Chris Sale was sidelined before game five of the ALCS against the Houston Astros, a game he was scheduled to start. It ended up not making a difference — the Boston Red Sox won 4-1, clinching the American League pennant and a World Series berth — but it was Sale’s reason for missing the start that caught all attention.
The Red Sox stated that he was hospitalized with a stomach illness, but in his media scrum yesterday, Sale led the media to believe something a bit more crazy.
“I had irritation from a belly-button ring, just constantly taking it in and out, causing irritation and got a rash down there,” Sale said, according to the Boston Herald’s Jason Mastrodonato. Without a smirk or laugh, he continued: “Had to take care of that. Doctors and nurses over at (Massachusetts General Hospital) were awesome. Things happen, you handle them and keep moving forward.”
Here’s another take of it, from Bob Nightengale of USA Today: “Sale, speaking in front of about 20 reporters and cameramen, never cracked a smile. Never winked. Nothing. He looked dead serious.”
He stuck by that story, and a few outlets — including Bleacher Report — published it at face value. Sadly, it wasn’t true.
Nightengale did a little more investigating, and came up with the real story.
Sale confided to several teammates that he was going to tell his tale and see if he could fool the media into buying it.
“He told me that he was going to say that,’’ one Red Sox player told USA TODAY Sports, “but I didn’t believe him.’’
The player spoke on the condition of anonymity to protect Sale’s joke.
That’s not the only fun thing happening in baseball.
Eric Kratz, former Blue Jay and catcher for the Milwaukee Brewers, had his own fan club during Friday’s game six of the NCLS.
Milwaukee Brewers catcher Erik Kratz has played for 7 major league clubs. A dozen of his college friends called his wife and raided his closet. Each wore one of his game used jerseys and surprised him after Game 6 of the NLCS. pic.twitter.com/tlrb3Lu7hN— Charlie Moynihan (@MoynihanCharles) October 20, 2018
They may have been his friends, and they may have just stolen his own clothing, but it’s still an impressive feat of dedication.