Kids are watching, Sergio
MLB pitchers are getting their first taste of life after sticky stuff this week and some are handling it better than others. On Monday, Jacob deGrom simply laughed when he became the first pitcher to be subjected to an inspection. Gerrit Cole actually offered himself up for inspection after his first two innings of work but didn’t get checked until after the third. For the most part, pitchers are cool with the random spot checks. Not Sergio Romo, though.
Romo pitched the seventh for the A’s against the Rangers in Texas Tuesday night. He gave up a 440-foot homer to Eli White with two outs in the inning, so he wasn’t exactly in the mood to get shaken down by third base ump Dan Iassogna after he got the final out of the inning.
As Iassogna approached Romo to check him out, the veteran righty threw his glove and hat on the ground. He ripped off his belt and threw that at Iassogna’s feet, too. The cherry on top was the way he unbuttoned and unzipped his pants before yanking them down to his knees.
Manager Bob Melvin said after the game that he thought Romo was just having fun.
“He’s a playful guy and I don’t think he meant anything by it,” Melvin told reporters. “I will credit the umpires with the way they’ve handled it. They’ve been fantastic and try to make light of it, smile with guys and do it quickly, so that won’t happen again. Just the playful side of him came out. I don’t think he meant anything by it. But the umpires are trying to do their job as well.”
I don’t know. That doesn’t look like a guy who’s joking around. He looks more like a guy who’s upset that he gave up a moonshot to a rookie with a .185 batting average.
One guy who absolutely was not in a joking mood about the foreign substance inspections was Max Scherzer.
Scherzer begrudgingly obliged with his league-mandated checks.
But when Phillies manager Joe Girardi asked the umpires to check him again in the middle of an inning, Scherzer was fed up. He tossed his hat and glove down on the ground and undid his belt (though he didn’t go as far as Romo) as he repeatedly told the umpiring crew, “I’ve got nothing!”
After finishing the inning, Scherzer stared daggers at Girardi, who got ejected after leaving the dugout to bark at Scherzer.
Girardi’s inspection request clearly bothered Scherzer, and it brings up an interesting strategic question. Might opposing managers try to rattle pitchers by asking the umps to check them for sticky stuff? It’s a perfectly legal way to get inside a pitcher’s head.
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