As I was watching the replay of the June 19 game between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Oakland A's, in the pre-game ceremonies, injured Los Angeles Dodgers star Mark Ellis delivered the line-up card to the umpires. It's a standard ceremonial procedure that happens before the start of every MLB game. Mark Ellis is a former Oakland A's player and he was honored by his former city, as the game was in Oakland. As a Dodger fan, it was cool to see the sportsmanship between the teams and the positive reception Ellis got from the Oakland crowd.
Ellis was joined at home plate by the umpiring crew, along with two members of the Oakland A's, shortstop Cliff Pennington and catcher Kurt Suzuki.The television cameras were up close after the card exchange and as I watched the players shake hands, I noticed something odd. A's catcher Kurt Suzuki was wearing what looked like bright white nail polish, bright enough to catch my attention when he shook hands with Ellis.
I did some checking and although some MLB catchers do use nail polish, some use white tape and some use Wite-Out, Suzuki endorses a a commerical product, called Game Signs, which is used by many MLB catchers. The product is a set of small, bright stickers that cover the nails, eliminating the need to tape fingers or paint nails.
All these techniques are attempts to make their finger-tips more visible when calling signals. New York Yankees pitcher Russell Martin also does it, and even posed for a photo showing his two-tone red and white nails. It makes sense to me, and I guess if so many catchers are public about their use of polish or stickers, it must be within the MLB rules. I think it should be against the rules, as why not allow the catchers to dye their gloves white or paint them flourescent orange to make them more visible to the pitcher.
As the Dodgers lost the June 19th game and Dodgers catcher A.J. Ellis does not paint or sticker his nails, as a Dodger fan, it makes me wonder whether the A's had an advantage of the Dodgers because of it.
Freddy Sherman grew up in Philadelphia, which didn't make being a Los Angeles Dodgers fan easy. He has lived in Los Angeles for twenty years, now able to follow the Dodgers openly and attends games frequently. You can follow him on Twitter -@thefredsherman.
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