Something interesting happened on Thursday afternoon in the Cubs-Cardinals game: a baseball literally stuck to catcher Yadier Molina. In the top of the seventh inning, reliever Brett Cecil threw a 0-2 pitch in the dirt that Matt Szczur swung over. Molina went to his knees to block the ball and the ball stuck to his chest protector. Molina had no idea where the ball went, so Szczur reached safely on the strikeout. Molina finally realized what happened, so he had a laugh about it.
Molina wasn’t laughing after the game when he was asked if he put anything on his chest protector. Because how else would a baseball defy the laws of gravity? “That’s a dumb question,” Molina responded, per Ben Frederickson of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Altering a ball with a substance — which Molina presumably could have done by rubbing his hand over his chest protector before returning the ball to his pitcher — is against baseball’s rules, of course. But there’s a bit of an unspoken rule where players are allowed to do it as long as they’re not obvious about it. The problem with past offenders like Michael Pineda is that they were way too obvious. Molina would fall under “too obvious” as well.
Aside from Molina’s flippant response, we haven’t heard any explanation about what happened. Hopefully Cecil and/or manager Mike Matheny provide some clarification.