Philadelphia, PA – Maikel Franco, called up to the Phillies for the first time this season from AAA, showed up to the Phillies clubhouse this afternoon timidly clutching a sleeping bag and wandering around aimlessly looking for his locker.
Despite having spent a few weeks up with the big team last fall, Franco looked bewildered and nervous as his teammates hustled and joked around him.
Barely bringing his voice above a meek whisper and with tears starting to well up in his eyes, Franco approached Ryan Howard and asked the veteran slugger if he could point him in the direction of his locker.
“Rookies don’t get lockers until they smell this,” Howard said, grinning as he held up a jockstrap to Franco.
Franco quickly turned and walked away from a cackling Howard. He spent the next 20 minutes watching his teammates get ready for hitting practice from the entrance of the clubhouse restroom before a bat boy escorted him to his locker.
After depositing his backpack and sleeping back in the locker room, the embarrassed and intimidated rookie reportedly took his uniform into a utility closet to change. Upon exiting, he was greeted with howls of laughter and points from his teammates, who noticed the frazzled Franco had accidentally put his pants on backward.
Quickly retreating back into the closet to fix his pants, Franco scrambled to his locker and spent the remaining time before practice quietly whispering to his Iron Man action figure.
“They’re so mean to me Tony…I want to be back at Reading with my friends,” he said to his Avengers: Age of Ultron Iron Man action figure. “Everyone is so much bigger and older…I don’t think I can do this.”
As of press time, Franco had reportedly called his mother and requested she pick him up from Citizens Bank Park and bring him home. She reminded Franco that she and his father currently live in the Dominican Republic, and for him to send money soon.