Here's something you don't see every day: a player's phone falling out of his pocket while he's sliding into a base.
That player's name is Rodolfo Castro, and he's an infielder for the Pittsburgh Pirates. While the Pirates were playing the Arizona Diamondbacks on Tuesday night, Castro's phone fell out of his back pocket while he was sliding headfirst into third base.
Seeing that phone slide out of Castro's pocket while he was sliding into third base was a truly weird and unexpected moment. And that's because bringing a phone or any electronic device with you into the dugout is against the rules. The only devices allowed are MLB-approved iPads and PitchCom, the wireless communication system for pitchers and catchers.
A 'horrible' mistake
While bringing a phone into the dugout (or onto the diamond in your pocket) is against the rules, it seems pretty unlikely that any cheating was going on. Teams that cheat go to great lengths to hide it, as we learned when the Houston Astros' 2017 cheating scheme came to light in 2019. So if the Pirates are cheating, they're really, really bad at it. Their record is 44-66 and one of their players had a visible iPhone in his pocket when he came up to bat — an iPhone that then fell out of his pocket for the entire world to see.
Since that level of incompetence is probably impossible to achieve in today's MLB, it seems more likely that Castro forgot he had his phone in his pocket after being in the clubhouse. And that's exactly what Castro said after Tuesday night's game.
“In all reality, I just remember getting dressed, putting my pants on, getting something to eat … never did it ever cross my mind that I still had my cellphone on me,” Castro said through an interpreter. “I went out there, put my sliding pad in my pocket, never felt my phone and just went out there and what happened, happened.
“To be honest with you, I don’t think there’s any professional ballplayer that would ever even go out there with any intentions of taking a cellphone out. It’s horrible that it happened to me. Obviously, it was very unintentional, I didn’t mean to do this at all in any way or form, it’s something I didn’t even know I had on me. And to be completely honest with you, I feel horrible.”
Even though it was an innocent mistake, Castro and the Pirates could still face discipline from MLB. According to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, MLB is now looking into it.