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Watch Out!
2003-05-26 00:28
by Mike Carminati

The Mets' Jae Seo was throwing a no-hitter through four innings today when he was asked by home plate umpire Jeff Kellogg to remove his watch. The next batter he faced was Andruw Jones, who of course went yard.

So what's the big deal about the watch? Well, batters find them distracting. However, I do not believe there is anything technically in the rules to forbid a pitcher from wearing a watch. There's this rule:

(a) (1) All players on a team shall wear uniforms identical in color, trim and style, and all players uniforms shall include minimal six inch numbers on their backs. (2) Any part of an undershirt exposed to view shall be of a uniform solid color for all players on a team. Any player other than the pitcher may have numbers, letters, insignia attached to the sleeve of the undershirt. (3) No player whose uniform does not conform to that of his teammates shall be permitted to participate in a game. (b) A league may provide that (1) each team shall wear a distinctive uniform at all times, or (2) that each team shall have two sets of uniforms, white for home games and a different color for road games. (c) (1) Sleeve lengths may vary for individual players, but the sleeves of each individual player shall be approximately the same length. (2) No player shall wear ragged, frayed or slit sleeves. (d) No player shall attach to his uniform tape or other material of a different color from his uniform. (e) No part of the uniform shall include a pattern that imitates or suggests the shape of a baseball. (f) Glass buttons and polished metal shall not be used on a uniform. (g) No player shall attach anything to the heel or toe of his shoe other than the ordinary shoe plate or toe plate. Shoes with pointed spikes similar to golf or track shoes shall not be worn. (h) No part of the uniform shall include patches or designs relating to commercial advertisements. (i) A league may provide that the uniforms of its member teams include the names of its players on their backs. Any name other than the last name of the player must be approved by the League President. If adopted, all uniforms for a team must have the names of its players.

Johnny Allen Of the Indians was hit by the Frayed sleeve rule. He was asked in 1938 to cut the frayed portion of a shirt sleeve, refused, and was fined $250. But this rule pertains to a pitcher's uniform, not what he chooses to adorn himself with. If I recall correctly Melido Perez was asked to remove jewelry on the mound (and someone on the Mariners was cited for this earlier this season). Let's be clear here, the ump did not feel that Seo was using the watch to tamper with the ball. He felt that it distacted the batter, but Seo would have been well within his rights to continue to wear the watch.

Later in the inning, right fielder Roger Cedeno caught a fly ball for teh second out and, thinking it was the third out, allowed Vinny Castilla to move up to third on the play. Turner field has a scoreboard directly behind the right fielder that displays, among other things, the number of outs. Castilla did not subsequently score however.

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