Since the start of the MLB season, one of the biggest topics of discussion has been the use of sticky substances by pitchers. These substances help pitchers increase their spin rate making it harder for hitters. In recent weeks, the MLB has started to crack down on pitchers using these substances. This came to head earlier this week when the MLB started to allow umpires to check pitchers mid-game.
As expected, pitchers have not taken a liking to the mid-season change of the rules. Some have complained publicly to the media while others have made a mockery of the whole process on the field. Tyler Glasnow even went as far as to blame his elbow injury on the change in rules. While every pitcher has treated their substance checks differently, here are the four best reactions that have come from the first week of substance checks.
4) Shohei Ohtani
Of course this is how Shohei Ohtani’s substance check goes.— Ben Verlander (@BenVerlander) June 23, 2021
Smile. Laugh. Thank them.
Even since Ichiro came to the United States, Japanese baseball players have shown Americans that they are the perfect picture of class on the baseball field. Shohei Ohtani’s arrival in America has done nothing but help to prove that theory. There has yet to be a bad thing said about him in the media and all he does is pitch well and hit monster home runs. Because of this, his reaction to the substance check is unsurprising. Ohtani gracefully took off his glove and hat and laughed as the umpires checked his equipment. While the umpires were probably appreciative of this gesture, other pitchers around the league had much better reactions when the umpires approached them.
3) David Hale
Even in the misery of giving up a grand slam, the umpire still makes you undo your belt pic.twitter.com/ffqA1xsYPv— MLB Foreign Substance Checks (@StickyCheck) June 23, 2021
When David Hale entered the game on Wednesday, the Phillies led 9-5. After a Trea Turner 2 RBI double and a Josh Bell grand slam that lead was long gone. As boos rained down, David Hale walked back to the dugout hoping his day on the field was over. It was not as the umpires approached him to check for illegal substances on him. While the check went smoothly it was the circumstance that made it memorable. Even if Hale was using anything it obviously didn’t help him and the umpires checking was just adding insult to injury. To make matters worse, Hale was designated for assignment two days later which most likely closes the book on his Phillies career. If so, at least he had a memorable last appearance.
2) Max Scherzer
This is incredible.— Baseball America (@BaseballAmerica) June 23, 2021
Joe Girardi asked the umpires to check Max Scherzer for sticky stuff again.
Max Scherzer was one of the first pitchers to get checked and he certainly made the most of it. Over the course of the game, he was checked multiple times by the umpires. While the checks were meant to be random, these checks seemed to be coming because of requests from Phillies manager Joe Girardi. This led to Scherzer getting more and more frustrated each time. By the final check, Scherzer had finally reached his wit’s end. As the umpires were approaching, he threw his hat and glove to the ground in frustration and started to unbuckle his belt. The umpires got there in time so he wasn’t able to pull his pants all the way down but his initial reaction comfortable lands him as the second-best reaction of the week.
1) Sergio Romo
Oakland A’s reliever Sergio Romo was checked for “sticky stuff” and might have upstaged Max Scherzer in the process. pic.twitter.com/wL1jqt4CgE— Chris Halicke (@ChrisHalicke) June 23, 2021
Sergio Romo takes the top spot on this list as he went where Max Scherzer didn’t. As he was walking off the field in a game against the Texas Rangers he was stopped by an umpire. Instead of waiting for the umpire to ask him to take off his equipment, he took matters into his own hands. He stripped off his hat and belt and whipped them to the ground. Taking the act one step further, he proceeded to pull his pants down in front of a crowded ballpark. This action, which is above and beyond what Scherzer did, comfortably lands Romo in the top spot for the week. As time goes on, there will be crazier reactions but for now, these were the best that MLB pitchers could come up with.