Do not adjust your computer monitors or tablet screens. That really is Chicago Cubs pitcher Travis Wood stepping up to the plate on Monday night with a helmet decal that looks like it's leaving early for a drink at The Cubby Bear or for a stint as the team's guest conductor for the seventh inning stretch. (You try to find a celebrity to show up at Wrigley for a weekday game.)
My initial impulse after seeing this screencap floating around social media was to say that it was a Photoshop done by somebody piling on the worst team in baseball. Maybe you're saying the same thing so here's a video of Wood's at-bat for further proof:
Bad decal! Bad!
So how does such a thing happen? Paul Lukas of Uni Watch has the explanation:
The Cubs don't use a conventional helmet logo decal — they use an embroidered adhesive patch. The good part is that the patch has more depth and texture than a decal, so the logo really pops; the bad part is that the patch doesn't conform to the contours of the helmet as well as a decal and tends to come loose more often.
The tendency is to chalk this sartorial snafu up to one of those infamous "Cubbie occurrences" that Lou Piniella was talking about. And though Joe McEwing had a famous sticker slip with the Royals back in 2005, it really is hard not to say "only the Cubs!" after seeing this happen. It's the sort of image that will be shown again and again as an example of the team's futile existence (and then hopefully in an eventual World Series highlight film as an example of how bad things were in Wrigleyville in the early days of the Theo Epstein era.)
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But with the way that Wood and the Cubs performed against the New York Mets on Monday, they might want to consider making it a permanent kit change. Wood pitched seven scoreless innings in a 6-1 Cubs victory. It was Wood's second straight win.
The logo, meanwhile, returned to its proper spot by Wood's second at-bat.
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