Kranitz says that’s not from his behavior so far at spring training.
"Nobody's earned it this year and that's great," Kranitz said.
Not everyone sees this as a productive method of helping a young pitcher’s confidence. Tim Malcolm of Philliesnation.com is one of them.
“Some may think it’s a good idea to keep players in one mindset, not to get carried away emotionally, etc., but I personally believe expressing one’s emotions is a good thing,” Malcolm wrote. “It’s healthy, natural and, without doing so, can really harm oneself and others.”
To the team, it seems it’s more of a fun and light-hearted thing to liven up the clubhouse.
“If somebody gets on somebody's nerves and there's some sensitivity, I'll just go get it and put it in their locker,” Kranitz said. “Hey, I might put it in my own locker.”
The Phillies could use something to smile about. At just 1-6 so far in spring training, they’ll face the Rays (4-3), Orioles (1-5), Pirates (0-4) and Blue Jays (2-4) to finish out the week.