In 2014, then-Yankees starter Michael Pineda – now with the Twins – was caught using pine tar multiple times and suspended for ten games. The pine tar was noticeably visible on Pineda’s neck on national television, making it virtually impossible that Girardi didn’t know about it.
But on Tuesday night, with only the weakest excuse that Girardi had never seen Max Scherzer touch his hair (????) in a game before (who looks for that?!), he demanded an umpire inspection for substances, even though Scherzer had already passed two inspections.
Scherzer passed Girardi’s requested inspection in the fourth inning, and kept pitching. As he headed to the dugout after the fifth, Scherzer stared Girardi down with his patented Mad Max glare, which led many to believe that was why Girardi walked up the steps and eventually ran onto the field, yelling. But it’s now clear that he was actually incensed by Long’s shouts.
You can see Girardi and Long’s interaction around the 3:15 mark:
Girardi started walking towards the Nats dugout shouting, “C’MON K-LONG, YOU WANNA GO?” as Scherzer holds up his clean hat and glove in the dugout again.
As JomBoy illustrates in the clip, there’s more to this story than Long simply sticking up for one of his players. Long was Girardi’s hitting coach with the Yankees from 2007-2014. He was there for the pine tar incident, among other Yankees cheating scandals, and he worked closely with Girardi for a long time. They won the 2009 World Series together. He knows firsthand what Girardi knew about players cheating and let slide.
“K-Long,” as Girardi calls him in the video, was presumably outraged that Girardi was nitpicking, looking for a reason to have Scherzer inspected again, considering their time together in the Bronx.
Long isn’t wrong here, though. Girardi’s reason for asking for a third inspection is tenuous at best. Maybe if Scherzer hadn’t already been inspected multiple times, it would make more sense. But all Scherzer was doing was rubbing his sweaty, balding head.
Considering K-Long knows exactly how Girardi operates, he definitely seemed to think his former skipper was being a hypocrite. And Girardi probably wouldn’t have been so triggered if there wasn’t a kernel of truth to it.