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Pedro Strops Crooked Hat His Undoing

By Danny Rockett

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It's been long documented that the unconventional way Pedro Strop wears his hat, slightly to the left, has resulted in botched relief appearances and blown holds, but this Spring, Pedro's tilted hat has resulted in a far more nefarious outcome for the reliever, a calf injury.

Pedro's left calf muscle has kept him out of Spring Training action this year, and it seems years of extra unnecessary grams of pressure exerted onto Strop's left leg over his 9 year career has finally taken it's toll on the right handers calf.

Back in 2009 through 2011, when Strop pitched for the Rangers at the beginning of his career, Pitching Coach Mike Maddux levied fines against Strop for his unorthodox hat fashion. Even sending him to a local haberdashery to learn the history of hat wearing in order to appreciate the long tradition of wearing hats straight. But it was to no avail, and now we finally see the chickens coming home to roost. I liken it to a life long smoker who finally gets lung cancer. It was bound to happen.

Strop also suffered a torn meniscus in his left knee during the Cubs Championship season of 2016. It was the first sign of trouble that the extra weight from his left leaning hat was exerting pressure and weakening Pedro's left leg. The injury should have been a wake up call to Manager Joe Maddon that his motivational slogan of "If it Looks Hot, Wear It" shouldn't apply to players who are out of uniform, as Strop has been for his entire career.

Fans in Chicago have even tried to convince Strop that his hat was ruining his pitching performances as well. Complaining regularly on Twitter that the 16 home runs he's given up in 271 plus innings since he's been a Chicago Cub have been caused by his tilted and disrespecting hat. 

And though some Cubs fans have embraced Pedro Strop's crooked hat, even taking #Selfies with their own hats tilted left when Strop appears in a game, complete with the #HatsLeft hashtag in a show of solidarity with the setup reliever, the fun appears to be over. Fans that know how baseball should be played, The Right Way, also know that baseball uniforms need to be worn the right way to achieve success. It seems that the years of individuality Pedro has enjoyed up until now has finally caught up with him.

So what's next for Pedro Strop and when can we expect him back pitching for the Cubs? Famed baseball surgeon Dr. James Andrews has prescribed at least 2 weeks of rehab of throwing off a flat surface with Strop's hat twisted slightly to the right to try and counteract years of damage. This process should help even out Strop as he gets used to pitching in live games with his hat worn correctly. It's too early to tell if this method of rehabilitation will be effective, as years of wearing a hat to the left has left Strop's scalp damaged and uneven. The treatment has only been tried once before on reliever Fernando Rodney resulting in increased longevity, but with the side effect of Rodney impulsively shooting imaginary and invisible arrows when he pitches. Rodney still wears his hat crooked, but spends the off season turning his hat in the opposite direction to prepare for the new season. He sadly sometimes thinks he's wearing a hat even when he isn't. Rodney is nearly a decade older than Strop and if Pedro is to achieve Rodney's longevity, a similar hat training program should be implemented immediately.

The Cubs bullpen looked promising with the off season acquisitions of Steve Cishek and Brandon Morrow, both of who wear their hat in the traditional fashion, but Pedro Strop is a key piece to the Cubs pitching staff. It's a shame to lose such a valuable pitcher due to a crooked hat. Let's hope Pedro Strop realizes that his flouting of tradition is not only an affront to baseball, but could possibly end his career. Hat's off to the Cubs for nipping this in the bud now before #HatsLeft is all that's left of Pedro Strop.

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