LOS ANGELES – Former Detroit Tigers star Max Scherzer was beyond outraged Wednesday when he was ejected from a game during a sticky substance check.
Tigers fans know all about Scherzer’s intensity. He’s one of the best pitchers of our generation, but when it’s time for him to take the mound, he doesn’t want to be bothered -- not by fans, not by teammates, and especially not by umpires.
While Scherzer was walking off the field after the top of the second inning during Wednesday’s game against the Los Angeles Dodgers, he was told by umpire Phil Cuzzi that he needed to wash his hand because it was too sticky.
Scherzer, who is in his second season with the New York Mets, said he went into the clubhouse and used alcohol to wash off a combination of sweat and rosin that had accumulated on his hand and glove.
Rosin is a legal sticky substance that pitchers can use to get a better grip on the baseball. The white rosin bag is typically thrown at the back of the pitcher’s mound.
After Scherzer pitched the third inning, he was checked again, and this time, Cuzzi and crew chief Dan Bellino ejected him from the game. Bellino later told reporters that the substance on Scherzer’s hand was so sticky that it remained on his own fingers for multiple innings after the exchange.
Here’s some footage of what transpired, from SNY TV
Max Scherzer was ejected between innings after a heated conversation with the umpiring crew pic.twitter.com/mqMkOnzchb— SNY (@SNYtv) April 19, 2023
Scherzer remained on the field to defend himself for several minutes, adamantly telling the umpires that he had only used rosin, which is allowed (but it can’t be on a pitcher’s glove).
During his postgame interview, Scherzer said he “would have to be an idiot” to use something illegal the inning immediately after being told to wash off a substance. It would be especially foolish to do so when being checked by Cuzzi, the only MLB umpire who has actually ejected players during sticky substance checks -- Seattle’s Hector Santiago and Arizona’s Caleb Smith, both in 2021.
When pitchers are ejected for sticky substances, they automatically face a 10-game suspension. It sounds like Scherzer will put forth a spirited appeal.
Here are the postgame comments from Scherzer, via SNY TV: