Shrink those shirts! After watching a ball bound into the billowy insides of Sean Rodriguez's(notes) Rays jersey on Monday night, it wouldn't surprise me if Tampa Bay's clubhouse guys were issued that very directive by Joe Maddon after his team's 6-4 win over the Rangers.
The freak occurrence happened as Texas DH Vladimir Guerrero(notes) grounded a ball up the middle with two outs in the top of the sixth inning. Rodriguez tried to make a clean play to end the inning, but the randy Rawlings somehow found its way between the 'R' and 'A' on his chest to perform its own version of the hidden-ball trick.
The ball's attempt to get fresh with Rodriguez set up what might have been a big inning for the Rangers as Elvis Andrus(notes) advanced to third and Josh Hamilton(notes) took second without incident. But Rays pitcher David Price(notes) kept his cool after the wardrobe malfunction and struck out Jorge Cantu(notes) with the bases loaded to escape the extended frame.
"I was just glad I was able to get it out so that the guy couldn't run around third and score. ... It was just frustrating."
If you think you've seen this before, you're not mistaken. A similar play happened to Brooks Conrad(notes) of the Atlanta Braves back in June (keying a huge White Sox rally) and a puck went missing on former Chicago Blackhawks goalie Antti Niemi during last spring's playoffs.
The strange part, though, is that Rodriguez's ball-sucking jersey arguably wasn't the most improbable thing to occur at Tropicana Field on Monday night. That honor would go to the Rays staging a four-run rally off Rangers ace Cliff Lee(notes) in the bottom of the eighth inning.
Coincidentally, that surge — which allowed the Rays to beat Lee for the third time this season — was enabled when Rangers second baseman Joaquin Arias(notes) made an ill-advised and unsuccessful throw to try and force Jason Bartlett(notes) at second.
And unfortunately for Arias, he didn't have a baggy top to blame it on.