Ah, baseball. What a glorious sport.
One minute we bemoan the bad baserunning and the fact that there have been too many non-hitters in the last few months, the next we watch the pitchers venture dangerously close to stripping in an outraged attempt to prove their “sticky” innocence.
We knew players weren’t likely to take too kindly to Major League Baseball’s crackdown on foreign substances – which stipulates that pitchers will be ejected and suspended for using illegal foreign substances to cure baseballs – but For my part, I entirely underestimated the drama it was about to ensue.
I also never dared to imagine that Bryce Harper’s hair would be involved. It’s on me though, at this point I should have known her hair would find a way.
In case you got lost somewhere between referee patting Max Scherzer’s head and Philadelphia Phillies manager Joe Girardi seemingly trying to fight the Washington Nationals ace, here’s what’s happened since Mad Max took the mound on Tuesday night.
Around 7:30 p.m. ET, Tuesday: The Max Scherzer Saga unfolds
Max Scherzer was back to his old stuff (read: hitting eight in five innings) when he returned to the Nats roster on Tuesday after missing a start with a groin injury. Apparently, Phillies manager Joe Girardi is not so familiar with the three-time Cy Young Award winner’s work as it looked suspicious to him. To be precise, the fact that Scherzer was touching his sweaty hair got him thinking.
“It was suspicious to me,” Girardi said. Because Girardi rocks what most sounds like a buzzcut, I’m going to give him the benefit of the doubt that he doesn’t know how hard it can be to see when beads of sweat in his hair pollute your vision. I also guess he kept thinking that sweaty hair might provide a good source of moisture to grab a baseball that might be better than the taste of licking rosin. But Scherzer – who had previously engaged in the baseball version of an intrusive airport search as part of second baseman Alfonso Marquez’s sticky substance checks after innings one and three – was not in the mood to make concessions.
When Marquez approached Scherzer for the third time, at Girardi’s request, he threw his glove and hat to the ground, unbuckled his belt, and appeared ready to take his pants off in what turned into an intensely bizarre scene. “I have nothing,” Scherzer repeated to the referees, before glaring at the Philadelphia shelter, brushing his hair with his hands and yelling, “Just wet! “
What happened next was even more fun and slightly alarming. After Scherzer sent the Phillies in order to fifth and stared at Girardi while returning to the Nationals dugout (as is done when they’ve been accused of cheating), Girardi took off. The Phillies manager jumped onto the field, waving his hands and screaming as he charged towards the National dugout. Home plate umpire Tim Timmons quickly intercepted and sent him off.
Phillies manager Joe Girardi and Max Scherzer have a downcast look that results in Girardi being ejected after asking the referees to check Scherzer for foreign substances for the third time.
While I was originally quick to condemn the manager for taunting a player, it has since emerged that Girardi is looking to get started with his former batting coach Kevin Long, not Scherzer. Long, who spent a lot of time with Girardi in the Bronx while they were both with the New York Yankees, could be seen yelling at Girardi for checking Scherzer again. To which Girardi replied: “THIS MY K-LONG, YOU WANT TO GO?” as a flaming Scherzer without any foreign substance once again raised his clean hat and glove in the dugout.
What a time to live.
About. 10:30 p.m. ET, Tuesday: Sergio Romo picks up where Scherzer left off
It wasn’t as exciting as the Scherzer saga, but any other night what happened with Sergio Romo would have put my jaw to the ground.
Romo pitched the seventh for the Oakland Athletics against the Rangers in Texas on Tuesday night and ceded a 440-foot homerun to Eli White with two inning strikeouts. I won’t be so presumptuous to assume that any time is a good time to be rocked by a third baseline ump, but naturally Romo was really in no mood after getting the round final. So when Dan Iassogna approached, the veteran right-hander threw his glove and hat on the ground, ripped off his belt and threw it at the referee’s feet. Then he unbuttoned and opened the zipper on his pants before pulling them down to his knees.
Sergio Romo was lively after the refs asked to check him for sticky stuff. pic.twitter.com/vJM0tJ5rVa
– Sports center (@Sports center) June 23, 2021
Check the pitchers at your own risk.
About. 1:30 p.m. ET, Wednesday: Scherzer and Ryan Zimmerman call out Bryce Harper’s hair
New day, same debacle. On Wednesday, Scherzer and Ryan Zimmerman wanted to be mean – er, had some fun at the expense of their former teammate. The Washington Nationals duo could be seen screaming from the Nats dugout for the ref to check Bryce Harper’s hair. Which, if we’re being honest, probably has more sticky stuff in it than any pitcher has used this season.
From the canoe, Max Scherzer and Ryan Zimmerman have fun with Bryce Harper by asking the referees to check his hair is not sticky.
Hey, fair is fair.