Hopefully, when a group of young players come together as a team, they all get along and team chemistry can develop. On Wednesday, though, a group of Royals prospects were together and came away with finger-pointing, accusations of cheating, and welts and bruises.
Breathe easy, though. It turns out that this was merely a paintball excursion.
While the official report date for pitchers and catchers isn’t until February 11, minor leaguers will end up in the training facility at various points in the offseason and many are in Surprise or headed that way now. Until other games start, though, there’s downtime.
Based on their Twitter accounts, the teams split up as so:
- Outfielder Terrance Gore (@TGO7E)
- Catcher Cameron Gallagher (@camgally3545)
- Pitcher Colin Rodgers (@crodg27)
- Pitcher Christian Binford (@RoyalPitch34)
- Pitcher Bryan Brickhouse (@BBrickhouse00)
- Outfielder Jorge Bonifacio (at least, they called themselves Team Bonifacio)
Their opponents were:
- Pitcher Kyle Smith (@Kyle_T_Smith)
- Pitcher Kyle Zimmer (@kylezimmer11)
- Pitcher Jason Adam (@Jason_Adam9)
- Pitcher Yordano Ventura (Team Ventura)
- Other unspecified players
I should add the disclaimer that these scouting reports are based on small paintball sample sizes. As would be expected, Zimmer is noted to be a “beast“, just what you’d expect from a first round draft pick. Terrance Gore warned that Zimmer will “find you” as well. At one point in the game, there seems to have been a coordinated charge towards Team Bonifacio and Zimmer may have been the mastermind. Already, he’s showing his leadership ability.
To his credit, Gore was elusive, taking advantage of his speed:
— Kyle Zimmer (@kylezimmer11) January 17, 2013
Though, you see the accusation there. Did Gore wipe paint off of himself to stay in the game? The questions didn’t stop there. Zimmer later accused Brickhouse of cheating as well. Brickhouse, however, denied the claim, stating that he had no welts as evidence of strike. So which is it? Sure, the sports world is all wrapped up in the report about Manti Te’o's girlfriend hoax, but let’s not overlook this important issue. Was Team Bonifacio cheating? Smith backed up Zimmer’s claims. Gallagher’s taunts later implied that there may have been shenanigans afoot.
In the end, Team Bonifacio won, despite the cloud of suspicion.
Gallagher suffered a hit to the mask. As a catcher, he should be used to that and had no other reported injuries.
Zimmer suffered 15 welts as a result of the failed charge gambit. Thankfully, he seems to be fine.
Smith had no welts, but did get hit in the wrist, mask and gun.
No other players made mention of further injuries.
I’d suggest following all of the above players on Twitter, as they seem to be planning another paintball showdown on Thursday. Will Team Ventura catch Team Bonifacio in the act of cheating? Will Zimmer receive payback for his claims? They’ll let us know tomorrow, I’m sure.
I’m sure the Royals probably don’t want their prospects to spend all of their time playing paintball with the potential for slips and falls present (though the same risks are present while stepping out of a shower), but these activities are opportunities to build team chemistry for whatever that’s worth. It seems to be a better way to get the team together than what the Pirates have tried to do in the past. And if nothing else, it’s entertaining to follow.