— MLB (@MLB) April 6, 2017
I’ve seen a baseball get stuck in glove webbing, in a jersey, in the outfield padding, and in a few other places. But until yesterday I’d never seen one get stuck in a chest protector!
That’s what happened after Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina blocked a pitch in the dirt and the ball somehow adhered to his gear. Here’s a replay from a different angle:
— High and Outside (@abaseballpod) April 6, 2017
The pitch went as a dropped third strike, allowing the batter — Cubs pinch hitter Matt Szczur — to reach base. He later scored.
Why did the ball get stuck? Apparently because Molina had some pine tar, or some sort of sticky substance, on his chest protector:
Molina denied it after the game, responding to a reporter’s question about the incident by saying, “Do I put anything on my chest protector? That’s a dumb question.”
Actually, it’s a perfectly reasonable question, given what happened. And unless someone else can suggest a perfectly reasonable answer, I think we all know what the real answer is.
Click to enlarge
Single file: Rare sight last night in Tampa, as Marcus Stroman of the Jays and Blake Snell of the Rays hooked up in a battle of single-digitized starting pitchers. When’s the last time that happened? Has it ever happened?
I asked ESPN Stats & Information to help me answer those questions. The results can be found in this ESPN piece that I wrote late last night. Fun stuff!
(Double-digit thanks to Matt Teubner and Adam Duchesneau” for letting me know about Stroman and Snell starting last night’s game.)
Friday Flashback: 1974 was an important year for NFL headgear, as the Chargers became the first team to go with team-colored facemasks (and the Chiefs also changed to white masks, although I consider that to be a somewhat lesser milestone). Today I have a really fun Friday Flashback piece on ESPN that looks at how the Chargers came up with that yellow mask — and how it almost didn’t happen. Check it out here.
’Skins Watch: The top banner on the Cleveland Indians’ Twitter page features a photo of SS Francisco Lindor. At one point on Wednesday, the photo showed Lindor with a blank left sleeve, but then they replaced that with a version showing the Wahoo sleeve patch. Looks like they Photoshopped the patch out of the photo and then changed their minds (from @reidling1986 and Matt Brown). … Speaking of Wahoo, Taylor Nicolaisen spotted this sticker on a lamppost in Rapid City, S.D. — “where we have a big Native American population and strained racial relations,” he adds. It’s available for download here. … You may recall that there was a movement to have Amherst College replace its mascot, Lord Jeff, named after Lord Jeffery Amherst, who among things supported giving smallpox-contaminated blankets to Native Americans. That process is now complete: The school’s teams will henceforth be known as the Mammoths (from @hockeyinthecac).
Baseball News: Chris Sale is wearing No. 41 for the Red Sox, but he’s still using his old No. 49 cleats from the White Sox (good spot by Zachary Gilley). … The white ad panel at Busch Stadium that supposedly caused Cubs 2B Javier Baez to misplay a ground ball is being changed, although it seems like the ones used in yesterday’s game were even worse (from Tyler K and Jeff Ryder, respectively). … The Durham Bulls are marking their 20th season as a Tampa Bay affiliate with a Rays-themed uni. Note the Devil Rays-themed cap! (From @UpriseNole.) … Interesting note from Charles Noerenberg, who writes: “In Tuesday’s White Sox makeup opener, Melky Cabrera and JosÃ© Abreu had both applied some substance to their new matte batting helmets to make them appear like the old glossy version. I’m not sure what it was, but it seemed to be clear, not pine tar. Guess they’re not fans of the new look?” … This is pretty funny: ESPN.com’s head shots for the Braves starting rotation shows four guys in non-Braves caps. … Here’s a visual timeline of the Tigers’ old English D logo (from Jeremy Troia). … The row of purple seats that mark the mile-high point at Coors Field have been updated to the Rockies’ new shade of purple. … The Class-A Charleston RiverDogs — a Yankees affiliate — have added a big “NY” sleeve insignia (from Daren Stoltzfus). … Here’s a gallery showing all of the new MLB sock designs that have been released so far. There will be more to come. … In a related item: The Diamondbacks wore their Thursday throwbacks last night, and Robbie Ray had some very interesting socks (which weren’t shown in that gallery I just linked to). It’s a nice sock design, but it was never worn with that uniform back in the day, so it’s not period-appropriate. What do you think: Okay or not okay? … UC Irvine is going GI Joke later this month. … Brewers OF Keon Broxton, who wears a protective faceguard on his batting helmet, was beaned by a pitch yesterday and now says his faceguard saved his life (from Andrew Cosentino). … Earlier this week I noted that the Astros had put their lame-o marketing slogan on the back of the mound for their home opener. They did it again for their second game, and I had the queasy feeling that it was going to be a season-long thing. But let the record show that they had a clean mound for their third game, on Wednesday. Phew. … The Mets’ new alternate home cap — basically the same as last year’s alternate home cap but with a blue brim instead of orange (or, if you prefer, basically the same as their primary cap but with white outlining on the logo) — made its on-field debut last night. … And speaking of the Mets, Matt Fratboy covered up the maker’s mark on his undershirt. Definitely a more elegant solution than breathing Ethier. … Really interesting article on how baseball uniforms should be retooled to enhance player performance. The results would probably look like shite, but the article is well-written and often persuasive. Strongly recommended (thanks, Phil). … What do you get when one of the world’s greatest living graphic designers combines the Cardinals’ birds on the bat with naturalist John James Audubon’s painting of northern cardinals? This (big thanks to the Tugboat Captain). … Here’s a weird one: The MLB logo and additional baseball imagery will now start appearing on a trucking company’s tractor trailers, part of a new
sponsorship advertising deal (from Maximiliano). … Arizona Cardinals RB David Johnson threw out the first pitch at last night’s D-backs game and was wearing a D-backs jersey with SrOB. Does that mean he’s planning to add the generational suffix to his NFL jersey? (From Patrick Sesty.) … Good article on outfield mowing patterns (from Jerry Wolper). … Cleveland P Corey Kluber has become the first MLBer to have 3D-printed plates inside his cleats. The plates are biomechanically engineered to maximize his performance (from Chris Bisbee). … The Diamondbacks have become the second MLB team to install a humidor for storing game balls.
