Cardinals manager Mike Shildt was ejected during Wednesday's 4-0 win over the White Sox, and he had plenty to say about the issue after the game. The trouble started in the seventh inning, when umpire Joe West instructed Cardinals pitcher Giovanny Gallegos to switch his hat because of a foreign substance on it.
Shildt came to the mound to argue, and was subsequently tossed.
Following the game, Shildt took issue not with his ejection, but with baseball's inconsistent policing of what he views as the game's "dirty little secret."
"There are people that are effectively—and not even trying to hide it—essentially flipping the bird at the league, with how they're cheating in this game with concocted substances," Shildt said, per Katie Woo of The Athletic.
"You want to police some sunscreen and rosin? Go ahead," Shildt said. "Get every single person in this league. ... Why don't you start with the guys that are cheating with some stuff that's really impacting the game?"
West said Shildt was ejected for his use of profanity, which Shildt took no issue with. In a statement after his post-game comments, Shildt re-iterated that the burden of policing baseball's foreign substance usage should fall on the league, not the umpires.
“I have a great working relationship with the umpires and Major League Baseball. The have a lot of challenges to doing their job and they do it well," Shildt said, per Woo. "Having to police foreign substances, candidly, shouldn’t have to be a part of their job.”
Before the start of the season, MLB sent a memo to all 30 teams about new policies to crack down on pitchers using foreign substances. Among the measures being taken included inspecting balls taken out of play, analyzing spin rate data and closely monitoring dugouts and clubhouses.
Eno Sarris of The Athletic noted that while sunscreen and rosin does enhance grip without meaningfully impacting performance, and the effect is far less than other substances like pine tar and a sticky, grip-enhancing product called Spider Tack.
Ultimately, Shildt said his comments were primarily meant with rule-following pitchers in mind, a group of players he feels are most negatively impacted by the rampant violations he views going on throughout the league.
"How many guys that are pitching their tails off in MLB that are doing it clean, and have an unfair competitive advantage for the guys who are clearly loading up concoctions that they actually advertise, don't do anything to hide in plain view?" Shildt said, according to Woo. "That's who I'm sticking up for."
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