Veterans dress rookies in zoot suits

Veterans dress rookies in zoot suits

MILWAUKEE -- Carlos Ruiz looked like a "matador," according to a smiling coach who asked not to be identified.

Chris Roberson channeled Rick James.

Shane Victorino appeared "surprisingly normal," at least according to him.

"I'd wear this out," Victorino said of his lavender zoot suit.

Despite having their six-game road trip end with a three-game sweep in Milwaukee, the Phillies found a source of levity at the expense of their five least-experienced Major Leaguers. Perhaps it would make for a happier plane ride.

After the game, Cole Hamels, Gavin Floyd, Ruiz, Victorino and Roberson found their road suits replaced with special outfits, zoot suits from Johnny Walker's, a local men's clothing store.

Each pastel outfit had its own personal flavor and came with a fedora, wigs and matching cane. Each player also suffered from some indignity, pant legs shortened or a jacket too small.

"They're styling a little bit," said veteran reliever Rheal Cormier. "They have the whole look."

This is what happens when veterans have too much disposable income. Generally, this type of thing happens later in the season, but the fact that the Phillies were going through the terminal at General Mitchell International Airport in Milwaukee -- rather than a charter bus to the plane -- made this the perfect time.

"I had to do it, too," said reliever Aaron Fultz. "We all do."

With that, Fultz launched into a tale of a rookie left-hander with the Giants, who once wore a grass skirt with a coconut bra and a flower lei. He said he didn't feel sexy in that.

Alex Gonzalez remembered wearing platform shoes and "disco" type attire during his hazing, and told of how pitcher Juan Guzman hated his so much that he wore his uniform on the plane.

"Those are some of the best outfits I've seen," Gonzalez said, trying not to laugh. "They're much better than what I had to wear. I've seen Hooters outfits, rags [for a hobo outfit] ... everything. It's all fun."

Hamels, who started Thursday's game and was decked out in a white suit with black pinstripes, said he would wear it to "All-Star Games and the playoffs," assuming he gets there.

Roberson enjoyed his lime green look, while Ruiz could barely speak regarding his red pinstriped garb, though Bobby Abreu kept quoting lines from Al Pacino's Tony Montana character in "Scarface" -- in Spanish.

Sadly, this was the second such embarrassment for Floyd and Victorino, who technically aren't rookies. In fact, Floyd wore a baby blue women's sweater last season.

What gives?

"It's OK. I'm not complaining," Floyd said, rolling his eyes. "It's probably better this way. Maybe one day, I'll be able to dish it out."

Hearing this, Cormier said, "He's still a rookie."

Pressed on the mastermind, no players or coaches would sing like a canary, though a few silently pointed digits at a pitcher in the back of the room, who appeared particularly proud of himself: Jon Lieber.

Lieber denied all involvement, and feigned shock at being fingered, but added, "This is only the beginning."

Ken Mandel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.