Umpire Joe West ordered Gallegos to switch caps because apparently there was sunscreen on the bill. Cardinals manager Mike Shildt, thinking his player was unfairly singled out, got ejected during an animated argument.
“This is baseball’s dirty little secret, and it’s the wrong time and the wrong arena to expose it,” Shildt said. “Here’s the deal. First of all, Gio wears the same hat all year. Hats accrue dirt. Hats accrue substances. … Did Gio have some sunscreen at some point in his career to make sure he doesn’t get some kind of melanoma? Possibly. Does he use rosin to help out? Possibly. Are these things that baseball really wants to crack down on? No.”
In a statement released later Wednesday, Shildt said, “I have a great working relationship with the umpires and Major League Baseball. They have a lot of challenges to doing their job and they do it well. Having to police foreign substances, candidly, shouldn’t have to be a part of their job.”
West, who on Tuesday set MLB’s record for most games umpired, said second-base ump Dan Bellino noticed a substance on the brim of the pitcher’s cap.
West said Gallegos told him it was sunscreen. Even so, he made the pitcher switch caps before throwing a pitch because “we don’t want anybody to be accused of cheating or any of that stuff.” The cap was sent to the commissioner’s office.
“The whole point of this is we’re trying to protect his pitcher, and he got ejected,” West said.
Shildt, who was tossed for the second time this season, said he appreciated the motivation. But he questioned why there was enforcement.
“Let’s go check the guys that are sitting there going into their glove every day with filthy stuff coming out, not some guy before he even steps on the mound with a spot on his hat,” he said.
The Cardinals won to avoid a three-game sweep.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.