ST. LOUIS — Ever wonder what a real Major League Baseball base looked like underneath? Regardless if the answer is yes or no, you do now. But these bases, like the one in the photo above used for Game 3 of the NLCS, are a little different. They've been retrofitted with microphones so Fox can better pick up its "Sounds of the Game." The microphone is located under the rectangular metal plate, screwed in on the right-hand side.
The worker in the photo was checking each set of bases made by Schutt Sports (there are at least two full sets) during batting practice to ensure the sound was coming through clearly. A technician on the other end of the microphone would advise him if the base sounded "dirty" or "clean" and the worker would whack the base and blow into it — really — to clean it out.
As he was finishing, Marco Scutaro of the San Francisco Giants saw him and asked if he were "blowing it up" like a balloon. Oh, you, Marco!
In case you're wondering what the writing on the sticker says, I transcribed one of them:
The purchaser and/or installer of this product is responsible for advising the end user of the possibility of injury while sliding into the base. The installer and/or purchaser shall read and follow safety and installation instructions packaged with this product.
Extra caution should be taken to ensure anchors are clean and base rests properly on playing surface. Under no circumstances should play commence when bottom of base is standing above playing surface. Injury may result.
Do you think anyone actually talks to the major leaguers about the dangers that sliding into bases presents? Maybe it happens during spring training? Anyway, as to the other sticker, it is a warning that the base should not be used in wet or icy conditions. And there's something about a "clear and present danger" to sliding somewhere (home plate?) but I don't know what it says because the post is in the way. Sorry.