The ejection of New York Mets starter Max Scherzer in his most recent start against the Los Angeles Dodgers has sparked much debate about the use of rosin for pitchers in Major League Baseball.
Scherzer said he «swears on the lives of my children» that he used whatever foreign substance prompted umpire Phil Cuzzi to remove him from his outing after he deemed his hands too sticky to continue pitching.
Scherzer claimed that he only used rosin and sweat, and despite trying to remove the stickiness with an alcohol wash while an MLB official looked on, Cuzzi still threw him out of the game.
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Former MLB pitcher and current broadcaster David Cone decided to do a little experiment ahead of ESPN’s «Sunday Night Baseball» matchup between the Mets and San Francisco Giants, using MLB’s «rock rosin» to see how sticky fingers get when pitchers use it.
The experiment shows that Scherzer has a case.
«We did a little experiment before the game and I had the bag of rosin right there. That’s the rock rosin,» Cone said. “I didn’t have a lot of sweat to work with, but even with just the rock resin, it got sticky. Then, I went to the alcohol to show them, ‘Okay, let me clean it up.’ I had a little discoloration from the rosin.»
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Cone then showed how sticky his hand was after hinting at alcohol.
«The alcohol activates what’s left of the rosin,» he said.
Scherzer was not only ejected from the game, but was suspended 10 games as a result. He decided not to appeal, reasoning that an MLB official would be overseeing the hearing.
Dan Bellino, who was also umpiring that game in which Scherzer pitched, explained his reasoning for throwing it.
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«As far as the level of stickiness, this was the stickiest since I’ve inspected the hands, going back three seasons,» Bellino said. «Compared to the first entry, the level of stickiness was so sticky that when we touched his hand, our fingers would stick to his hand, and whatever was on it stayed on our fingers after a couple of entries where it was still there.» you could feel the fingers sticking together.»
Scherzer’s side of the story seems to match Cone’s screen.
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«I knew they were going to check me in the fourth,» Scherzer said Wednesday. «So I have to be an absolute idiot to try to do something when I come back for the fourth. I’m facing the MLB official below.» [near the dugout]. I wash my hand with alcohol in front of the officer. I then apply rosin and then grab the sweat. Then I come back and Phil Cuzzi says my hand is too sticky.»