Brewers Reliever Ejected for Not Cheating Discreetly Enough (Video)
Milwaukee Brewers reliever Will Smith (The Fresh Prince of Wisconsin?) was ejected in the 7th inning of Thursday night’s game against the Braves when an umpire discovered a foreign substance on his forearm. Which, of course, is cheating. Or rather “cheating,” wink wink.
After the game, Smith said he was using a mixture of rosin and sunscreen to help him grip the ball while warming up in the bullpen. Then he just forgot to wipe it off before entering the game.
“It helps you be able to throw the ball. That’s it. It’s not going to spin more. You’re not going to throw harder. You’ve got what you got.”
Of course, that’s not entirely true. A substance may not give you more velocity, but if you can grip the ball better you can apply more torque. And if you can apply more torque, your breaking balls will have more bite.
The thing is, though, as Brewers manager Craig Counsel pointed out after the game, everybody does it. Like, literally every team in baseball. It may be illegal, but people are fine with pitchers using foreign substances to get better grips, especially on cool, blustery nights. Batters, in particular, would rather the pitcher do what it takes to get a good grip on the ball than get hit in the face.
“Pitchers are trying to get grips on the ball,” Counsel explained. “We’ve had hitters on other teams asking for pitchers to get a grip on the ball. We’ve had [our] hitters hit in the head asking for [opposing] pitchers to get grips on the ball. It’s very common. It goes on on the other side, I guarantee you.”
So why did Braves manager Freddie Gonzalez “break the code” and get Will Smith ejected? Because part of the code says you have to be discreet, and Gonzalez didn’t think Smith was being discreet enough.
He was right, too. It didn’t take high tech spy gear to notice the substance. It was shimmering under the lights at Turner Field. Take a look:
“I never went out there until he went to [the substance],” Gonzalez said. “It was about as plain as it could be. … When [an opponent] tries to be that blatant, sometimes you just have to do what you have to do.”
Come on, Milwaukee. Learn baseball’s unwritten rules already.
Hat Tip – [MLB.com]