Originally published by DodgerBlue.com
As part of Major League Baseball’s crackdown on the use of foreign substances, umpires are now required to check pitchers every game. The majority of these inspections happen randomly, although managers have been given the right to call for one at any time as well.
Arguably the most controversial check to this point came in a contest between the Philadelphia Phillies and Washington Nationals last month. After already being inspected twice, Phillies manager Joe Girardi asked umpires to check Max Scherzer in the middle of the fourth inning.
It drew the ire of many players around the league, including Los Angeles Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw, who feels managers should be punished if they request a check on a pitcher and nothing is found.
During a recent episode of the “Holding Kourt Podcast,” Justin Turner argued that foreign substances inspections are bad for baseball and can’t envision them becoming a regular part of each game:
“I feel like the commissioner knew about this for a few years now, and I just don’t know what he could’ve done or prevented this before it got out of hand, but now for the guys who have used something just to have tack and feel on the ball their whole careers, now they’re getting punished even though they weren’t doing it to enhance their performance.
“They were just doing it to help them command the ball, which is kind of the point of having rosin, pine tar and sunscreen. It sucks for those guys who were using whatever for tack and they can’t even use that anymore because some other guys were using Spider Tack, super glue or whatever. …
“I think they’ll probably monitor and see how it’s going for a couple weeks. I have a hard time seeing this happening every single game for the rest of the season. … It’s not good. It’s not good for the game. These inspections are not good for baseball.”
As Turner noted, the foreign substances checks have been difficult to adjust to. While most pitchers understand their purpose, they certainly would prefer doing away with them and avoiding the awkwardness that stems from the situation.
Blake Treinen’s biggest issue with foreign substances checks is the perception it creates that pitchers are cheating. “The only thing that I really don’t like is it makes every pitcher that comes onto the mound kind of like a guilty culprit until proven innocent,” he said.
“We all just look like we’re a bunch of cheaters to the publics’ eyes, and that’s not really fair to a majority of the pitchers out there. But we’ll do what we have to do if that’s what it means to clear our names.”
Roberts would be cautious with asking for substances check
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts recently revealed he would only request that an opposing pitcher be checked for foreign substances if he is sure something is going on.
“For me, I’m not going to check unless I’m pretty certain,” Roberts said. “But I don’t know if there’s any penalties if you do. I’m all about gamesmanship, but I certainly would pick my spots.”
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