Atlanta Braves: Sticky stuff pitchers and pitching coaches
The Atlanta Braves pitchers have yet to run afoul of baseball’s crackdown on illegal substances, but they have other pitching issues to contend with.
Of all the teams in the league, the Atlanta Braves are the least likely to trip over the illegal substances rules for a couple of reasons; self-preservation and lack of candidates.
In March, MLB issued a memo to all teams advising of a coming crackdown on pitchers using foreign substances on the ball. ESPN reported that evidence gathering was substantial and proved many pitchers were using a substance to generate unnatural spin.
The first overt sign came during a bizarre scene where Joe West confiscated Giovanny Gallegos’ hat, then allowed him to go on pitching. According to Rules 3.01 and 6.02(c) and (d), West should have ejected Gallegos. Instead, He allowed him to keep pitching after getting a new hat.
I suspect West did it specifically to get MLB off top-dead-center, so he could get on with umpiring instead of collecting evidence. Intentional or not, West generated a lot of publicity, and the league did start to move.
Enforcement began on 21 June; so far, all we’ve seen in the way of enforcement is Joe Girardi being ejected, and we don’t know whether his ejection was for inciting a riot with the Nationals or abusing his right to ask for a check.
Other than that sideshow, we had Sergio Romo dropping trousers during his inspection and umpires being chastised for enforcing rule 3.07 (a) “The pitcher’s glove may not, exclusive of piping, be white, gray, or in the judgment of the umpire, distracting in any manner. . . To those who said it didn’t meet that criteria, no one cares. I digress; back to the Braves.
If a player is caught violating the rules, he’s not only an idiot but also opening his team up to the consequences of his actions because MLB’s made it clear both the player and the team may face disciplinary action.