Day 2 of the MLB’s new foreign substance policy included a pair of sticky situations.
When approached by an umpire Tuesday night for the recently introduced “sticky stuff” screening, Oakland A’s reliever Sergio Romo sarcastically undid his belt and lowered his pants just below his buttock.
A couple hours earlier, Washington Nationals ace Max Scherzer undid his belt as well after Phillies manager Joe Girardi demanded the ace be inspected a third time after seeing Scherzer touch his hair on the mound.
“It was suspicious for me,” Girardi told reporters afterward.
Umpires on Monday began checking pitchers across the majors for performance-enhancing sticky substances, which MLB is desperately trying to eliminate from the game in order to generate more offense.
No pitchers have been caught with the banned substances during the check-ins, which last a few seconds and usually end without any drama.
On Tuesday, though, tensions quickly soared between a fiery Scherzer and Girardi after the skipper requested a third screening after noticing the three-time Cy Young winner touch his hair in the fourth inning.
Scherzer, who had been inspected twice by the umpires earlier in the game, said he touched his sweaty hair to get a better grasp on the baseball.
Things came to a head an inning later when Scherzer stared down and taunted Girardi after ending the frame on a strikeout. The former Yankees manager was ejected after trying to confront the 36-year-old righty, who struck out eight in five innings of the 3-2 win.
“I would have to be an absolute fool to actually use something tonight when everybody’s antenna is so far high they’d look for anything,” said Scherzer, who also threw his hat and glove to the ground while being inspected. “I have absolutely zero on me. I have nothing on me. Check whatever you want. I’ll take off all my clothes if you want to see me.”
As for the 38-year-old Romo, he appeared visibly upset when approached by an umpire after giving up a run in the eighth inning.
Within a few seconds, the three-time champion removed his glove, hat and belt buckle before returning to the Oakland dugout en route to a 13-6 win.