Tuesday, June 1, 2021

WBSC Baseball Americas Foreign Substance Ejection is Glimpse at MLB's Latest Point of Emphasis

In the top of the 9th inning of Tuesday's WBSC Baseball Americas Olympic Qualifier game between Colombia and Venezuela, umpires ejected VEN pitcher Adrian Almeida for possessing a foreign substance on his person: a glove with pine tar.

Official Baseball Rule 6.02(c) relates to pitching prohibitions and states that the pitcher shall not, amongst others, "apply a foreign substance of any kind to the ball" nor "have on their person, or in their possession, any foreign substance."

The ejection occurred following Almeida's 9th inning swinging strikeout of Colombia batter Jeter Deion Mitchell Downs when Colombia's manager approached the umpires and requested an inspection of pitcher Almeida.

After a crew conference between HP Umpire Fabrizio Fabrizi, 1B Umpire Jeff Macias, 2B Umpire Ruben Ramos, and 3B Umpire Christian Madero, umpires inspected Almeida's glove, and, upon finding the foreign substance known as pine tar on the glove, ejected the pitcher from the game in accordance with the rule's penalty; however, Downs' strikeout stood as called and the game resumed with substitute pitcher Gabrial Moya, who surrendered a game-tying home run to batter Jordan David Diaz Sandoval (Venezuela ultimately won the game in walk-off fashion).

As for the strikeout, OBR 6.02(d) prescribes the penalty as follows: 1) The pitcher shall be ejected immediately and suspended (depending on the league). 2) If a play follows the violation called in real-time by the umpire, the manager can either opt to redo the sequence with a ball added to the count (or a balk if there are runners) or take the result of the play (not applicable here as no play followed the umpire's call of the violation).

Meanwhile, three Minor League Baseball pitchers were ejected just this past weekend over foreign substance issues related to OBR 6.02(c) as MLB and MiLB continues a crackdown on illegal substances.

As for the MLB level, Joe West ejected Mike Shildt on May 26 after crewmate Dan Bellino spotted a potential foreign substance on Cardinals pitcher Giovanny Gallegos' hat and ordered Gallegos to replace his hat (in lieu of an ejection). So it would appear that enhanced enforcement of the rule may be on the horizon and could be the league's latest ploy to increase activity in the Umpire Ejection Fantasy League.


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