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Arizona baseball: Tyler Crawford and Matt Hartman sharing more than just the mound

Because you gotta be able to see at night


The first time the Arizona Wildcats took on the Arizona State Sun Devils in 2016, things didn't go so well for UA.

Basically the only positive to come out of it was the season debut of fifth-year senior Tyler Crawford, who hadn't pitched in just over two years.

But when he took the mound for the first time, cameras caught a weird moment. Matt Hartman, who was pitching before Crawford, handed the senior his pitching glasses.

"I had some texts about it," Crawford said of the moment.

"I had a few people text," Hartman added. "My parents asked me 'What's the deal with the glasses thing?'. But it is what it is."

"Hopefully we can hand 'em off a few more times."

Crawford lost his glasses last year, and since he only has a limited time left in baseball, he didn't want to spend the money on a new pair.

"I didn't need 'em during Tommy John rehab," Crawford explained. "I didn't need to see at night, so I've been without 'em for a while."

There have been a lot of things that have changed around the Arizona baseball team under the new coaching staff, but the need for night-time glasses for Hartman and Crawford is one of the more under-appreciated ones in my opinion.

"With the old coaching staff, it wasn't a big deal because we had a night sign system," continued Crawford. "And then Coach Lawn came in and said we don't do that no matter what, so if you have eye problems, you better go get some glasses."

"That was one of the first things (Lawn) said," added Hartman. "If you're blind, get glasses, because there will be no night signs."

"So maybe it's the old saviness in me that decides to go check other people's glasses before I went to pay for my own, and Hartman's worked great for me," said Crawford.

In steps Hartman, who apparently has a similar prescription to Crawford.

"I asked (Hartman) and said 'We'll never pitch at the same time', so can I borrow 'em when I have to pitch, and he was cool about it."

"I've had 'em since my sophomore year in high school," Hartman said about how old his glasses are now.

But it couldn't have worked out any more perfect that in Crawford's first appearance, he would need to take them right there on the mound, in front of the Pac-12 cameras.

"What's funny is he talked to me about it before the season, and we had been joking about it for a while," Hartman said if they knew this exact situation was going to happen. "Even right before the game, we were talking like 'What if I'm pitching, and you come in right after me?'"

"We've been talking about it since the fall," added Crawford. "What happens then, and sure enough it's the first outing that I have."

Hartman had thrown an inning in that game, and as Jay Johnson headed to the mound to pull him from the game, it seemed to be a roller coaster of emotion for the sophomore.

"Initial reaction, coach comes out and you're a little bummed," explained Hartman. "Then I look up and I see Craw jogging in and started laughing and was like 'Well, here it is'. It's on TV and everything."

Even though it sounds like Crawford was warming up in the Arizona bullpen not being able to see anything, he says otherwise.

"I can see the target, it's the fingers," he explained. "It's not super complex, but there's multiple fingers being flashed with locations and pitches and everything in sequences that we know, but it's very particular, so you have to be able to see all the fingers."

"When I'm warming up I'm fine. I can see the glove no issues whatsoever. It's just the fingers at night. I honestly don't need to use (the glasses) during the day. It's literally just for night time, so it's not a huge deal."

"It's really annoying trying to see the fingers down there," Hartman tacked on.

But what actually happened to Crawford's glasses? There's a bit of an unsolved mystery here that needs to make its way onto the Investigation Discovery Channel or something.

"I don't know whatever happened to mine," he said. "They were in my bag, in a case, and one day the case was gone. I don't know what happened."

"So whoever took Craw's glasses, give 'em back," Hartman shouted at my phone. "Please. You're a thief."

"They're black Oakley-framed."

Let's be real. We're better off not finding the glasses.