MESA, Ariz. -- When the Cubs came onto the field for pregame stretching on Tuesday, third baseman Aramis Ramirez yelled at Tim Buss, the strength and conditioning coach.
"Aramis says, 'Bussy, what's your car doing on the ramp?'" Buss said. "I said, 'That's not my car,' and then I said, 'That's my car.' I thought they'd lost their minds."
What Buss saw was his wife's car, a 1995 Nissan with 106,000 miles on it, turned to junk. It was parked on the ramp near the right field corner of HoHoKam Park and completely demolished. It had dents everywhere, courtesy of a few free-swinging Cubs, and the trunk was somehow rolled up. It was totally undriveable.
"It's a shame," Cubs pitcher Jon Lieber said, as deadpan as he could.
Of course, Buss had a list of suspects. He figured Lieber, Kerry Wood and Ryan Dempster were involved. Third-base coach Mike Quade was one because Buss said his "hands were more blistered than usual." Buss has a love-hate relationship with the players and staff.
The ordeal wasn't over. As Buss was headed to the weight room, the players called him over.
"What are you going to do now -- set me on fire?" he said.
What they did was present Buss with a new silver Nissan Xterra compact SUV.
"I thought they'd lost their minds," Buss said when he saw his battered car. "I thought I'd have to call Dr. Phil. Have a team meeting. I didn't know what they were doing this morning. It's unbelievable they would [give me] this."
Dempster presented Buss with the new vehicle.
"He said, 'Quit pouting and get in your new car,'" Buss said. "It's funny -- my wife and I were looking for a new car this offseason."
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.