Well, it didn’t take long for MLB’s new substance inspections to turn petty and downright crazy.
Phillies manager Joe Girardi has been ejected from Tuesday night’s game after doing what few men are bold enough (foolish enough?) to do: start up with Max Scherzer.
This is the Phillies’ first game since the new rule took effect on Monday. Umpires will inspect the starting pitchers at least once during their appearance, relievers will be checked at the end of the inning or appearance, and there may also be random inspections throughout the game. Managers can also ask the umpires to inspect an opposing pitcher again, which is what happened in Tuesday’s Phillies-Nationals game.
Scherzer was inspected early in the game, but apparently, that wasn’t good enough for Girardi. In the bottom of the 4th, he asked the umpires to inspect him again. Scherzer was visibly miffed, and tossed his cap and glove down and undid his belt as Nationals manager Dave Martinez joined him and the umpires on the mound.
As the inning ended, Scherzer stared Girardi down in the Phillies dugout. Girardi, incensed, took the field yelling for Scherzer, and got ejected. Scherzer, already in his own dugout, held up his substance-free hands.
Girardi is pretty bold going after a pitcher whose nickname is Mad Max, especially considering he was managing the Yankees when Michael Pineda got caught using pine tar.
After Scherzer’s start was over, the Nationals’ social team threw some shade of their own:
As most of us expected, the substance inspections are already a clown show. Umpires – many of whom already power-trip harder than beach parking attendants on the fourth of July – have now been endowed with basically unfettered power. And opposing managers can demand additional inspections to mess with the flow of the game and get in the pitchers’ heads. Not to mention, having a manager trying to fight a player, especially one as respected as Scherzer, is a terrible look for the game.
Furthermore, Girardi didn’t seem to have any proof that Scherzer was using substances after he’d already passed his initial umpire check. The umpire could’ve ejected him for asking in bad faith, but his behavior tonight will likely lead to further discipline.
In an attempt to avoid sticky situations, Major League Baseball has created one.