Florida Marlins Not First Baseball Players To Be Spooked By Ghosts At St. Petersburg's Vinoy Hotel

We like the idea that, in his final hours as the Florida Marlins manager, Edwin Rodriguez spent his time comforting relief pitchers who were terrified of ghosts. It'd be fitting for one of the youngest teams in baseball.

On a road trip to Tampa Bay to play the Rays last weekend, the Marlins-- who have won a scary-bad two games all month-- believed they were visited at St. Petersburg's Vinoy Renaissance by a poltergeist. Here's relief pitcher Steve Cishek:

USA Today elucidated:

RHP Leo Nunez was so spooked by strange noises at the team's hotel in St, Petersburg, Fla., that he spent the weekend at the home of Rays pitcher Joel Peralta, his close friend from the Dominican Republic.

Rookie RHP Steve Cishek reported hearing strange noises in his room at The Vinoy.

But this isn't the first time supernatural phenomena has stalked baseball players at the 85-year-old Vinoy, which we can only guess is haunted by a Moonlight Graham type whose own Major League career ended with him in the on-deck circle, and now he won't shut up about it.

In fact, the book Haunted Baseball-- published by the same single-minded folks behind Field of Screams-- devoted an entire chapter to the Vinoy.

Apparently, the resident ghost has a fetish for obscure relievers. Here's Cincinnati's Scott Williamson relating a 2003 experience at the hotel:

"I turned the lights out and I saw this faint light coming from the pool area. And I got this tingling sensation going through my body like someone was watching me, you know? I was getting a little paranoid.

"Then I roll over to my stomach. And all of the sudden it felt like someone was just pushing down, like this pressure, and I was having trouble breathing. So I rolled back over. I thought, 'That's weird.' I did it again, rolled back on my stomach. All of sudden, it's like I just couldn't breathe. It felt like someone was sitting on me or something."

This time when Williamson rolled onto his back, he opened his eyes. "I looked, and someone was standing right where the curtains were. A guy with a coat. And it looked like he was from the 40s, or 50s, or 30s - somewhere around that era."

The very next team to visit the Rays and stay at the hotel, the Pittsburgh Pirates, were subject to a veritable ghostly rampage.

Here's what strength and pitching coordinator Frank Velasquez remembers:

He undressed, laid down, and conked out. At around five in the morning, he opened his eyes and saw a sandy-haired, blue-eyed man standing in front of the window right by the desk. The figure was transparent and had on a white long-sleeved, button-collared shirt and khaki pants. His hairstyle suggested he was from another era.

An unnamed team staff assistant:

Struggling to unlock his door, he saw a gentleman in an old-fashioned formal suit pass by in the hall. Figuring it was the concierge, he quickly turned to ask for assistance. But the gentleman had vanished.

Bullpen coach Bruce Tanner:

As he rinsed his hair in the shower, he heard something hit the floor of the bathtub. He looked down and discovered a dime at his feet. Tanner wonders if the dime - which was from the 1960s - fell out of thin air, or if he'd bumped the towels and knocked loose the coin accidentally folded inside.

From the 1960s?! Seriously, this fucking ghost hated the Pirates:

Those accounts were unsettling enough for Jason Kendall and Alvaro Espinoza that they opted to stay at teammate Scott Sauerbeck's home in Bradenton for the rest of the series. Pirates hitting coach Gerald Perry wished he had joined them. He swears to this day that on the team's third night in the hotel, he awoke to find his room door wide open when he knew he had bolted it shut before retiring to bed. "That was a door that automatically closes itself, so that was weird" said Perry. "I always lock my door at the hotel, so I know it wasn't that I'd just forgotten. If that had happened the night before, I wouldn't have stayed there that night. I'd have slept in the clubhouse."

It's a very detailed chapter. To summarize, John Frascatore's family was terrorized by a faucet that kept turning on and off and a toilet that kept creepily flushing. Joey Hamilton and Billy Koch were spooked by flickering lights. Cito Gaston's locked and chained door kept opening in the middle of the night. Jim Fregosi's door also slammed. Toronto Blue Jays third base coach Terry Bevington told his players, oh yeah, this sort of shit always happened here when I was managing the White Sox (although to be fair, we bet he used every opportunity to bring that job up).

Brian Roberts and his girlfriend's clothes were mysteriously moved from the closet to the bed while they were at the baseball stadium.

Also, a long story happened to Jay Gibbons that resulted in this quote:

"It kind of freaked me out because the outlet was near the floor. How the hell did the plug get from down there to the top of the dresser and just stay there? Because I didn't even move the clock."

He added: "I haven't turned the lights off since at that hotel!"

Rays pitcher Jon Switzer, staying with his wife at the Vinoy after being recently called up to the Bigs, probably wins the award for Trippiest Apparition:

It was at that moment Jon and Dana believed they saw the artwork hanging above their bed come to life. The painting depicted a garden scene with a woman in Victorian dress holding a basket with her right hand. According to John, her left hand, which had been by her chin, was now scratching the glass desperately to get out.

Seriously, baseball teams: Fuck the discounted rate. Isn't there a Ritz in town or something?

With goose bumps, we called the Vinoy for comment. We spoke to Rosie, a sales executive, told her about the Marlins' horrifying recent stay and asked her what was up with all the poltergeist. She chuckled and said she would get call us back.

She never did.

Think the ghost got her?

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Gus Garcia-Roberts