You’ve heard of a player’s uniform prompting a warning letter, and then there are the uniforms that lead to fines. But Marlins pitcher Scott Olsen has taken uni-related insubordination to a new level: In a roundabout way, his uniform got him suspended.
Here’s the deal: Yesterday the Marlins announced that Olsen would be suspended without pay for two games due to “conduct detrimental to the team” — code for “getting into a fight with teammate Sergio Mitre during the 5th inning of Sunday night’s Marlins/Nationals game” (and possibly also code for “being a total asshole for two seasons now,” but we’ll get to that in a sec). The beauty part is spelled out in this Palm Beach Post article, the crucial passage of which reads as follows:
The trouble apparently began with a faulty button on Olsen’s jersey. After Olsen came off the mound in the middle of the fifth inning, he tore off his jersey, threw it at a clubhouse attendant and demanded a new one. Sources said Mitre admonished Olsen for his behavior. That led to the scuffle while third baseman Miguel Cabrera was at bat.
The Miami Herald‘s version is that “Mitre was trying to calm Olsen, who was upset over a broken button on his uniform top.” Alas, neither Olsen’s jersey tirade nor the scuffle itself is visible on the game video. I watched the preceding half-inning to see if the broken button was evident, and it did look like Olsen’s lower jersey might have been flapping open a bit (here’s another view), but he apparently wears it pretty loose down there all the time, so it’s tough to be sure which was the offending piece of plastic.
In any case, this is, to my knowledge, the first time a button has led to a suspension, and maybe the first uni-related suspension, period. There’ve been plenty of equipment-related suspensions and ejections, of course — corked bats, pine tar in the glove, that sort of thing — but I can’t think of any other instances when a uniform issue resulted in a player being put on the shelf.
As for Olsen, if it hadn’t been this, it probably would’ve been something else. By all accounts, he’s a short-tempered prick who’s gotten into fights with teammates at least twice before and was fined just last month for making an obscene gesture to fans in Milwaukee. The press obviously can’t stand him either — my favorite bit is in the Herald‘s story, where writer Clark Spencer straight-facedly refers to him as a “cigarette-smoking southpaw” who “bristled when asked if he had ever thought about enrolling in an anger management course.” Hey, what’s not to love?
(Special thanks to Uni Watch bake-off queen and membership enrollee Elena Elms for bringing this situation to my attention.)
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Also, remember that the next Uni Watch party will take place next Tuesday, July 24th, in Toronto, upstairs at the Imperial Pub and Library.
Uni Watch News Ticker: Yesterday’s entry about the Astros and Colt .45s prompted a contribution from Todd Radom, who forwarded some great pics of an Astrodome groundskeeper and a Colts Colts usher and event staff. … College football news from Idaho State media czar Frank Mercogliano, who writes: “While at the Big Sky Conference meetings [Monday], the coordinator of officials explained that referees will be emphasizing all players must wear their pants below the knee, and they must have their knee pads on. Apparently, there is an infection that some players have been getting from cuts on their exposed knees. Also, Portland State will have new uniforms, and with Jerry Glanville as their head coach, it should come as no surprise that they will wear black. Also, Sacramento State will be debuting a new helmet later this year with new jerseys (they altered their logo slightly).” No pics yet. … Longtime Uni Watch pal and softball comrade Josh Neufield drew this illustration to accompany a Washington Post article about Yankees fans who go to Shea Stadium just to annoy Mets fans. Note the striped tube sox and the complete absence of black from the Mets gear — that’s why Josh is my buddy. … Not quite uni-related, but still pretty interesting. … Still more sloppiness in San Francisco, as the team’s Rod Beck memorial sleeve patch was missing from Bengie Molina’s jersey last night (good catch by Tom Shieber). … Logo creep alert out of Brainerd, Minnesota, where Matt Konrad snapped this shot of a Paul Bunyan statue. No word on whether Babe the Blue Ox was wearing a Reebok nose ring. … Kudos to New York Times Yankees beat writer Tyler Kepner, whose Tuesday-night blog entry was very stirrups-centric and even included a little shout-out to Uni Watch. Thanks, bud. … While researching something else, I happened upon this photo of Mo Vaughn from August of 1999. Anyone know what the “T” on his cap might have been for? … Some killer new designs in the membership card gallery, including this and this. Check out the full gallery here.