Yes, they did. Umpires ordered New York Mets knuckleballer R.A. Dickey on Wednesday night to remove two friendship bracelets, made by Dickey's children, that he has worn on his glove hand for the past eight months.
Those big meanies!
The unnecessary overreach of authority occurred in the second inning of Cincinnati's 6-1 victory at Great American Ball Park. With the Reds leading 1-0, umpire James Hoye approached the mound and picked the tiniest nit, telling Dickey to lose the bracelets because their presence apparently violates the rules. Because Dickey didn't happen to have a pair of scissors on him, a call was made to the Mets dugout. A trainer emerged, handed Dickey scissors and supervised as he snipped off the bracelets himself.
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Now, these weren't friendship bracelets manufactured overseas and doled out by the Wilpons at the Mets company picnic. They were quite personal. Dickey's young girls made him the bracelets for good luck before he scaled Mount Kilimanjaro in January, and Dickey said he had worn them without complaint in every start he has made this season. By the worn look of the bracelets — kind of icky — Dickey hasn't removed them (if he were even able) since climbing the mountain. Now that's a daddy who loves his kids.
An All-Star and NL Cy Young Award contender, Dickey began the night with a 15-3 record, which accurately reflects how dominant he has been this season. He struggled against the Reds, allowing five runs and 10 hits — including three home runs — over six innings. It was one of Dickey's worst outings of the season, and manager Terry Collins said the umpires got Dickey out of his routine. Dickey admitted to being irritated about being interrupted, but later on Twitter didn't blame the bracelet wrangling for how he pitched:
Thank you everyone for your support on the bracelets. my girls appreciate it too. i wish it was as easy as saying that was the reason but...
poorly thrown knuckleballs have a tendency to get hit, and i throw some today. Besides, i'm going to hide the bracelets on me when i pitch.
Was Tony La Russa somehow responsible for this? Telling the umpires to make Dickey cut off his children's friendship bracelets would be such a La Russa move, were he still with us and managing. (Moment of silence.)
No, it wasn't La Russa, and it wasn't Reds manager Dusty Baker, either. Crew chief Jim Joyce (oh, no, not him) told Collins that the league is cracking down on minute uniform violations. OK, in theory it's possible that some kind of barbed wire jewelry might help a pitcher scuff a baseball, though that kind of cheating is supposed to be counterproductive for knuckleballers. But a couple of adorable little friendship bracelets made by sweet little girls? They hurt nobody, other than the little girls themselves when daddy is made to shred them on live TV. Come on, Blue!
This is the part of the post where I wonder why the league is pressuring umpires to destroy personal property and not to get calls right more often.
Big BLS H/N: The New York Times
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