ST. PETERSBURG, Fla -- It is just past 8 a.m., and in sleepy spring training clubhouses across the game, morning-hating players are dumping cream into their coffee and grunting their hellos before another day of drills.
|The D-Rays ditch the weights, give yoga a try during camp. (Provided to SportsLine)|
A few of the Rays are here because they're curious and open-minded.
A couple surely are here for the same reason pitcher Shawn Camp is -- his wife "encouraged" him to participate.
And some undoubtedly are attending because they misheard that little voice in their head and thought it was John Belushi shouting "Toga!"
"It's crazy, a bunch of grown men," Camp says. "At first, we were looking at each other like, 'What are we doing?' But now we're getting our moves down.
"I think we'll be ready for that dance show real soon, Dancing with the Stars."
Or at least they'll be prepared for baseball's regular season. They hope.
Really, once you get past yoga's girly image -- not exactly easy in the Maxim-reading atmosphere of the clubhouse -- it makes all the sense in the world. Why did baseball frown on weight-training for most of the 1900s? Because it's a game of flexibility, and weights were thought to inhibit that. Yoga is all about flexibility. Duh.
Could yoga help the D-Rays get out of the AL East cellar?
No: It's quite a reach
Yes: Increased flexibility
Maybe they should try pilates
Total Votes: 3,541
"I think as more guys try it, it's going to become more mainstream, like weight-lifting did in the 1970s," says forward-thinking Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon, who has practiced yoga in the past but has not attended the voluntary sessions here. "Guys stayed away from it because it was supposed to make you muscle-bound. Then people saw it could help, but it's gotta be baseball-specific.
"I think with yoga, you have to be baseball specific, too. And I think at some point somebody will be having a good year, and someone will ask him, 'What do you attribute it to?' and he'll say, 'My yoga.'
"And then I think you'll see people running all over the country looking for a yoga instructor."