Major League Baseball (MLB) has handed down a 10-game suspension to Mets pitcher Drew Smith, setting the sports world abuzz on Wednesday. The sudden and unexpected suspension came after accusations emerged claiming that Smith's hands were "too sticky," a violation of the baseball conduct code.
A Surprising Suspension
"They said both of my hands were too sticky," a confounded Smith shared in a post-game interview, following the Mets' razor-thin 7-6 loss. He continued, "Really surprised, because I haven't done anything different all year.
Sweat and rosin. I don't know what else to say. Nothing changed. It's just, I think the process is so arbitrary. It can change from one crew to the other, and I think that's the main issue." Smith's comment reflects a perceived lack of consistency in the execution of the rules within MLB.
His surprise and frustration underscore the tension between players and the league regarding rules interpretation.
Smith's suspension stems from umpire Miller's claim that Smith's hands were excessively sticky to the touch.
"Drew Smith was ejected because he had sticky hands," Miller reported. "I don't know what's on his hand; all I know it was sticky—sticky to the touch. It stuck to my hands when I touched it. Not only his pitching hand, but his glove hand, as well." Miller emphasized, "I think if something's sticky, it's illegal.
They cannot manipulate the rosin. They can't use a foreign substance. I don't know what was on his hand. But his hand was sticky to the touch, where my hand stuck to his hand."
A Recurring Pattern?
This is not the first incident of this nature for the Mets.
Pitcher Max Scherzer, who started Tuesday night, also received a 10-game suspension after being ejected on April 19 at Dodger Stadium. These back-to-back suspensions raise questions about the team's conduct and, inevitably, draw criticism.
Manager Showalter acknowledged the need for introspection in light of these events. "I look in the mirror and go, 'OK, are we doing something wrong that we need to fix?'" Showalter said on Wednesday. "That's my first thing you got to look at.
It's like instead of it always being somebody else's fault, somebody singling you out or picking you out. Are you doing something wrong?"
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