There was a time in Royals' history in which the motley crew of potential candidates for this sponsored post would have been a depression-inducing mix of GRIT-embodying utility players and slap-hitting middle infielders. Their primary redeeming qualities were typically filed under the subheading: Intangibles.
That these intangibles comprised the near-entirety of these players' worth was immaterial for many [read: the Royals brass of yore, the Fox Sports Kansas City broadcast team, Polk Points enthusiasts, and a sizable percentage of the less analytical fanbase].
Tangibles? Real, substantive value played little part in any positive valuations of the Willie Bloomquists, Chris Getzes, Willie Bloomquists, Jason Kendalls, Willie Bloomquists, Mitch Maiers, Willie Bloomquists, Ross Gloads, and Willie Bloomquists of the world.
Photo credit: Jamie Squire/Getty Images
While the vast majority of those middling-to-poor players for whom it was easy to root and who appear to be perfectly nice with one glaring exception, the most vocal of their champions shouted their names from the rooftops because they saw a bit too much of themselves in these men.
Except for MITCH! His career ERA speaks for itself.
These players dirtied their uniforms in the name of sport. Or so the spun narratives told us.
Traveling further back into Royals history, the candidate for "filthiest player" would inarguably have been Hall of Fame third baseman George Brett. The reasons for this label and the need for a top-notch washer and dryer [Buy Maytag®!] were much more colorful than the other list of players.
In his playing days, George Brett was a job creator.
With the myriad ways in which George Brett could dirty a uniform, the need for a dedicated launderer whose entire existence was to work deterge-magic on the third baseman's whites and blues, extracting all manner of fluid, particulate, grass, and other matter and erasing every last trace of the previous night's on-field exploits. These Wizards of Wisk, these Prestidigitators of Purex, these--uh, these Dynamos broke new ground in the laundry arts, developing new and exciting techniques to wash the mess from Brett's powder blues.
On this new incarnation of the Royals, their defense-first brand of baseball makes for a long list of potential candidates for filthiest player. One could easily argue that either Alcides Escobar or Mike Moustakas dirty their uniforms enough to need their own dedicated team of laundry maestros and Maytag®-brand [Buy Maytag®!] machines reading "Escobar-" and Moustakas-only." That fabric remains present on the knees of their pants is a miracle worthy of consideration for canonization.
While the left side of the Royals' infield gets dirty like it is their sole purpose in life, there is one Royal whose exploits require a squadron of men and women working 'round the clock to keep his uniform looking new.
Anyone who watched the Royals' thrilling postseason run could understand why Cain's uni gets dirtier than the rest. If anybody was trapped in a mine or living under a rock last October, here's a refresher:
Photo credit: H. Darr Beiser-USA TODAY Sports
Look at how dirty that uniform is.
The insane part? That's before he made things worse for the Cain-only bank of Maytag®-brand machines by fully laying out for that spectacular diving catch.
Even more bonkers, sometimes he makes two spectacular, uniform-ruining catches in a single inning.
Imagine the consternation that befell the Lorenzo Cain Laundry Brigade as they attempted to scrub that FULL-BODY GRASS STAIN from his already dirt-covered uniform.
Lorenzo Cain is such a terror to the Royals' launderers that he buries terrible stains under nightmare-inducing ones.
Every way in which one can dirty a uniform is an area in which Lorenzo Cain excels.
Think of situations calling for sliding. Stolen bases? Leads the team. Inside-the-park extra-base hits? Leads the team. Runs scored? Leads the team. Adding to the dirt wantonly smeared into his uniform are the myriad ways in which he throws his body at every fly ball hit his way. Think dirt is hard to get out of a uniform? Try getting grass stains out of that light-toned fabric.
Lorenzo Cain is so hard on his uniform that he might stress the Maytag machines so heavily as to actually precipitate a visit from Arthur Carlson.
Never is the dirtiness of his uniform more apparent than when he flashes his pearly whites, mischievously showing the original color of the uniform that has been dirtied to levels previously just imagined by man. In those moments, the Lorenzo Cain Laundry Brigade shudders, imaginations running wild with visions of hour after interminable hour of cleaning and sleepless weeks stuck in a never-ending cycle of scrubbing by hand, washing, rewashing, rescrubbing, and rewashing only to have the whole cruel cycle start anew when Cain steps onto the field the next day.
The Lorenzo Cain Laundry Brigade prays for road trips, when the harrowing byproduct of his spectacular on-field feats becomes someone else's problem. Deep in their hearts, though, they know there is no team whose laundry battalion can rid his uniform of the stains beset upon it by Cain's competitive spirit.
Whether originating from his daring exploits on the basepaths or his body-sacrificing dives on the field, the damage Lorenzo Cain does to his uniform is unfathomable.
To the Lorenzo Cain Laundry Brigade, we salute you.
As the official washer and dryer of MLB, Maytag brand is searching for the "Filthiest Plays of the Week." Starting August 3rd ball players of any level can upload a picture or video of their "filthy play" using #MyFilthiestPlay for a chance to win a trip to the World Series plus a Maytag brand Top Load Washer and Dryer pair. Baseball fans have the power to vote for their favorite filthy play each week at MLB.com/Maytag. Follow Maytag on Twitter and Instagram to stay up-to-date with the newest and filthiest plays.