Right now, baseball is involved in a strange scandal. There are pitchers who are using a combination of suntan lotion, rosin and something called Spider Tack, which allows them to pitch fastballs and sliders with incredibly high spin rates, pitches that can flummox even the most skilled batters. It hearkens back to the days of when some pitchers used to create new, physics-defying seams on the baseball by rubbing the baseball on an emery stick that was hidden in the glove, or wiping the ball on a barely-noticeable rasp on their belt buckle, or lubricating the ball with K-Y Jelly or Vaseline or soap flakes or whatnot.
Now granted, balls that have illegal substances or modifications, including spitballs, are illegal in baseball, and umpires can eject a player for this type of blatant chicanery. Which brings us to a baseball game yesterday between the Philadelphia Phillies and the Washington Nationals.
On the mound for Washington was Max Scherzer, one of the most dominant pitchers of our time. Trust me, this guy could throw a baseball through a fence knothole and not even scrape the ball’s seam in the process. The Nats are up 3-1 in the fourth inning, when Phillies manager Joe Girardi asks the umpires to check Scherzer for any illegal substances.
Max Scherzer, who didn’t earn the nickname “Mad Max” just because he likes the Mel Gibson / Tom Hardy movie series, responded with complete calm and professionalism. Yeah, right.
I don’t even want to know what Max Scherzer was hiding in his trousers. That information should only be privy to Max Scherzer and Mrs. Max Scherzer.
Anyway, as the game progressed, Girardi and Scherzer kept staring daggers at each other, to the point where Girardi was eventually tossed from the contest, while Scherzer showed off his glove and hand from the dugout.
And apparently, Scherzer wasn’t the only one to almost show a full moon on a sunny day. Later that evening, Oakland Athletics pitcher Sergio Roma, when questioned about whether he might be doctoring his throws, emulated Scherzer’s voluntary strip search.
You know what? I’m not going to attempt to describe this any more. Let the people at Jomboy Media explain it all to you.
But yeah, I’m still kinda weirded out about a player attempting to show off a different set of balls and bat in the middle of a game. Because it reminds me of one of the great mental gaffes in baseball history.
Take it away, Steve Lyons.
But let’s all be honest. If you’re going to flash the crowd, don’t do it in anger at an opposing manager. Do it when your team is battling the Syracuse Bulldogs in the finals of the Federal League championship, and your team is beating clobbered by Ogie Oglethorpe and the rest of the Syracuse goon squad.
Yeah, I know, but any excuse for me to use a clip from the 1970’s film Slap Shot is a good excuse. 😀