Cubs reliever Luke Little forced to change his glove because of white in American flag patch

Chicago Cubs relief pitcher Luke Little pauses on the mound during the fifth inning of the team's baseball game against the Arizona Diamondbacks Tuesday, April 16, 2024, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) (Ross D. Franklin, Copyright 2024 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

CHICAGO – Chicago Cubs reliever Luke Little said he had to change his glove before he entered Wednesday night's 4-3 victory over the Houston Astros because of an American flag patch.

Manager Craig Counsell went to insert Little with one out in the seventh inning. But as the 6-foot-8 left-hander went through the usual check by umpires for pitchers coming into the game, he was told he had to swap out his glove.

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“The issue was the American flag was on his glove,” Counsell said. “Pitchers' gloves, they're pretty strict about not having white on the pitchers' gloves. Apparently the flag had what could be a distraction to the hitter.”

As Little went to the mound to warm up for his ninth appearance of the season and No. 16 for his career, a clubhouse attendant went to his locker to find a replacement. The first glove he brought to Little also had an American flag patch, so he went back to get another one — which hadn't been broken in.

“I had to beat it a little bit, try and get it flexed out,” Little said. “Of all the things to do is breaking in a glove during a game.”

The 23-year-old Little, who is from North Carolina, said he has been using the same glove since Class A ball. After the issue was resolved, he retired both batters he faced.

Following the victory, Little posted on the social platform X, “ Proud to be an American ... Go Cubs Go, ” along with a flag emoji and a GIF of wrestler Hulk Hogan playing a guitar in front of an American flag.

“The clubbies told me that they had got an email from MLB that I'm not allowed to wear it,” he told The Associated Press. "But I just didn't assume that they were just going to just cut me. It's not like it has an advantage in the game. It's not like it blinds the hitters. Just representing my country.

“Just a whole debacle. Got to get ready without it and throw through it.”

An MLB spokesperson said Thursday that the league notified the Cubs previously that the glove couldn’t be used because the white was deemed a competitive distraction.

The collective bargaining agreement also states: “No player or club may attach or otherwise affix or embroider to any portion of the uniform (including the cap and the helmet, batter and catcher) or playing equipment (including gloves), any pins, flags, commemorative patches, decals or other items," unless authorized by the commissioner's office.



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