When most people have to go outside in cold weather, they typically bundle up and put on multiple layers. That’s usually the same for baseball players who have to play early April games in uncovered stadiums. You’ll see them with hats and mufflers, sometimes with just their eyes exposed as they stand on the field.
But what if there was another way to keep warm on the diamond? The Tampa Bay Rays’ Kevin Kiermaier thinks he’s found one. The Rays are in New York taking on the New York Yankees on Tuesday, and the weather is supposed to be rainy and cold (40 degrees and below). So Kiermaier told the media, as a completely serious non-joke, that he was going to coat his entire body in Vaseline for protection.
— Marc Topkin (@TBTimes_Rays) April 3, 2018
He’s not off base here. Back in the day (way, way back), covering yourself in bear grease was a good way to keep warm in the wilderness, and it had the added benefit of disguising your scent in case an actual bear came around. During frigid games, some football players cover exposed skin with Vaseline. Kiermaier told The Athletic’s Lindsey Adler that he knows other guys who have tried it, and it helped.
But… it’s still weird. Wearing a layer of slick, oily jelly on your skin is a strange thing to do these days, even to protect from the cold. It’s not hard to imagine him sliding around the bases, or the bat slipping out of his hand. Or when a fielder tags him, the glove just sliiiiides right off his arm. None of those things will happen, probably, but when a baseball player says he’s going to slather his entire body with Vaseline, this is what comes to mind. Will anyone in the dugout want to high-five a dude covered in petroleum jelly?
In the end, Kiermaier decided against diving into a vat of Vaseline to protect himself from the cold.
Sorry to disappoint the blown outta proportion comment about me possibly applyin vaseline to help keep me warm tonight. Forgot to put it on. Have my 2 under shirts on already and goin vaseline free. Print that folks.
— Kevin Kiermaier (@KKiermaier39) April 3, 2018
But that doesn’t mean he won’t remember the next time he has to play a game in frigid temperatures. So if Kiermaier ever looks a little shiny and slippery in center field, we know why. Just maybe don’t touch him.
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