At least one superstar has already been irritated by Major League Baseball
's newest rule.
Umpires must check each starting pitcher
for sticky substances used to doctor the baseball at least once per game, according to the rule.
And when it was his turn to pitch, Nationals pitcher Max Scherzer
, a three-time Cy Young Award winner, didn't look happy:
I haven't seen anyone this irritated by a frisking since the TSA took my almond butter. pic.twitter.com/cCNpyfuAEd — Britt Ghiroli (@Britt_Ghiroli) June 22, 2021
According to ESPN, umpires will inspect hats, gloves, and belts during routine checks, but they may also look elsewhere if they have reason to suspect something.
Opposing managers can also ask umpires to check the pitcher, and Phillies manager Joe Girardi used this later in the game to demand another examination in the middle of an inning.
As the umpires approached, a clearly irritated Scherzer tossed his glove, cap, and unbuckled his pants
in what appeared to be the beginning of a mock striptease:
Max Scherzer was checked AGAIN in the middle of the inning and is about to pull his pants down to get these people
to leave him alone. pic.twitter.com/v6OXMpPOBn — Jared Carrabis (@Jared_Carrabis) June 23, 2021
That was not the end of it:
Max Scherzer just struck out J.T. Realmuto to end the fifth inning and taunted Joe Girardi the entire way to the dugout. When Girardi walked out to say something, Max held up his glove and hat again, taunting him. Girardi was ejected. — Jesse Dougherty (@doughherty_jesse) June 23, 2021
After the fifth inning, Max Scherzer and Joe Girardi had a heated exchange pic.twitter.com/JQIaA6ccna — OPT (@OnePursuitTakes) June 23, 2021
In five innings of work
, Scherzer struck out eight times.
Later in the evening, in another game, A's pitcher Sergio Romo went a step further during an inspection with his own near-striptease:
Sergio Romo of the Oakland
A's was tested for "sticky stuff" and may have outperformed Max Scherzer. pic.twitter.com/wL1jqt4CgE — Chris Halicke (@ChrisHalicke) June 23, 2021
While pitchers have long used sticky substances to grip the ball, the MLB
claims that more recent players have been using far tackier compounds, changing the nature
of the game and giving them an unfair advantage.
In its lengthy report on doctored baseballs, Sports
Illustrated quoted an unnamed major league team executive as saying, "This should be the biggest scandal in sports."
Pitchers who cheat will be suspended for ten games under the new rule.
This season has seen more strikeouts, fewer balls in play, and “some of the lowest batting averages in history
,” according to Baseball America
Phillies manager Joe Girardi asked the umpires to check Max Scherzer for foreign substances. Scherzer and the Nationals were NOT pleased pic.twitter.com/c4Fv4wV63d — Jomboy Media
(@JomboyMedia) June 23, 2021