Inside ballplayers’ secret Uber identities

12:55 AM UTC

GOODYEAR, Ariz. — Uber rides can be awkward for anyone.

Sometimes they’re uncomfortably quiet. Sometimes the passenger or the driver is chattier than the other would prefer. Sometimes you’re asked a question you don’t want to answer.

Reporters spend a lot of time in Ubers, so we often talk about the conversations we’ve stumbled into. MLB.com’s Juan Toribio then brought up an interesting point: “What do Major League players say when their Uber drivers ask them what they do for a living?”

So, we asked the Guardians clubhouse. The answers did not disappoint.

Will Brennan: Real estate.

MLB.com: What happens when you get follow up questions?

Brennan: I’ve got a whole spiel. I got through a whole haircut by saying I was a real estate agent.

MLB.com: On a scale of 1-10, how believable are you?

Brennan: I feel like if they have any common knowledge, like … maybe it’s a five. Like I can fake it until I make it. I’m not embarrassed to say I play baseball. It’s just I don’t want to go down that rabbit hole. Real estate is really easy because I can go on the contracting side or the flipping side or I just sold a house. Alright, start rattling [stuff] off about the market.

Tyler Freeman: One time, Will Brennan said real estate. Then the Uber driver started asking us questions and I’m like dude, I don’t know anything about real estate.

MLB.com: What do you say when you’re asked?

Freeman: Usually I’m with a group of guys I know and we always make something up. One time it was we worked at Chipotle. One time it was we’re working construction.

Shane Bieber: Well one, I have my preferences set to no talking, like no conversation. But if the guy or girl’s a talker, it’s gonna come out eventually. I’m not that good at lying, especially about that. … But if it’s really that bad you just throw airpods in or take a call or something.

José Ramírez: I’m a gangster.

Logan Allen: Sometimes I like to say I’m in school still. Or I’m visiting my girlfriend or something like that. I would say for the most part I try not to say I play baseball because some people will just get all excited, they start talking and they tell you they played baseball in seventh grade and you’re like, “Alright.” (Allen laughs.)

Emmanuel Clase: Car mechanic.

Bo Naylor: I don’t say a different profession, just because I don’t want to lie. I just like to say an answer that takes away from it. Something like, “It depends what you think about the job.” Then just use a bunch of filler words in between and change the topic. … I’m fine with the awkwardness at that point.

Triston McKenzie: I say I’m in the Minors. I say I’m from Australia. I say I’m from different places. It just depends on what mood I’m in. Sometimes I’m willing to actually talk about baseball, so I’ll tell them I play baseball. But sometimes I’m just like, “Nah, I’ll make stuff up.”

MLB.com: Wait, did you say Australia?

McKenzie: [Yes], Australia. I’ve said I’m from Japan, but I don’t speak Japanese. Like I was born over there. (Laughs) I said I’m from Canada. I’ve said I’m from Arizona.

MLB.com: Have you used an Australian accent?

McKenzie: Yeah. … I’ve pulled it out.

MLB.com: On a scale of 1-10, how believable is it?

McKenzie: Six. But they don’t have anything to go against so they have to believe me.

Gabriel Arias: I work at Target.

Sandy Alomar Jr.: I tell them the truth, but I’m not a player anymore. They hardly ever ask me. Most of the people are quiet right now. I’m more concerned about closing the door hard, that way they don’t rate you bad because then they won’t come pick you up.

MLB.com: Are you seriously concerned about your Uber rating?

Alomar Jr.: I was like, “How am I not a five, man?” I’m nice, I tip good. Maybe I slammed a door one day. Maybe it slipped. One time I was riding with Victor Rodriguez and Victor’s telling the guy, “You’re going the wrong way!” I was like, “Victor, don’t tell him like that because I’m the one who picked up the Uber. They’re going to rate me low.” This was in Milwaukee. This lady comes with two car seats in the back. I’m like, “Victor that car seat’s for you. This one’s for me.”

Austin Hedges: My buddy’s name is Cortland. He’s from Portland. So if he’s right next to me and someone’s like, “Oh hey what’s up?” I’m like, “Hi, I’m Cortland from Portland.” And he’s just like, “I guess I’m Austin.”

Steven Kwan: I’ve done PT before. Just so like if they start talking about body stuff I have a general idea. But then some guy started asking me regular questions about that, like actual in-depth questions. It was like ah [shoot]. It was like a 30-minute drive. I was like oh, God. So I totally BS-ed him. After that I was like no. So usually construction is a good one. Construction is really easy because you’re traveling a lot for that, and then people don’t care about construction.

MLB.com: Do you think he believed the PT stuff?

Kwan: I started off pretty believable. And then it probably kind of tapered off a little bit. He seemed like a pretty trusting man, so I don’t know. He didn’t disclose any suspicion. But it couldn’t have been too convincing.

David Fry: Me and my buddy one time said we were in town for a volleyball camp. Of course, the Uber driver has a daughter that plays volleyball, so we really had to run with it. We’ve gone Minor League soccer team. Of course, the kid played high school soccer. We went with we were the Green Bay Rough Riders, and then he was like, “What position do you all play?” and then all five of us were like, “Goalie. We all play goalie.” We’ve been caught a lot. Construction worker. That usually gets an “Oh, OK,” and no more conversation. That’s maybe the next go-to.

MLB.com: Do you know anything about volleyball?

Fry: No. Nothing. Just bump, set, spike. That’s about it.

Stephen Vogt: My brother’s job. He’s a corporate salesman for Microsoft. So he manages the entire central region of the Azure, their cloud. So he has like a team of 13 people. The problem was, one of my Uber drivers worked in the tech space one time. He started asking me specific questions. I’m like, oh, you know, I’m more on the sales side. I pulled it off. He almost caught me. That’s my go-to. I turn into Danny Vogt in those instances.

Anthony Gose: I say I’m a surgeon — no, I’m just playing. I’ve used janitor, construction, lawn care. Who’s going to ask [follow ups]? What are they going to ask you about a mower? “What kind of hammer are you using?”

Josh Naylor: I don’t really like to lie, to be honest. It’s kind of crappy. … I flip the script and say, “What do you do besides Uber?” Deflect. My mom taught me that. Deflect and ask a question back and then really go in on the conversation.

Craig Albernaz: I’ve been known to say I’m an underwater welder. I think it’s the most dangerous, crazy job I can think of. You go underwater and build oil rigs and weld? Like that’s out of control.

MLB.com: Do people believe you?

Albernaz: I leverage my [Boston] accent when they have no idea what I’m saying, so I use that to my advantage. … Sometimes I don’t even know what I say and I just go.

He pauses and laughs.

Albernaz: This is an incredible question.