Tales from the clubhouse: Magnus’ moment

If baseball resumes in 2020, it will almost certainly do so with restricted access to the clubhouse, only essential personnel allowed through those sacred doors. That’ll be a big change from the way it’s been for a long time. And it’ll ruin the possibility of any ridiculous stories like this one from happening again ...

Players often invite guests into the clubhouse before or after games. Their children or another relative. A close friend. Maybe even a furry friend.

It doesn’t happen all the time, but every once in a while, a player’s dog will find its way into the clubhouse. And for a period during the 2012 season, the Nationals clubhouse had several regular canine visitors. Ian Desmond’s young Pit Bull, Bailey, was around all the time, usually napping inside his locker while he conducted interviews a few feet away. Gio Gonz├ílez had Stitch, a small French Bulldog with attitude.

werth-intense-nlds-white-sidebar.jpgAnd then there was Magnus, Jayson Werth’s beloved Great Dane.

Magnus was a beautiful dog, dark gray and majestic. It’s entirely possible he was a miniature horse. He was that big. The Nationals wound up making a bobblehead-style figurine of Werth and Magnus, who was standing on his hind legs and was almost eye-to-eye with Jayson.

Just a great dog. Except for one infamous moment.

It was after a game, and the clubhouse was buzzing because the Nats had won. Media members were assembled on one side of the room, having just interviewed somebody. (Maybe Bryce Harper, given the location of his locker.) And then from the other side of the room, Magnus came walking in.

For those who have never been inside the home clubhouse at Nationals Park, it’s shaped like a big oval, with lockers all around the sides and two sets of TVs, couches and recliners at either end. The middle of the room is open, and there’s a large team logo on the carpet.

In hockey locker rooms, it’s against the unwritten rules to stand on or walk across the logo. I have no idea why, but you will get in serious trouble if you’re caught stepping on it. Thankfully, that rule isn’t enforced in baseball clubhouses, because it’s hard not to walk straight across the curly W logo a dozen times every day.

Point is, it’s not a sacred piece of real estate or anything. And even if it was, Magnus made sure that night to let everyone know it wasn’t.

Werth-Magnus.jpgThe dog - who apparently had spent much of the game drinking from a large bowl of water that kept getting refilled by Michael Morse - walked straight up to the logo. He lifted one of his hind legs. And he proceeded to spend the next two minutes relieving himself on the carpet.

And when I say two minutes, I’m not exaggerating. He just kept going and going and going. With force.

The entire room quickly noticed it - even if you didn’t see it, you absolutely smelled it - and all any of us could do was laugh as hard as we’ve ever laughed. Like, falling over, brought-to-tears laughter.

I do remember Drew Storen, whose locker was relatively close to the scene of the crime, walking up toward Magnus and windmilling his arm around like a third base coach waving a runner in, encouraging the dog to bring this one home.

Then, from the side entrance that leads to the training room, Werth finally looks in to see what all the commotion is about. He realizes what’s happening, looks mortified for a moment and then just starts laughing hysterically with the rest of us.

When it was finally over - and it felt like an eternity - Werth said the only thing he could say: “Wally!”

Mike Wallace, the Nationals’ beloved clubhouse manager, emerged with a couple of fresh towels and began the cleaning process.

Magnus lived a good life at the Werth home, passing away in 2017. In addition to the bobblehead, he appeared in the Nats’ pet calendar one year. He’s fondly remembered by everyone. But especially for his most infamous moment.

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