Song and dance men: Bucs hold 'Pirate Idol'

Players with less than a full season of big league experience perform for judges

Song and dance men: Bucs hold 'Pirate Idol'

BRADENTON, Fla. -- The Pirates held a clandestine singing competition Thursday morning, but there is no secret why "Pirate Idol" was staged.

When Neal Huntington took over as the club's general manager, one of his first edicts in 2008 was doing away with a popular Major League rookie ritual -- making first-year players don outrageous costumes for a late-season road trip.

"Pirate Idol" was this spring's way of a clubhouse full of players enjoying some quality time and developing some camaraderie.

The affair was totally hush-hush, but according to the buzz of flies on the locker room wall, all players with less than a full season of big league experience performed song and/or dance routines in front of six judges. Josh Harrison channeled Ryan Seacrest, emceeing the show.

"I just don't believe in demeaning anybody you're going to count on in important situations," Huntington explained his reasoning behind eliminating the wardrobe malfunctions. "This is something the entire team can have fun with, without really singling anybody out."

The judges' decision isn't yet known. They were to think about it overnight ... or at least over batting practice, which immediately followed.

Jung Ho Kang apparently proved to be predictable: The early word on the baselines was that he indeed delivered "Gangnam Style," the YouTube-busting hit by fellow South Korean Psy.

Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. Follow him on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.