When baseball playoffs turn cold, players go high tech to stay warm: 5 ways they do it

Monday, October 19, 2009

How ballplayers stay warm when playoffs turn cold

Frosty breath, ski caps and pitchers blowing on their hands — ah, it must be time for the baseball playoffs.

The days of players slathering themselves with Vaseline to stay warm are long gone. Now, the guys go more high tech when it’s time to heat up.

Angels equipment manager Ken Higdon told Associated Press sports writer Greg Beacham in Los Angeles five ways that players can keep toasty in the Northeast:

—Wear tights. The Angels pack Dri-Fit gear by Nike for chilly road trips. From top to bottom, it’s lightweight and keeps the body warm. NFL players use it, too. Higdon said many of the Angels wore the tights at Yankee Stadium.

—Love the gloves. The Angels shift to thermal batting gloves from Franklin. Insulated, they can help keep batters from feeling the sting. The Angels brought them to Boston for the first round, but needed them more in New York.

—Very handy. Angels trainers keep hand warmers for anyone who wants them. About the size of ChapSticks, there’s a charcoal ingredient that heats up when rubbed. Can easily fit in a back pocket, but Higdon didn’t think any players carried them onto the field.

—Fuddy duds. Those thermal hats with the earflaps definitely look funny, like something Elmer Fudd would wear. Specially made for the postseason, every team and every player gets them. Is the reward of staying warm worth the fashion risk?

—Bring the heat. The Angels felt way warmer for Game 2 because they installed another dugout heater around the level of the players’ calves. That, along with the regular heaters hanging from the roof, actually kept them OK during the 13-inning game.

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