Washington Nationals veterans conducted their annual hazing of the team's rookies today, forcing their humiliated teammates to dress up in Washington Nationals uniforms.
"I know it's all in good fun and every team hazes their rookies every year," said rookie pitcher Ross Detwiler. "But I was hoping for something less embarrassing and degrading. Like maybe having to dress up in lingerie. Or drink bull semen. Anything but this."
Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman said he was forced to put on a Nationals jersey when he was drafted by the franchise in 2005 and he's going to make sure every young player who comes after him has to go through the same thing.
"This puts them in their place and it teaches them a lesson about life," said Zimmerman. "It teaches them that life sucks. Do you think I wanted to wear this uniform? Of course not. It torments me every day. But watching other people suffer through the same emotional pain brings me some relief."
And while Zimmerman says the annual rookie hazing will continue, he did think this year's ritual went a bit too far, as several Nationals rookies began weeping and begging for mercy. Rookie shortstop Ian Desmond, not understanding that he didn't have to keep the uniform on forever, picked up a cinder block and jumped into the team's whirlpool to try to drown himself.
"We didn't want anyone to die," said Zimmerman. "Only die inside."
Detwiler said the veterans succeeded.
"It wasn't just that we had to put Nationals uniforms on," he said. "We have to do that for every game. It's that they made us go out in public with them on and wear them home. I've been telling my friends and family that I work as an accountant. But then today I show up in a Nationals jersey. I'll never be able to shake the look of shame that was in my parents' eyes."