Weird happenings involving Cubs second baseman Todd Walker during Friday’s Cubs/Cardinals game. He was wearing his usual No. 7 when he doubled in the bottom of the 4th, and he was also wearing No. 7 during the top of the 5th (that’s him in the lower-right corner of this shot — it’s tough to see, but trust me, that’s a 7 on his back). But he apparently changed his jersey during the bottom of the 5th, because he took the field at the start of the 6th inning wearing No. 13. When this was brought to his attention, the game was delayed while he went back into the clubhouse to switch jerseys. All of which led to some interesting chatter between Cardinals announcers Al Hrabosky and Dan McLaughlin:
Hrabosky: There’s a little delay, as Todd Walker — I’m not sure what happened, but they said something about Todd Walker wearing number 13. That’s [Neifi] Perez’s number. I don’t know if he accidentally put on the wrong uniform, but I saw him motioning, something about his jersey, came in, and took it off. [Walker emerges from the dugout and trots out onto the field.] Now he’s got number 7 on. That’s his number, number 7. Sometimes, y’know, your locker — I mean, your jersey maybe gets misplaced, and you change it midway through the game, and you put on the wrong one. I guess if you’re wearing lucky 7, 13 wouldn’t be very lucky.
McLaughlin [adopting patronizing mock-serious tone]: Now what would happen? Would that be a violation? Ejection?
Hrabosky: Well, I heard the announcement here in the press box, they said Walker was wearing number 13. You know, they took the numbers off — er, the names off. So if you weren’t paying attention and just saw the big “C” [Cubs logo] on the front…
McLaughlin [somewhat derisively]: I wouldn’t have known. I bet 40,000 others wouldn’t have realized it either.
Hrabosky: No. It happens a lot of times during batting practice. Guys’ll accidentally put on the wrong number and nobody tells ’em. That happened to Chris Duncan the other day — he had on [Braden] Looper’s number. They were lockerin’ next to each other.
McLaughlin: I remember when we went to Philadelphia a couple of years ago, and on purpose the Cardinals wore J.D. Drew jerseys. It was J.D.’s first visit to Philly after rejecting their efforts to sign him, and of course he wound up in St. Louis.
Hrabosky: I saw a similar thing for Dick Allen’s first return to Connie Mack Stadium. During a rain delay, Leron Lee — Derrek Lee’s uncle — put on Dick Allen’s jersey, and a helmet and some glasses [Allen’s standard look, even when he wasn’t batting], and stood out there just to receive all the boos.
McLaughlin’s snide tone notwithstanding, this uni commentary could’ve been a lot worse. The same can’t be said, alas, for what was going on in the Cubs’ radio booth, where Walker’s jersey snafu led to an utterly surreal exchange between play-by-play man Pat Hughes and the perpetually befuddled Ron Santo:
Santo: So — oh, uh… Here’s what’s happened — oh, I see. They’re giving him a break, because — Walker wore the number 3, 13, jersey, and then had to come back out, change his jersey. Maybe give, uh, [Cubs pitcher Carlos] Marmol a little rest or something? I don’t know. I have no idea. He just came and, uh…
Santo: He’s changed. But I think, uh, the rules are you can’t change jerseys in the middle of a game. I just made that up.
Hughes: Made sense to me, Ron. I bought every bit of it. You, of course, wore number 10 your entire Cubs career.
Hughes: Because at that time, when Ron was a young man, a lot of the women said, “Ronnie, you are a 10!” And he said to himself, “You know, that’s a pretty good number for me.”
Santo [giggling]: Well, I wore 29 in high school.
Hughes: Wow, you must have been good-looking!
Santo [laughing his head off]: I wore 29 as a quarterback, and 34 as a ballplayer. Can you imagine that?
Hughes: Now you’re 10. You’re just 10 to me, Ron.
Santo [regaining some semblance of composure]: Thanks, Patrick. And you have gone beyond, uh, my wildest dreams as far as being average. You are now above average.
Hughes: I’m above average?
Santo: You are above average. You look great today. The women out there in the stands are going, “Ooo-la-la!”
Hughes: First time I’ve ever heard that.
I know we’re all supposed to feel sorry for Santo, what with the diabetes and the amputations (insert pants/stirrups joke here), along with the Hall of Fame snub. But seriously, is there a bigger embarrassment on the airwaves than this guy? Has there ever been? Can’t even imagine what it must be like to have to listen to this hokum on a daily basis.
(Vertically arched thanks to Alex Seiver, who provided the two shots of Walker wearing No. 13.)
Pedro Update: As several readers have noted, sightings of Pedro Martinez wearing hiked-up pants began almost immediately after I sent him this check and this letter. That trend continued on Friday night, when Pedro made his first start in a month and, sure enough, was showing plenty of sock. No sign yet of the canceled check, however. Stay tuned.
Uni Watch News Ticker: Fans of Japanese baseball will definitely want to check out this link, which features video clips from the 1980s (with thanks to Jeremy Whiting) … According to this article (forwarded by Scott Tande), Johan Santana “draws smiley faces and balloons under the bill of his cap.” … In a related item, a trusted source with a National League team checks in with the following very disturbing news: “During spring training I hard from a New Era rep that everyone was going to black underbills for gamers next season, and BP caps and jerseys were changing. The new cap next year might be called ‘slick fit’ — not sure about that, I heard it from the gift shop when I asked why their stock was so low.” If this turns out to be true, it could spell the end of the underbrim inscription as we know it. … As reported here last week, Juan Pierre’s been told to stop wearing his blue camouflage undershirt — and now appears to be going out of his way to demonstrate his compliance. … There’s a new member of the non-switch-hitting double-earflap club: Sin-Soo Choo, who had a cup of coffee earlier this season with the Mariners and is now playing in Cleveland. … The Lowell Spinners — a Red Sox minor league affiliate — honored Bosox third baseman Mike Lowell last Friday by renaming themselves the Mike Lowell Spinners for a day — just in time, coincidentally, for Keith Foulke’s rehab stint. … UCLA is changing the blue stripes and numerals on its road jersey from navy to powder blue, to match the school’s home jersey. Fans are already complaining about black outlining on the numerals, especially since there’s no corresponding outlining on the shoulder stripes. … Great video here about how Edgerrin James got the Cardinals to switch to black shoes. … Good observation by longtime Uni Watch contributor Ross Yoshida, who writes: “Check out this pic of David Cone. It appears that he’s wearing traditional stirrups OVER a 2-in-1 sewn-in faux stirrup sock! Talk about overkill.” … The 49ers are unretiring John Brodie’s No. 12 for Trent Dilfer — an odd move, since Dilfer isn’t even at top of the team’s QB depth chart.