NFL News: Jaguars WR Allen Hurns apparently did a photo shoot while wearing the team’s black jersey and mustard Color Rash pants. I think that looks pretty good, although the two-tone helmet would still ruin it, of course. Still, I hope we get to see this combo on the field. … This was in the baseball section, but I’ll put it here too, just in case: Cardinals RB David Johnson threw out the first pitch at last night’s Arizona D-backs game and was wearing a D-backs jersey with SrOB. Does that mean he’s planning to add the generational suffix to his NFL jersey? (From Patrick Sesty.)
College Football News: Boise State will have new helmets, with a slogan rather than a logo, for tomorrow’s spring game. How many other examples are there of a slogan being used on the side of a helmet? (Thanks, Phil.)
Hockey News: Here’s a time-lapse showing how the United Center got a makeover for the Frozen Four. … Speaking of the Frozen Four, Minnesota-Duluth G Hunter Miska has a special mask design (from Tris Wykes). … Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson made his NHL debut last night with the Bruins and sported a prodigious 17-letter (and 18-character) HNOB. Too bad the Bruins’ three-color lettering and the compressed font made it illegible (from Jeff Israel).
Basketball News: A recent Jeopardy! contestant, provided with a really easy clue, blew the game by misidentifying the Raptors as the Timberwolves (from Eddie Lee). … A high school girls’ basketball coach in Indiana is about to lose his job. Among the reasons: “First, he didn’t wear enough Greenfield-Central apparel” (from Derek Linn). … A judge in North Carolina has extended his tradition of wearing a Carolina blue robe on the bench when UNC wins the national championship (from James Gilbert). … If you think the 2015 NBA All-Star uniforms were minimalist, check out the unis from this 1971 NBA vs. ABA exhibition. Interesting that the shoulder straps were so wide, almost like a sleeveless tee — I didn’t realize that style was worn on the court so early. … This is pretty awesome: an animated Lego basketball gamea (from my old pal Hugo Lindgren).
Soccer News: It’s a little hard to see, but here’s a 1967 shot of Asher Welch of the old Baltimore Bays with FiNOB. It’s even harder to see that his brother/teammate Art Welch also had FiNOB (from Jerry Wolper). … 70th-anniversary logo for CSKA Sofia, a Bulgarian club (from Ed Å»elaski”). … New uniforms for the Pohnpei, a Micronesia soccer team. Here at Uni Watch, we cover everything! (From Taylor Action.) … Kilmarnock FC has put a soccer pitch outline on its locker room floor, so the coaching staff can map out strategy (from Mark Coale). … A Brazilian team appears to be using its uni numbers to sell grocery products (from Kleber Ancona).
Grab Bag: Here’s what some of the top golfers will be wearing at the Masters (from Ryan Lindemann). … Here are the Indy car liveries for this weekend’s Long Beach Grand Prix (from Tim Dunn). … Russia has banned images of President Vladimir Putin in makeup. … Check out this Indian cricket player — or at least I think that’s what league this is — wearing No. 999. … Great note from longtime reader Kenn Tomasch, who writes: “I was in Fort Myers, Fla., the other day, where a friend of mine is the Director of Sales & Marketing for HeadPinz, one of those new bowling/entertainment complexes that has the standard 16 lanes, sports bar, laser tag, gaming room, etc. But they have this very cool section that has proven to be very popular with the many retirees who populate Southwest Florida: They imported a set of four very old lanes and machines from an old bowling facility that was being torn down. The wood is vintage (so old, in fact, that is has no markings on it), and the pins are reset manually by two youngsters who actually roll the bowlers’ balls back to them. There’s no electronic scoring — they bring in someone to sit at a desk at the head of the thing to keep score manually.” So cool! Lots of photos here.