July 15, 2014
In the first inning of a game at Comiskey Park, White Sox manager Gene Lamont was tipped off that Cleveland Indians outfielder and notorious douchebag Albert Belle’s bat was corked. If you don’t remember Albert Belle, he was possibly the baddest motherf****** in baseball during the ’90s who hit 50 homers and 52 doubles in 1995, once trucked Fernando Vina, hit trick-or-treat vandals with his Ford Explorer, refused to go to first base after getting hit by a pitch, and would launch bombs like this:
Back to the corked bat incident, it’s an actual rule that a manager may challenge one opposing player’s bat per game so Lamont did and the bat was confiscated by home plate umpire Dave Phillips and locked in the umpires’ dressing room.
The Indians sent reliever Jason Grimsley to steal the bat who went through the ceiling with a flashlight in his mouth and crawled across it to the umpires’ dressing room where he replaced Albert Belle’s corked bat with outfielder Paul Sorrento’s bat. After the game, Phillips noticed that the bats were different as the new bat had Paul Sorrento’s name on it. The police were called and a former FBI agent was flown in by the MLB to investigate the burglary of Belle’s bat.
The MLB probably didn’t really need a former FBI agent to figure out that this was the Indians doing since Paul Sorrento bats presumably don’t frequent the streets of Chicago although I wouldn’t be surprised by anything frequenting the streets of Chicago. The MLB ordered the Indians to produce Belle’s bat which they did and it was sawed in half in front of Belle and Indians GM John Hart. It was of course corked and Belle was suspended 10 games which was later dropped to seven on appeal.
Yes, that’s right. This incident which involved intentional deception, the access of a false ceiling by a flashlight-wielding relief pitcher, and the impending thievery of the corked bat netted Belle a seven-game suspension or 4.3 percent of the MLB season, while Tom Brady was suspended 25% of the NFL season for DeflateGate. Only Goodell.
Five years later, Jason Grimsley revealed his participation in the incident to the New York Times and said that he did it because all of Belle’s bats were corked.