One could say that Major League Baseball’s newly adopted foreign-substance checks are off to a rocky start, especially when baseball’s news cycle involves pants unbuckling during said checks.
Well, it was actually just one pair of baseball pants. But they belonged to Oakland Athletics relief pitcher Sergio Romo.
When the umpire asked to check Romo’s glove and hat for any sticky stuff on Tuesday night against the Rangers, Romo animatedly threw his hat off and to the ground before unbuckling his belt and pulling his pants about halfway down (which is plenty to make waves).
On Wednesday, Romo told reporters he was wrapped up in emotion and meant no disrespect to the umpire.
“I didn’t know I was going to react that way,” Romo said before Wednesday’s game against the Rangers. “Definitely didn’t have it planned or none of that. Getting caught up in the moment also, I’d just got done pitching an inning and I made a pitch I wasn’t too happy about. That’s still on my mind.”
“I’ll say this, I know it’s not the umpire’s fault,” Romo said Wednesday. “I hope Dan doesn’t find what I did disrespectful or that I did it intentionally to disrespect, because I didn’t. It just kind of happened.”–A’s relief pitcher Sergio RomoSan Francisco Chronicle
As a refresher, here’s the incident.
Yeah, this is Major League Baseball in 2021. Good job, MLB executives.
Romo’s entire pitching career has leaned on his deadly slider, which has a pronounced break, so it’s no surprise he’s put off by the notion of being checked for any substance that could help him throw his breaking ball.
The A’s reliever had a lot more to say to reporters, including that despite the emotion, he wants an even playing field. But with every pitcher emotional at times when they come off the mound, this probably won’t be the last animated reaction during a foreign substance check. MLB, is this what you wanted? For all we know, maybe it is.
(Photo courtesy Dirk DBQ)