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For their own good
Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
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By DAMIAN CRISTODERO
Published May 14, 2006
The Rays spent a lot of time in front of the big-screen television in their Safeco Field clubhouse in Seattle. The most vocal audience gathered to watch Maury Povich's "reality" show that used blood tests to match women with the fathers of their children. The biggest audience was for a showing of Slap Shot, Paul Newman's 1977 hockey movie about the brawling Charlestown Chiefs.
"Have you seen it?" catcher Josh Paul said. "It's hysterical. It makes a joke out of hockey and violence. That's the idea."
Paul said he knows "several to many" lines in the movie. One of his favorites, of those that can be printed, comes early in the flick when a player explains what happens when one must sit in the penalty box: "You feel shame."
Mark Hendrickson said he was very disappointed when he realized his place in the rotation would preclude him from pitching at Safeco Field. The left-hander is from Mount Vernon, a town of 27,000 about 50 miles north of Seattle and home to the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival.
Hendrickson said his mom, Barb, still lives in the house in which he was raised, and she still has some of his old trophies. He said his father, Tom, a Washington state patrol officer, was killed while on duty in a car crash with a drunk driver when Hendrickson was 5 months old.
"I enjoy coming home more than a younger version of me, who put a lot more pressure on myself to perform," Hendrickson said.
Hendrickson, who has pitched at Safeco only once, has a rich sports history in Washington. He helped Mount Vernon High to state basketball and baseball titles, and attended Washington State, where he also played both sports.
"It's such a tight-knit community," Hendrickson said of Mount Vernon. "The fishing is good. The golf is good. I cherish it."
Manager Joe Maddon said people who have tattoos or wear earings are just extending the rebelliousness that used to be defined by long hair.
Maddon said he used to keep his hair down to his shoulders in high school - so it would stick out of the bottom of his football helmet like Joe Namath's.
"He was my man, absolutely," Maddon said.
Maddon acknowledged his father "hated" his hair, as did the fathers of some of his girlfriends.
"But the more people didn't like it, the more you wanted to do it," he said.
As for the next trend, Maddon sounds both a scary and sobering note.
"The next generation, who knows what it's going to be," he said. "Maybe they're going to cut off a body part. I don't know. Or maybe it will go back to conservatism. You can only go so far until the radicalism becomes conservative at some point, so we may go full circle.
"Things keep evolving until they become so nuts, it has to be simple to be nuts."
BACK TO HENDRICKSON
The left-hander gave an extended interview to a local television station before a game with the Mariners while teammate Doug Waechter waited to play some pregame catch. As the interview wore on Waechter suggested playfully it was time to "wrap it up."
Hendrickson, noting how much attention St. Petersburg native Waechter gets at the Trop, shot back, "This isn't Waechterville."
YOU DON'T SAY
"It tells me he likes tattoos."
- manager Joe Maddon when asked what Jonny Gomes' multiple tattoos tells him about the slugger.