The New York Mets find themselves in a very sticky situation, both literally and figuratively. Max Scherzer was ejected from Wednesday’s game against the Dodgers for having rosin on his pitching hand and glove. He switched gloves before the bottom of the third at the request of the umpires, and was ejected before the bottom of the fourth.
On Sunday, April 15th at Yankee Stadium, Yankees pitcher Domingo German was told by the umpires that he needed to clean his hand, and he simply ignored them. He was allowed to continue pitching after a stern talking-to.
For those capable of common sense, the precedent was set. You can pitch with rosin on your hands, even if you ignore a request by the umpires. But four days later in LA, that precedent was shattered, even with Scherzer following the directions he was given.
There’s a bigger problem at play here that the Mets are suffering from: MLB umpires don’t understand the rules
Rosin is provided by MLB. It’s the only substance pitchers are allowed to put on their hands and the ball because MLB’s balls don’t have any grip, which is a whole other issue. The rosin bags are right there on the mound for all to see.
There was no reason to eject Scherzer. He was using the legal substance provided by MLB, as you’ll see him adamantly explaining to the umpires and Buck Showalter below. He even followed the directive of the umpires to switch his gloves.
Was the Yankees umpiring crew supposed to eject German from their game on Sunday, not because the substance was illegal, but because he outright ignored them? Probably. More on that from Jomboy’s breakdown below, including a shady tidbit about German using his own rosin in the dugout.
Frankly, I don’t know which umpiring crew is in the wrong. Did the Mets/Dodgers crew have too quick of a trigger? Did the Yankees/Twins crew have too long of a leash? Having such markedly different reactions to very similar situations is ridiculous, so these questions need to be asked and umpires need to be reminded of how to handle situations like these. Of course, we’ll never hear anything from MLB, because there’s a higher chance of hell freezing over than Rob Manfred holding umpires accountable.
Obviously this has more impacts than just the rules and the game. The Mets' starting pitching is already thin and the bullpen has been overworked early in the season. The 'pen obviously had to cover more innings today, which will likely mean a roster move is coming soon, in addition to a starter for the upcoming series in San Francisco.
I’m sure we’ll find out more information in Scherzer and Showalter’s post-game interviews. It’ll be fascinating to see what they say.