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The story you’re about to read is bizarre, but it’s been confirmed by several baseball writers, including Ken Rosenthal and Jeff Passan. It all started with Chris Sale being scratched from his scheduled start against the Tigers yesterday. That’s all anyone knew, so of course the #hugwatch was on. Then, there was an unconfirmed report that Sale was being scratched due to the flu. Whew. That’s okay, right? It’s just the flu! But then apparently... it wasn’t. The White Sox released a statement that Sale wasn’t just scratched, but he’d been sent home from the ballpark due to a non-physical "clubhouse incident." You can imagine the speculation, right? But the White Sox weren’t saying anything until their internal investigation was finished. (True to their word, they still haven’t commented about — or confirmed — what you’re about to read.)
This is where the story actually gets bizarre, if you can believe it. Because everything that came before this wasn’t bizarre enough. There started to be reports that Sale’s clubhouse incident was a "temper tantrum," and his behavior "forced" the White Sox to send him home. Then, a bombshell. Tommy Stokke of FanRag Sports reported that Sale didn’t want to wear the jerseys that day, which were throwbacks, so he cut them up. Not just his, but everyone’s. Julie DiCaro also reported that the uniforms were cut, and added that Sale’s dispute was specifically about the collar of the jersey. This seemed so out of the blue, and so utterly, thoroughly strange that it didn’t seem like it could be true. Someone had to be playing a little trade deadline joke on everyone.
It would have been a funny joke if it had been one. But both Jeff Passan and Ken Rosenthal confirmed the earlier story via their own sources, that the White Sox had sent Chris Sale home after he cut up the team’s 1976 navy blue throwback jerseys. Rosenthal’s source reported that Sale had asked that the team not wear them that day, as he’d chosen the jersey for all his other starts (just like every White Sox starter does). But yesterday’s jersey was on the team’s public schedule, and it was tied to a giveaway, and the White Sox brass wouldn’t change it. Upset that their giveaway tie-in mattered more than "winning," Sale cut up the jerseys while the team was taking batting practice. Not with scissors, but with a knife. And to twist their own knife, the White Sox passed out those jerseys to everyone in the press box. Truth be told, the similar uniforms they wore last year weren’t all that attractive, and the collars are super weird. But as South Side Sox pointed out, Sale has kind of a history of, well, intense behavior. And taking a blade to uniforms that you don’t like is pretty intense. And honestly, kind of scary. No one involved in this looks good, and it doesn’t seem like there’s a quick resolution ahead. Unless, of course, the Sox actually trade him.