Not even the best pitcher in MLB is immune from the league’s new rule mandating umpires check for illegal sticky substances on pitchers’ persons.
And, it appears, the umpires are very thorough in checking for said substances. Case in point: This video of Mets ace Jacob deGrom unbuckling his belt ahead of the Braves doubleheader — you know, on the off chance he might be hiding something … illegal.
— New York Mets (@Mets) June 21, 2021
As Keith Hernandez says: “Thank God they didn’t go that far.”
MORE: MLB’s foreign substance crackdown: What to expect with new rules for pitchers
Leave it to one of the best booths in baseball to find a little humor in a ridiculous situation (which, to be fair, is already pretty funny). But the issue of altering balls is no laughing matter to MLB, which will levy a 10-day suspension without pay to any pitcher caught attempting to doctor their pitches.
Those rules are 3.01 and 6.02(c) and 6.02(d), which ultimately amount to preventing pitchers or players from doctoring balls or their hands in any way to affect the way a pitch moves as it travels to the plate. For those wondering, that includes, per Rule 3.01, that “no player shall intentionally discolor or damage the ball by rubbing it with soil, rosin, paraffin, licorice, sand-paper, emery-paper or other foreign substance.”
And, per, Rule 6.01(c): A pitcher may not “apply a foreign substance of any kind to the ball;” “deface the ball in any manner;” “have on his person, or in his possession, any foreign substance;” or “attach anything to his hand, any finger or either wrist (e.g., Band-Aid, tape, Super Glue, bracelet, etc.).”
Considering how incredible deGrom has been on the mound all season — a 6-2 record, .054 ERA, four earned runs, 111 strikeouts and .507 WHIP entering Monday’s start — it makes sense the umps would check to see if he was maybe getting a little help. But, nope: The Mets ace is on an au naturale tear.