In 37-ish years of watching baseball, I’ve never seen a big leaguer do what Adrian Beltre did during last night’s Mariners/Mets game. When Brian Schneider hit a soft liner over his head (sorry about the crummy image quality for all these shots), Beltre threw his glove up in the air, which is the sort of stunt usually reserved batting practice.
“You’re not supposed to do that,” mused Mets broadcaster Gary Cohen, a philosophical lilt in his voice. “You know, technically, if you throw your glove at the ball, it’s three bases. … I mean, it’s in the rulebook, if you throw your glove at the ball. Now, I’m sure the umpires will say, ‘Look, he wasn’t throwing his glove at the ball, he was just frustratedly throwing his glove in the air after the ball had already passed.’ And that’s true, but technically…”
And then his voice trailed off. But Gary Cohen, technically, didn’t know what the fuck he was talking about. As the umpires correctly ruled, there’s no penalty for throwing your glove at the ball (or anywhere else) as long as there’s no contact. The relevant section of the rulebook, which I highly recommend to Mr. Cohen, can be found here.
Note that a related section of the rulebook calls for one base to be awarded if a player touches pitched ball with his mask. I remember reading an article in the late 1980s about a catcher who’d blocked a ball in the dirt and then retrieved it by nonchalantly scooping it up with his mask. The opposing manager was Gene Mauch, who scurried out to argue that this was a one-base infraction. The umpire eventually agreed, so Mauch won the argument. The only problem is that his team was losing 11-1 or something like that, and this “Win the battle, lose the war” scenario was presented in the article as a microcosm of Mauch’s entire career.
As for Beltre last night, here’s the kicker: When his glove came back down, he booted it. Rather incredibly, this guy is the A.L.’s reigning Gold Glover at third base. When I mentioned this to my ESPN colleague Jim Caple, who lives in Seattle and therefore sees Beltre play way more than I do, he responded, “He can be a little playful from time to time. If he knows he won’t confuse another fielder, he’ll occasionally try to deke the cameraman just for the fun of it.” Interesting, but it still seems pretty bush to me.
Research Project: I’m trying to compile a timeline of interesting uni-related moments in MLB All-Star Games. I’ve previously listed a bunch of such episodes here, I devoted an entire ESPN column to the 1934 uniforms, and I’ve got plenty of additional examples (Johnny Callison winning the ’64 ASG while wearing a Mets helmet, Reggie Jackson wearing a Mariners uni for the A.L. team photo in ’79 [see left], Larry Walker wearing his helmet backwards while facing Randy Johnson in ’97, etc.), but I want more. If you know of additional instances of notable uni-related moments in all-star history — or notable all-star moments in uni-related history, as the case might be — please get in touch.
Uni Watch News Ticker: Forgot to mention yesterday that the media kit from Monday’s MLB press conference included this lapel pin. Nice of them to slap the trademark symbol on a flag-based design, no? … When you’re as tall as Richie Sexson, shouldn’t they try to center your uni number a bit better? That’s a lot of acreage between the number and his waistline (with thanks to Eric Distenfeld for the pics). … That Big Brown photo with the loose horseshoe is pretty fascinating. … Interesting Japanese baseball tidbit from Jeremy Brahm: “In 1979, the Central and Pacific Leagues had their 30th anniversaries and came out with pillbox hats for each team. From what I can find, these were only used in the 1979 and 1980 Central and Pacific East-West All Star games after the season.” … Did you know Spain has an “unlucky” yellow jersey? Details here (with thanks to Patrick O’Donnell). … Reprinted from yesterday’s comments: Check out this Indians vs. Indians shot, presumably taken during a spring training intersquad game. … Maria Sharapova’s tuxedo-patterned top has real buttons and pleats — not just printed graphics, which was what I’d been expecting. Details here, here, and here, plus more Wimbledon coverage here. … The USA hoops team’s uniforms will look like this and this. … Ryan McGhee reports that the Tacoma Rainiers and Oklahoma RedHawks of the Pacific Coast League will wear special jerseys next week and auction them to benefit the Limbs for Life Foundation, which buys new prosthetic limbs for amputees who can’t afford them in the United States and takes donated limbs to foreign countries like the Dominican Republic. … “The State Farm ad on the Wrigley Field dugout railing was apparently taped over or something on Sunday night,” notes Matt Bennum. … Paul Wiederecht sent along one of the best photos I’ve ever seen of the Golden Seals’ white skates. … Also from Paul: Great page here devoted to ballpark organists, “but nothing about Fernand Lapierre from Montreal, seen playing ‘Les Expos Sont Là’ here.” … My mention of the unusual basketball jersey crotch extension yesterday prompted this response from sporting goods impresario Terry Proctor: “While I was at Ruby’s in Rochester, we sold a set of basketball uniforms with supporter bottoms to Geneseo High School, which is about 35 miles southwest of Rochester. We got the uniforms from Powers Mfg. Co. in Waterloo, Iowa. The players HATED the supporter bottom. Needless to say, the next uniforms Geneseo bought a couple of years later were from SandKnit, sans the supporter bottom. … While searching for something else, I came across this shot of Carlton Fisk wearing some killer striped hose. I’d forgotten about that design. … Also discovered two shots of Chet Lemon wearing some interesting windbreakers under his jersey: First, check out the collar here. And then dig this shot — looks like he’s got two windbreakers on, plus the big-collared jersey. … Nice to see that my question at Monday’s MLB press conference became the basis for the last graf of this AP item. … Doug Mooney found still more photos from the 1968 World Series showing Tigers with their uni number on the left sleeve instead of the right. First there’s this shot — that’s Bill Freehan in the background but we already knew he had the left-sleeve number. Who’s that in the foreground, though — is it Jim Northrup? That’s definitely Northrup in this shot, which appears to show a left-sleeve number as well. … Tyler Kulasza just took his annual trip to Cooperstown and sent along pics of Honus Wagner’s brim-mounted flip-down shades, a pair of gorgeous Cardinals jackets (here’s a close-up), and A.J. Burnett’s no-hitter cap (what did he have written here and here?). … The Pirates and Rays will be wearing Negro Leagues throwbacks this Saturday, honoring the Pittsburgh Crawfords and Jacksonville Redcaps, respectively (with thanks to Jerry Wolper).