I knew it was coming, you knew it was coming..heck the whole world knew this was coming.
On Monday, in accordance with Major League Baseballs newest attempt to ban foreign and illegal substances from the game, umpires were instructed to begin checking pitchers and baseballs periodically throughout the game for any, but not limited to sticky solidities. And boy did they.
In Philadelphia, Nationals ace Max Scherzer was examined not once, not twice, but three times, ultimately leading him to disrobe on the mound and yell “I got nothing!” In Arlington, A’s reliever, Sergio Romo took off his pants, as to insist that the umpires can literally pat him down from head to toe and they will still not find what they are looking for. In many ways, last night felt like a comedy. A broadway show of sorts. Seeing pitchers get patted down on the mound, TSA style became about as foreign to the game of baseball, as the substances that ML baseball is trying to crack down on itself.
What this all comes down to is a lack of accountability and a failure in leadership. It has become very clear that Commissioner Rob Manfred has lost the game of baseball. And while that may seem overzealous, please know that I am using that term in a very genuine matter.
What (Some) people are failing to realize in all of this is that foreign substances have NEVER been permitted to be used in Major League Baseball. If you want to take some time out of your day to read baseballs CBA, you would find that pitching with foreign substances is deemed “illegal” towards the games purposes. So why enforce all of this now? Why allow pitchers to use these substances blatantly for years upon years, and do absolutely nothing about it? Why decide to enforce mandatory checks for all pitchers in the middle of the season? I’ll tell you why. Incompetence.
I love baseball, I do. I believe it is the greatest game ever made. But what I saw last night, was not baseball. It was a fools game. A mockery of the sport. I saw pitchers getting embarrassed and managers riding their high horses. I saw uncomfortable umpires having to mill through places I can guarantee you they never thought they would be milling before and I saw a pitcher take his pants off on the diamond. THAT IS NOT BASEBALL!!
Do I believe that foreign substances should be banned from baseball? To an extent. I do not believe that there is a place for Spider Tac in the game but I also am under the belief that pitchers have a right to grip the baseball. Now whether this be through sun screen and rosin or hair jell and sweat, pitchers deserve the right to grip a baseball that newsflash, is very and I mean VERY shiny and slippery when it first comes out of the box. I also believe that during the upcoming CBA, there should be one LEGAL substance that shall be agreed upon and used between all ML pitchers. This way, you won’t see Gerrit Cole have a 5,000 RPM on his curveball, but also won’t see Tyler Glasnow need Tommy John due to the force he is putting on a gripless baseball. In my earnest opinion, baseball needs a equal playing ground.
The final point I want to make through all of this is that this new policy will not actually change anything. If Rob Manfred thinks for a second that by having umpires periodically check pitchers during the game will solve the “Sticky substance crisis,” he has a new thing coming. Major League Baseball players are not stupid. They will find ways around this. I can almost guarantee you that during last nights game, Gerrit Cole was pitching with foreign substances in some way, as was Max Scherzer, as will Trevor Bauer tonight. Now how are they doing this you may ask? I don’t know. I guess that is their secret to eventually tell.