One night after a major league pitcher dropped his pants and another threatened to drop his in protest of a league-wide search for sticky contraband, umpires told Rays right-hander Diego Castillo, no, you can’t leave your hat on.
After inspecting Castillo, umpires made him get a new hat in the ninth inning Wednesday night before he threw a pitch against the Red Sox. After meeting the requirements, Castillo finished the game with a perfect inning to cap an 8-2 victory for the Rays that snapped a seven-game losing streak.
When the league made it clear that umpires would be throwing a dragnet during games and inspecting basically all pitchers for foreign substances that allegedly were helping some players get “too” good of a grip on baseballs, they sent stern warnings of immediate ejections and “10-game suspensions” for anyone caught with illegal stuff.
That’s not what happened in Castillo’s case, Rays manager Kevin Cash said. Umpires were just being cautious about Castillo’s hat. Cash said umpires “recognized some wear and tear and a dirt mark on the bill of it, and felt it was best to get him a new hat.” Cash claimed, “it was not a substance issue, no.”
So, to recap so far: On Day 1 of the Sticky Suppression, everyone generally acted politely. On Day 2, Sergio Romo of the Athletics literally dropped his pants to object to an assumption by umpires that he could be using illegal material. In a different game, Nationals ace Max Scherzer objected to Phillies skipper Joe Girardi asking umpires to check him for illegal material after Scherzer said he wiped his hair of sweat to mix with rosin in order to get a literal grip.
On Day 3, we had our first cap ejection. Cash escorted it off the field.
If umpires really wanted to scare Castillo straight, they should have made him pitch with no cap; imagine how self-conscious that would make him. Or, even better, they should make him pitch with the silliest hat that they could find.
Commissioner Rob Manfred told The Athletic that he thinks it’s going great so far.