An illegal substance was found on or near the hand of New York Yankees pitcher Clarke Schmidt during Friday’s game against the Cincinnati Reds. The fallout of that led to an ejection, which eventually led to an argument.
But the person getting ejected wasn’t Schmidt or even anyone with the Yankees. It was Cincinnati’s manager, David Bell.
Schmidt was told that if he went into the clubhouse and washed the substance off, he’d be permitted to stay in the game. That’s what he did.
Clarke Schmidt is told by the umpires after a foreign substance check to go wash his hands. pic.twitter.com/B6omtKvYC7
— Codify (@CodifyBaseball) May 19, 2023
And when Schmidt came back out to warm up before an inning, Bell came out of the dugout to talk about the matter with home plate umpire Brian O’Nora, presumably asking, if there was something illegal on Schmidt’s hands, why is he not being ejected?
Though Bell was clearly annoyed, the conversation started calmly, at least from outward appearances. O’Nora gestured to his wrist, seemingly signaling that was where the substance was found. Bell grew increasingly frustrated, at one point slapping his own left wrist. At that point, O’Nora ejected the manager.
After disputing the umpires' decision to allow Clarke Schmidt to remain in the game, David Bell gets tossed. pic.twitter.com/VwdY1ZHJQT
— Bally Sports Cincinnati (@BallySportsCIN) May 19, 2023
Baseball fans were just as confused as Bell seemed to be, complaining about the apparent inconsistency of how these matters have been handled.
David Bell just got ejected for…
Questioning why a pitcher wasn’t ejected for using a foreign substance?
Get a hold of your umpires @MLBUA
— Reds in Four (@RedsInFour) May 19, 2023
Scherzer and German, ejected.
Schmidt and German, please use the restroom.
MLB fans (and apparently, some managers) continue to be confused what's OK, and what's not.
Will someone from MLB offices please join me on, "The Rose Rotation", so I can ask a few simple questions? https://t.co/IVrtUVvaa3
— Chris Rose (@ChrisRose) May 19, 2023
— Blog Red Machine (@blogredmachine) May 19, 2023
c'mon it's either okay or it's not okay there is no washhttps://t.co/6Gc1wUHVTY
— Codify (@CodifyBaseball) May 20, 2023
Being upset that a rule breaker faced no consequence is ALWAYS worse than breaking the rule…
— NurseBananahammock (@ModerateFERN) May 20, 2023
It’s easy to understand Bell’s frustration.
While confusion around something like the pitch clock is frustrating, it’s also understandable. This is the first MLB season with a pitch clock and there is a natural adjustment period to new rules.
But the “sticky stuff” ban is just under two years old, as it was enacted during the 2021 season. This is something that everyone should have a grasp on, not only knowing the rules but understanding how they’re applied.
Even if Bell’s argument was ultimately incorrect, more work clearly needs to be done to help managers, coaches and players (not to mention fans) understand how rules are enforced.