Standing on the mound, he realized he had the wrong glove. He meant to wear a mitt with son Luke's name stitched on the thumb. Instead, this one said ''Sean'' - the boy's younger brother.
''It threw me,'' he said. ''I didn't know what to do.''
Then a funny thing happened.
''Luke is stubborn, in an I-can-get-this-done way. I pitch like that,'' Madson said. ''Sean is happy-go-lucky, a loverboy. Seeing Sean's name put me in a different mindset. It relaxed me. I did well, got a couple of strikeouts.''
Now that's good glovework, right there.
Be it a TV character, Bible verse or remembrance of a family member, several mitts at this World Series between the New York Mets and Kansas City will carry a message.
Noah Syndergaard has plenty, all by himself. The young Mets ace has catchy names for all six of his gloves.
He pitched live batting practice Monday with a brown mitt that had ''Thor'' embroidered in gold. At 6-foot-6 with flowing blond locks and a 100 mph fastball, Syndergaard is nicknamed for the hammer-swinging Norse god of thunder and lightning.
There's also his ''Tyrion'' model from ''Games of Thrones'' and ''Drago'' from ''Rocky IV'' and ''Heisenberg'' from ''Breaking Bad,'' among others.
''Characters I like,'' Syndergaard said.
Kansas City pitcher Chris Young wears a black Rawlings glove with the names of kids Cate, Scott and Grant monogrammed near the pocket.
''When I think of them, they make me happy,'' he said.
Likewise, Mets outfielder Juan Lagares has J. Lagares Jr 12 on his good-luck glove. That represents his son and jersey number.
''I look at it every inning when I'm out there,'' he said.
Fellow Mets outfielder Kirk Nieuwenhuis has two gloves, both with inscriptions of Bible verses. Other players have done the same - all-time saves leader Mariano Rivera of the Yankees had a verse stitched into his mitt for many seasons.
Mets veteran Michael Cuddyer has noticed personalized leather becoming more popular over the years. He said former Minnesota teammate Torii Hunter was the first player he saw with one, back in the early 2000s.
Cuddyer doesn't tag his gloves, but said ''it's pretty common now.''
Before every game in this World Series, Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas will mark his mitt. His mother, Connie, recently died and Moustakas pays tribute to her each time he takes the field.
''It's just my mom's initials, just Sharpie-d in,'' he said.