July 24, 2011
The first time I heard anything about what Coco Crisp(notes) had going on his neck was early last week when the Oakland Athletics played the Detroit Tigers. Tigers blogger Samara Pearlstein spotted what looked like a piercing and posted her observation on Twitter.
Since then, others have taken notice. It's a tattoo! It's a piercing! It's both! Larry Brown Sports noticed it on Friday while the A's were playing the New York Yankees. And of course, any time something happens within the Yankees' big spotlight, it tends to draw more notice.
So we have what appears to be a piercing — or more specifically, as Sam noted, a surface piercing — in the middle of a neck tattoo. The question everyone is asking upon noticing is whether or not Crisp should be allowed to play with that thing in his neck.
It's not something that would cause a distraction to opposing pitchers. Heck, Barry Bonds' dangling cross earring arguably drew more attention back in its day.
But what about safety? What if Crisp slides across grass or dirt, coming into contact with that area? What about a glove when a tag is being applied? Or how about just the normal sweat and dirt that results from playing baseball?
Not to mention (based on my minutes of Internet research) that the skin tends to reject surface piercings, pushing out what it perceives as a foreign object, much like what would happen with a splinter. As Pounded Ink points out, even a simple bump can kickstart the rejection process.
One would assume that the A's front office and training staff has seen Crisp's piercing and signed off on it. (There has been no comment from the team or Crisp himself.) Or they — along with MLB — figure Crisp is an adult and can do whatever he wants, as long as he's aware of the possible repercussions. Surface piercings tend to be a temporary accessory anyway, due to the piercing eventually growing out.
Is this just a phase for Crisp, as his bountiful Afro was just three months ago?