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Mariners pitcher becomes first player ejected under sticky substances rule

Mariners pitcher becomes first player ejected under sticky substances rule

It was only a matter of time until a pitcher failed a spot check in MLB’s new foreign substances crackdown, and that time has come.

Seattle Mariners pitcher Hector Santiago was ejected on Sunday afternoon after umpires checked his glove in the fifth inning and presumably found something that shouldn’t have been there.

While Santiago’s frowny face reaction is pretty great, the best part of that video is the bagging of the suspicious glove. If they plan on sending that glove to a lab so it can be checked more thoroughly than with an umpire’s eyes, they might want to provide the on-site authenticator with a bag specifically for that purpose. In the video, it looks like he’s using a regular drawstring kitchen trash bag they had hanging around one of the dugouts. It looks like a “Naked Gun” parody of the TV show “CSI.”

MLB began heavily enforcing its preexisting ban on sticky substances on Monday. Umpires now inspect pitchers and their gloves at the end of every half-inning and whenever a pitcher leaves the game. (They are also allowed to check during an inning if a pitcher is doing something “suspicious.”) The punishment for failing one of those checks is immediate ejection, followed by a 10-day suspension with pay. The team also can’t replace that player on the roster while they’re suspended.

MLB’s approach to cracking down on sticky substances has been thoroughly lambasted, but it appears to be working.

Every MLB pitcher seems to have gotten the memo except for Santiago. At this point, there’s no defense for getting caught with a foreign substance on your glove. Since everyone knows exactly when they’re going to be checked, the only way to get caught is either carelessness or arrogance. We don’t know which one led to Santiago getting ejected, but it doesn’t matter in the end. He — and the team — will be punished no matter what.

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - JUNE 27: Umpires Phil Cuzzi #10 and Brian Gorman #9 talk to Hector Santiago #57 of the Seattle Mariners before ejecting him from the game after finding a substance on his glove in the fifth inning against the Chicago White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field on June 27, 2021 in Chicago, Illinois.  Today's game is a continuation from yesterday, which was suspended due to inclement weather. (Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images)

Mariners pitcher Hector Santiago was ejected from the game after umpires inspected his glove. (Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images)

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