CHICAGO — After Wednesday's win, White Sox ace pitcher Chris Sale talked to reporters while wearing a blue trucker's cap with a mysterious Kansas City phone number on it and "Call Me" scribbled above the brim.
A White Sox beat writer asked Sale what people could expect to hear if they dialed the digits on the cap — 816-304-4068.
"You'll see," Sale said with sinister grin. "Just give it a call. … See what you get."
That's about the time rookie pitcher Scott Carroll's cell phone started to blow up.
Welcome to the big leagues Mr. Carroll, you've just been punked by a two-time All-Star.
If you listen closely to the Comcast SportsNet video of the interview you can hear Carroll taking a ribbing from teammates.
"Whose number is that?" one player can be heard saying, followed by a round of belly laughs.
And you can hear Carroll, who just got out of the shower, reply, "Gee, you try to do something nice for the guy and this is how he repays you," and then more laughs.
Carroll, whose says his phone still hasn't stopped ringing, quickly changed his voicemail message into Sale's endorsement of "Doodle Hats," the dry-erase ball cap that Sale had on his head and the rookie has a financial stake in.
"Hi, you've reached DoodleHats.com thanks to Chris Sale's wonderful performance," the message says. "Go to Doodlehats.com and get yourself a Doodle Hat."
Carroll invested in Doodle Hats with his high-school buddy Ryan McClellend, a lawyer in their hometown of Liberty, Mo. McClelland designed the trademarked ball cap as a hobby.
Earlier this week, Carroll brought a bunch of Doodle Hats to the clubhouse, where players had some fun adding designs and funny (erasable) slogans to the caps.
“I thought it was a good opportunity to give hats to the guys, get the product out there, let ‘em see them and give them a gift and have it be something to keep things light in the clubhouse. They loved ‘em,” Carroll said Thursday.
“And after the game I come out of the shower and see Sale being interviewed and thought ‘Oh, cool he’s wearing the hat.’ And then I got closer and realized that’s my number on there, dang.”
Carroll said Sale told him, "I was trying to prank you and punk you and this is going to help out your business."
Sale's prank did sting a little though, Carroll said.
"You know, I've had that same cell phone number since high school, so I'm really reluctant to change it. So, hopefully the calls subside," he said. "I'm going to be bummed if I have to change my number."
McClelland said the All-Star pitcher's little prank — and Carroll's impromptu voicemail sales pitch — has already spiked sales of Doodle Hats, which are available in black, blue, red and pink for $19.95.
"We've got several orders coming in and we're all over Twitter right now," he said. "I gotta say that was quite the creative use of the Doodle Hat."
Like Sale, who has a reputation for being a bit of a goofball and prankster off the field, Carroll doesn't take himself too seriously.
The right-hander, who ironically made his big league debut filling in for an injured Sale on April 27, is the star of his own YouTube infomercial touting himself as the guy who will "endorse anything."
You see Carroll on the ball diamond he played on in high school wearing a Doodle Hat that says, "Your Brand Here."
"While being a professional baseball player is a dream come true, the pay is total crap," Carroll says. "That's why I'm doing endorsements. And I'll endorse anything."
He goes on: "Are celebrities turning down your offers because they don't believe in your business plan? Not me."
And then he suggests businesses that might want to pay for his endorsement services.
"Family restaurants. Shady cover businesses. Discreet adult services," he says. "If you have cash and a somewhat legitimate business, you can have an endorsement."
Or you can tout your business on your very own Doodle Hat — the unofficial post-game ball cap of All-Star Chris Sale.
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