Though Major League Baseball’s crackdown on foreign substances is meant to expose the game’s cheaters, the new rules may result in a positive unintended consequence — clearing innocent pitchers, even eliminating them from prior speculation — according to Hall of Famer Tom Glavine.
The crackdown already has cleared one big-name pitcher — Washington’s Max Scherzer — Glavine said.
“I think there will be some guys who are not doing anything that maybe we’ve heard whispers about,” Glavine said Wednesday during a conference call to promote the upcoming American Century Championship celebrity golf tournament. “To me, Scherzer’s one of those guys that I’ve heard whispers about. He clearly wanted to show that he was not [using foreign substances]. And he was irked by it. And I completely understand his reaction.”
Schezer finds himself at the center of MLB’s crackdown following his theatrics during Tuesday’s game against the Phillies. After Philadelphia manager Joe Girardi requested that umpires check Scherzer in the middle of the fourth inning — Scherzer’s third inspection of the game — Scherzer exploded, tossing his glove and hat to the ground while gesturing to the Philadelphia dugout.
Though some pitchers have handled the inspections with mild manners, Scherzer and Oakland’s Sergio Romo were clearly frustrated. Romo started to undress on the field.
“I would venture to say, with me, I would walk off the mound, ‘Here’s my glove, here’s my hat, here’s my belt, all right. Let me go about my business,’ ” Glavine said. “ ‘Cause I’m sure it’s not fun for the umpires either. It’s the kind of thing, why make a bigger deal about it than you have to?”
While Glavine, the former Brave and Met, said he never used sticky stuff over the course of his 22-year major league career, he admitted to understanding the plight facing pitchers. Glavine, like former major leaguer Jerry Blevins, stressed the importance of common substances like sunscreen and rosin.
“You pitch in cold weather and that baseball feels like a snowball and it’s really hard to do anything with it,” Glavine said. “Sometimes in the middle of the summer, when it’s really hot and humid, it’s hard to keep your hand dry and the ball can get slippery.
“This has kinda been going on for a while and everyone knew it was going on. It got to a point where it got to be too much and Major League Baseball had to do something about it. So they only have themselves to blame, to some extent.”