Referee Joe West ordered Gallegos to change his hat because there was apparently sunscreen on the bill. Cardinals manager Mike Shildt, believing his player to have been unfairly singled out, was sent off during a heated argument.
It overshadowed everything else in the Cardinals’ 4-0 win over the Chicago White Sox on Wednesday.
“It’s baseball’s dirty little secret, and now is the wrong time and the wrong arena to expose it,” said Shildt. “Here’s the deal. First of all, Gio wears the same hat all year round. Hats accumulate dirt. Hats accumulate substances. melanoma? Perhaps. Is he using rosin to help? Perhaps. 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 difficulty doing their job and they do it well. Having to control foreign substances, frankly, shouldn’t have to be part of their job. “
The Cardinals brought in Gallegos with one out in the seventh, after Genesis Cabrera hit Yoan Moncada, putting the runners in first and second.
West, who set the MLB record for most games officiated on Tuesday, said second baseman Dan Bellino noticed a substance on the brim of the pitcher’s cap.
West said Gallegos told him it was sunscreen. Even so, he had the cap thrower changed before throwing a pitch because “we don’t want anybody to be accused of cheating or anything like that. The hat was sent to the commissioner’s office.
“The point of all of this is that we’re trying to protect his pitcher, and he got kicked out,” West said.
Shildt, who has started for the second time this season, said he appreciates the motivation. But he wondered why there was law enforcement.
“Let’s go check out the guys that sit there that tuck into their gloves every day with dirty stuff coming out, not a guy before he even walks on the mound with a stain on his hat,” he says.
Once the situation cooled, Gallegos crushed the threat, knocking out AHL MVP Jose Abreu and Yermin Mercedes.
The Cardinals won to avoid a three-game sweep.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.