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Kurt Suzuki and the Mysterious Sticky Chest Protector

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#1 Teflon

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Posted 07 April 2017 - 03:13 PM

Driving home from work today, I had Sirus XM on listening to the Braves-Pirates game. The Pirates announcers referenced a play from a Braves game earlier in the week where Kurt Suzuki blocked a pitch in the dirt and the ball stuck to his chest protector "like velcro" raising some questions as to whether Suzuki had something sticky on his chest protector.  Suzuki denied this in post-game comments and said he had no idea why a baseball would do that. My conspiracy theorist nature suspects Suzuki may have been assisting a Braves pitcher (Bartolo Colon?) by warehousing some tactical substance to discreetly apply to baseballs. Conspiracy theory number 2 would be that applying stick-um to a chest protector may help limit caroms off it when blocking balls in the dirt.

 

Has anyone else heard more of this story?

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#2 drjim

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Posted 07 April 2017 - 03:18 PM

Obviously Yadier Molina was the more high profile example.

I suspect it is coming from the pitcher side. Cold out there, need some extra grip on the pitches. One of the unwritten rules.
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#3 Willihammer

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Posted 07 April 2017 - 03:19 PM

Question- when Suzuki blocked the pitch did he find the ball? When it happened to Molina, he couldn't find the ball and the runner advanced safely to first on a strikeout. I would assume if there were anything sketchy going on it would be the pitcher applying pine tar to the ball. In which case the catcher should say "I think it picked up some pine tar on the ground in the dugout" to cover for his pitcher. The fact Suzuki said the opposite is interesting, but again I ask did he find the ball immediately or was he looking around for it?

Well, there's that.

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#4 biggentleben

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Posted 08 April 2017 - 06:40 PM

 

Question- when Suzuki blocked the pitch did he find the ball? When it happened to Molina, he couldn't find the ball and the runner advanced safely to first on a strikeout. I would assume if there were anything sketchy going on it would be the pitcher applying pine tar to the ball. In which case the catcher should say "I think it picked up some pine tar on the ground in the dugout" to cover for his pitcher. The fact Suzuki said the opposite is interesting, but again I ask did he find the ball immediately or was he looking around for it?

 

He found it near immediate.

 

The radio broadcast was quite overreactive in watching the play in question live. It's gone around "Braves Twitter" quite a bit as another example of the radio broadcast's notorious desire to create a narrative that really isn't truly there.

 

The ball didn't bounce hard back off his chest, but 1) it was sub-40 temps at the time in NYC, 2) Bartolo was on the mound, and while he normally is a guy who would be a soft tosser, sitting at 88 all game, he was running 95+ pretty frequently that night, and 3) the ball came off the chest protector, but it did delay on there a beat before coming off instead of following a normal hit-and-bounce trajectory.

 

That was the observation watching it live, and my opinion hasn't been changed watching it a number more times.

Edited by biggentleben, 08 April 2017 - 06:41 PM.

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#5 Old Twins Cap

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Posted 08 April 2017 - 07:49 PM

Pretty obvious, I think.Catchers are lubing their vests so that balls will not bounce very far if they hit the chest protector.

 

Must be some tough, viscous stuff.And likely, completely legal.

 

The link to pitchers is dubious, IMHO.


#6 Vanimal46

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Posted 08 April 2017 - 10:10 PM

It sounds like we're burying the lead story here... Bartolo was hitting 95+ consistently? Is this 1998?

Edited by Vanimal46, 08 April 2017 - 10:10 PM.

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#7 drjim

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Posted 09 April 2017 - 06:38 AM

Pretty obvious, I think. Catchers are lubing their vests so that balls will not bounce very far if they hit the chest protector.

Must be some tough, viscous stuff. And likely, completely legal.

The link to pitchers is dubious, IMHO.


Don't think that's right. I would guess it's pitchers putting something on their hands to get better grips of the ball.
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#8 biggentleben

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Posted 09 April 2017 - 07:13 PM

 

It sounds like we're burying the lead story here... Bartolo was hitting 95+ consistently? Is this 1998?

 

He was pumped up for his return to the Big Apple.

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#9 DaveW

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Posted 09 April 2017 - 07:16 PM

Was it pine tar or just dirt?

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#10 EddieMatthews

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Posted 09 April 2017 - 07:25 PM

Maybe Sano can put some of that juice on his hat to catch any pop-ups that miss his glove.

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#11 Bark's Lounge

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Posted 09 April 2017 - 07:30 PM

 

Bartolo was on the mound, and while he normally is a guy who would be a soft tosser, sitting at 88 all game, he was running 95+ pretty frequently that night

Ben, I am calling bull**** on this one!:)

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#12 Tuba

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Posted 09 April 2017 - 07:50 PM

 

Don't think that's right. I would guess it's pitchers putting something on their hands to get better grips of the ball.

 

So catchers putting some pine tar on their vests, wiping their hands on it and getting handsy with the ball before throwing it back to the mound?

 

People somewhat watch the pitchers for pine tar, but not the catchers? 

Edited by Tuba, 09 April 2017 - 07:50 PM.


#13 biggentleben

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Posted 09 April 2017 - 10:41 PM

 

Ben, I am calling bull**** on this one!:)

 

Fangraphs had him at a 92 MPH average for the game. They list a 93.6 as his top velocity, but the broadcast was going off of stadium gun, which you can assume was juiced a MPH or 3....so he was reading 95+ frequently throughout the game.

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#14 gunnarthor

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Posted 10 April 2017 - 07:34 AM

It's pine tar from the pitcher, not the catcher.  If you look at the video of Molina, you'll see that pine tar and dirt are left on his chest protector after the ball is taken away.  The dirt was there because the ball hit the dirt first and the dirt stuck to the pine tar on the ball.  


#15 Bark's Lounge

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Posted 10 April 2017 - 10:40 AM

 

Fangraphs had him at a 92 MPH average for the game. They list a 93.6 as his top velocity, but the broadcast was going off of stadium gun, which you can assume was juiced a MPH or 3....so he was reading 95+ frequently throughout the game.

I believed you Ben. I was just giving you crap. It is crazy IMO.

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#16 biggentleben

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Posted 10 April 2017 - 10:21 PM

 

I believed you Ben. I was just giving you crap. It is crazy IMO.

 

Well, I had to check it myself because I didn't believe it, so I would not doubt someone being questionable of such reports! The Braves announcers have a tendency to bend velocities up a MPH or two, which made me curious, but the Mets announcers were giving the same velo readings.

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