Chicago White Sox has been suspended Chris Sale five games for his conduct in a clubhouse incident prior to Saturday’s game.
The 27 year old player cut up some throwback uniforms with a knife after getting into a heated argument with the front office about not wanting to wear the uniforms Saturday. The left-hander is tentatively slated to rejoin the White Sox’ rotation on Thursday against the Cubs. General manager Rick Hahn said that the incident won’t affect the club’s decision on whether to trade the lefty or not.
If the reports currently circulating are true, Chris Sale might have issued the most categorically negative review of a uniform that any athlete has ever issued. But not the first one, the Chicago White Sox were slated to wear a throwback version of their infamous 1976 “leisure suit” uniform on Saturday night, complete with the untucked jerseys and the disco collars.
But when the Sox took the field against the Detroit Tigers, they weren’t wearing the 1970s throwbacks. Instead, they wore their 1980s “beach blanket” throwbacks, which they normally wear on Sundays. And instead of Sale, who had been scheduled to be on the mound, the starting pitcher was Matt Albers — a relief pitcher.
The Sox soon issued a statement indicating that Sale had been scratched due to “a clubhouse incident.”
There is nothing in the historical record to compare with an athlete disliking a uniform so much that he went hair stylist on it, however there is at least one other instance of a player essentially vetoing his team’s scheduled uniform for a given game.
Back in 1995 Sam Wyche was set to coach his final game for the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Bucs were still wearing their original orange-based uniform set at the time, and the plan was for the team to wear solid-orange — orange jerseys paired with orange pants, something that had never been worn before — for Wyche’s finale.
Longtime manager Frank Pupello explained how that played out in a 2010 interview:
“The fans had voted on it. The team had a food drive — you were supposed to bring in a canned food item, and they had two barrels set up to receive the food. One barrel had a picture of a uniform with an orange jersey and orange pants, and one had and orange jersey with white pants. So the fans voted by where they deposited the food. And the orange-on-orange won in a landslide. … I had the orange pants all laid out in the lockers and everything. And some of the players were all excited about it. But [linebacker] Hardy Nickerson said, ‘I ain’t gonna play this game if I gotta wear orange pants with my orange jersey. I don’t like it.’ And Coach gave in. So one guy vetoed the whole thing.”
Nickerson disputes several of the details in Pupello’s account, including the claim that the uniform choice was tied to a fan food drive.
But about what happened Saturday, well, this could have been Sale’s last start with the White Sox. Every indication is that he likes pitching for this team, in this city. Can you blame the guy for wanting to go out in style wearing a major league uniform instead of an uncomfortable pullover you’d pass over in a resale shop?