The 2023 MLB season is in full swing, and there's already been plenty of ejections — from Minnesota Twins manager Rocco Baldelli to New York Mets pitcher Max Scherzer, it seems the umpires are more than willing to toss anyone and everyone this year.
We know Rocco was ejected after drama involving New York Yankees pitcher Domingo Germán and an illegal sticky substance, but what about Max Scherzer? What did he do? Keep reading for all the known details.
What did Max Scherzer do?
After the second inning of the Mets-Dodgers game on April 19, veteran umpire Phil Cuzzi inspected Max's glove and hand after he said his hand was "clumpy" from the rosin and sweat. Phil told the right-hander to wash it off, which he allegedly did with alcohol in front of an MLB official.
At the bottom of the third inning, Phil examined Max's glove and hand again; he told the Los Angeles Times that the pitcher's hand appeared clean, but the pocket of his glove was sticky, so he told Max to use a new glove. He complied, but Phil and plate umpire Dan Bellino inspected Max's hand again in the fourth inning. After a heated discussion, Max was ejected from the game.
Max constantly shouted, "It's rosin!" at the umpires, but they didn't believe him. Dan Bellino told the LA Times, "As far as stickiness, level of stickiness, [Max's hand] was the stickiest [a hand] has been since I've been inspecting hands ... it was far more than we had ever seen before on a pitcher in live action."
"The fact that this went so much further was indicative that there was something likely more than just rosin, something that was so sticky that whatever it was, it was all over the palm, it was up on the inside of the fingers," he added. "The entire hand was stickier than anything we'd inspected before. And, most importantly, it was worse than it was in that second inning, when he was told that he had to wash his hand."
Mets pitcher Max Scherzer denied cheating vs. Dodgers.
Following the Mets' 5-3 victory over the Dodgers, Max spoke with reporters and adamantly denied any cheating.
"I knew I was going to get checked in the fourth, so I'd have to be an absolute idiot to try to do anything when I'm coming back out for the fourth [inning]," he told reporters. "He said my hand is too sticky, and I said, 'I swear on my kids' life that I'm not using anything else. This is sweat and rosin, sweat and rosin.'"
He continued, "I don't get how I get ejected when I'm in front of MLB officials doing exactly what you want. And being deemed my hands too sticky when I'm using legal substances, I do not understand that."
Max Scherzer has been suspended for 10 games.
USA Today columnist Bob Nightengale pointed out that if the umpires inform the MLB office that the eight-time All-Star was ejected for using an illegal foreign substance, it's an automatic 10-game suspension. And that's exactly what happened.
On Thursday, April 20, it was announced that Max has been suspended for 10 games. He's also been slapped with a hefty $10,000 fine. While Max initially said he would appeal the ruling, he now says he will not.
"I looked at what the appeal process was going to look like," Max told reporters. "I thought I was going get in front of a neutral arbitrator, but I wasn't. It was going to be through MLB. Given that process, I wasn't going to come out on top. The best thing for the Mets — and I'm going to follow what the Mets wanted me to do — and that was to accept the suspension."