Big League Stew - MLB

Ronny Cedeño of the Pittsburgh Pirates played the first three innings Sunday, and even hit a home run, while wearing a jersey with the team's name spelled in Spanish across the front.

Cedeño wore the "Piratas" top when he cracked his eighth home run of the season in the top of the second inning against the Florida Marlins. Not until the top of the fourth was Cedeño made to change his jersey top to become — uh — uniform with the rest of his teammates.

It's against the rules otherwise.

But who could blame him for the fashion faux pas in Pittsburgh's season finale? Cedeño's team was on the way to its 105th defeat, which includes an astonishing 17-64 road record — matching the 1963 New York Mets for worst road mark in a 162-game season. Only the 1935 Boston Braves lost more away games (65) since 1900.

[Photos: Worst MLB uniforms]

With such a failure rate, why would anyone want to wear the Pirates' dreary ol' road grays? Why not mix it up a bit and try something new, however late?

On the other hand, the Bucs were only 0-1 in the jerseys they wore for Hispanic Heritage Night at Milwaukee on July 10. Those tops are nearly identical to the Bucs' regular roadies, except they say "Piratas" (Spanish for Pirates) instead of "Pittsburgh" across the front.

So was Cedeño trying to change his own luck, or that of manager John Russell, who is expected to lose his job this week, by reverting to July? Well, probably not.

By the look on his face as he was changing in the dugout — he was steamed — Cedeño was either victimized by a prank, or the clubhouse attendant who set out the uniforms made a mistake.

Sometimes, teams get jerseys that are messed up by the manufacturer. (Right, Eugenio Velez(notes)?) But every player is at the mercy, to an extent, of the clubhouse guy.

You see — and this is not to rag on the players — but these guys don't do much for themselves until they step into a batter's box or get into an athletic stance on defense. They usually rely on managers and coaches to tell them where to go. They usually rely on agents and others to worry about money matters. They rely on clubhouse attendants to put out their uniforms.

Yes, common sense says it's a player's personal responsibility to make sure he's wearing the correct gear. You'd think Cedeño would check himself in a mirror. Or that someone would notice he was wearing the wrong top during warmups, or after his first at-bat. People make fun of them for finishing with a losing record the past 18 seasons but, like any great organization, the Pirates eventually came together as a team and got Cedeño wearing the right jersey.

My question: Why did the Bucs even bring Spanish-language jerseys with them to Florida? They hadn't worn them in a game in three months. Were they worried the Marlins would pull a last-minute switcheroo and go to the "Los Marlins" tops for the season finale?

[Photo Rewind: New uniform compared to Domino's Pizza logo ]

That's what makes me suspect a teammate's practical joke. The jersey shouldn't have been there in the first place. If anything, the Bucs should have brought the home whites because they went 40-41 at PNC Park. That's nearly mediocre!

Now, will anyone step forward to claim responsibility for helping to make Cedeño look foolish? Well, no one appeared to Sunday. And now it's the offseason. Will anyone on the Pittsburgh beat play Inspector Javert and bring to light the reason for this mix-up?

Yeah, the reporters might have other irons in the fire. But inquiring minds, ya' know?

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Follow Dave on Twitter — @AnswerDave

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