Saturday, September 10, 2022

Ask - Hair Check and the Pitcher Foreign Substance Rule

HP Umpire Ted Barrett took the unusual step of checking Guardians pitcher James Karinchak's hair for foreign substances, after Twins manager Rocco Baldelli filed a request to inspect the Cleveland reliever. Official Baseball Rule 6.02(c)(7) prohibits a pitcher from having "on their person, or in their possession, any foreign substance." The penalty for violation is immediate ejection and automatic suspension.

Pursuant to a directive from the MLB Commissioner's Office in June 2021, umpires already pursue enhanced illegal substance checks for every pitcher when they are removed from the game or at the conclusion of the inning after coming into the game (starting pitchers are checked multiple times at the end of their half-innings of work).

This makes Bald-elli's hirsute request somewhat rare for the post-2021 edict era, but nonetheless a legal one. There is no penalty for requesting an inspection and the umpire declaring the opposing pitcher to be legal.

Contrast this to the National Hockey League's stick measurement rule, which states that if the referee finds the complainant's allegation is with merit, the opposing player shall be assessed a penalty, but if the complaint is unsuccessful and the referee deems no violation has occurred, the complaining club receives a bench minor penalty for delay of game.

Video as follows:

Alternate Link: Teddy B inspects Cleveland pitcher Karinchak's mop for ticks (CCS)


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