So several of you asked me about this last night, and I admittedly didn’t see it, when plate umpire Greg Gibson picked up a bat belonging to either Hanley Ramirez or Carl Crawford, or possibly both of them, and walked it over to Don Mattingly and had a conversation about it. I pulled Mattingly aside after his media session today to ask him about it, and a couple of other reporters were waiting to ask him the same thing. What he told us was this:
The issue with the bat was the COLOR of the barrel. As you can see in this photo (this is Hanley’s bat), this bat is two-toned, with a clearly delineated change from black to a sort of deep reddish brown color between the handle and the barrel. Apparently, there is some rule against having bats that are red, and what Mattingly said Gibson told him was that the bat “could be considered red.” Well, a lot of things could be considered a lot of things. I once shared an airport parking shuttle-van ride with former supermodel Rachel Hunter, and as we were getting off the van, she dropped her cap, and I picked it up and handed it to her, and she said, “Thank you.” I guess that “could be considered” as she and I having had a past relationship, if I were so inclined to want to stretch the bounds of what “could be considered” something.
But as usual, I digress.
Anyway, Gibson wasn’t telling Mattingly the bat couldn’t be used. He was just sort of issuing a friendly warning that if some other umpire came along who was a little more of a stickler than Gibson, well, it might be a problem. And according to Mattingly’s account of the conversation, Gibson also pointed out that there were Dodgers uniformed personnel — coaches, I assume — who spilled over from the dugout to the adjacent camera well at the homeplate end of the dugout during the game, and that when the Dodgers get to the playoffs, that won’t be allowed.
Today, after Hanley finished doing the interview he was doing as I was snapping this picture of his bat, I asked him if this was the bat that came into question during the game. He said, “No. I don’t know anything about that. That wasn’t me. That was C.C.”
OK, well, a few minutes later, Crawford walked by carrying the exact same bat. Might have been a different model, different weight, different length, whatever, but it was that same black-handle, reddish-brown barrel appearance, and Mattingly said Ramirez and Crawford sometimes use each other’s bats. So this was definitely the one Gibson was talking about.
I’m half-tempted to Google Greg Gibson to determine whether he might have been a student hall monitor while he was in junior high school, but I have more important things to do. Would seem to me that if he’s working the plate in a big league baseball game, he has more important things to do as well.