Drew Smith Is Why MLB Substance Checks Must Be Done By MLB Official In Dugout
For the second time this season, a New York Mets pitcher was thrown out of a game for having an illegal substance on their hands. Both times, there was an MLB official involved.
With Max Scherzer, he was told to clean his hands because of the rosin residue. He would wash his hands in the presence of an MLB official. When Scherzer returned to the game, he would be thrown out for having an illegal stick substance on his hand.
What was interesting with Scherzer was David Cone did an experiment on Sunday Night Baseball which effectively exonerated Scherzer. In essence, he showed how what Scherzer claimed was absolutely true, and yet, Scherzer was still suspended.
In the opener of the Subway Series, the umpires did a check of Drew Smith before the top of the seventh. Umpire Bill Miller determined Smith’s hands were too sticky and ejected him from the game. After the game, Miller would say he didn’t know what the substance was, just that Smith’s hands were too sticky.
Ron Darling was frustrated asking for a standard to be put in place. This might be more fantasy than reality. It’s really difficult to adopt a uniform standard, and that is part of the shortsightedness of MLB implementing this rule.
However, that’s not the most troubling part of all of this. The most troubling part is an MLB official did not find Smith’s hands sticky in a post-ejection inspection.
Drew Smith says he had an MLB official check his hands in the tunnel after his ejection.
He says the official laughed and said there was "nothing there." pic.twitter.com/Vc1AfdCxA3
— SNY (@SNYtv) June 14, 2023
Now, there is the caveat here that either Smith or the MLB official was not exactly being truthful. That said, it is alarming Smith was told there was nothing there after he was ejected. If the timeline of events are correct, Smith would not have even had an opportunity to clean his hands before this post-ejection suspension.
With Scherzer, an MLB official supervised and approved the hand washing. With Smith, an MLB official said there was nothing on Smith’s hands.
Of course, the obvious point here is that there is an MLB official right there. Why is that official not performing these substance checks?
The MLB official has the opportunity to see if there is anything illicit happening. The MLB official can easily check hands before or after an inning without any of the theater we see now. For a league hyper focused on pace of play, it would also make the game move just that much quicker.
We can also get more checks with that official able to do it each and every inning. Yes, that would also mean a need for an official in the bullpen. With Major League Baseball having record revenues that should not be an issue at all.
The end result would be the promise of a more unified standard for ballparks because you get the same person checking every time, and that person can be trained specifically for this one area. You also get more testing resulting in the appearance of a fairer game with less foreign substances. Moreover, you get the game moving slightly quicker by ending the umpires periodic checks.
Really, there is no reason why this isn’t happening. At a minimum, you take away the ability for players to claim the MLB official cleared them creating less drama and frustration with the sport. Overall, you’re just making the game better.