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Saturday, April 21, 2018

Joe Blanton may have had funny substance on hat, still got rocked

Joe Blanton hat Angels

The only thing worse than being the worst pitcher in baseball is using an illegal substance and still being the worst pitcher in baseball.

Now I’m not accusing Los Angeles Angels pitcher Joe Blanton of cheating, but the guy had a visible dark spot on the brim of his hat during his appearance against the New York Yankees on Tuesday night. Blanton has been seen with the spot on his hat in many previous starts, and for all I know this is the same hat he’s been using for a while. But when the camera showed him with his head turned downward Tuesday, the spot was extremely pronounced. It looked like pine tar, which many pitchers illegally use to get a good grip on the ball.

This isn’t the first time the subject of Blanton’s hat has come up. When he was pitching for the Philadelphia Phillies in the 2008 World Series, Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon asked for Blanton’s hat to be checked because he suspected Blanton had pine tar on the brim.

“We did notice,” Maddon said after Game 4. “It was rather dark. I did bring it to [the umpires’] attention. Quite frankly, I did. I asked them to watch it and be vigilant about it. Nothing happened, obviously, but I was concerned about that early on.”

Blanton frequently grabs his hat after pitches, which could be attributed to a nervous tick or habit rather than cheating. Someone else noticed the spot on Blanton’s hat last year when he was pitching for the Phillies:

Whatever Blanton is doing certainly is not working. He is 2-13 and has a major-league worst 5.86 ERA this season. Blanton gave up six runs on eight hits in two innings of relief against the Yanks on Tuesday, including a 3-run home run to Alfonso Soriano. It probably won’t be long before he’s down in Triple-A Salt Lake City with Tommy Hanson.

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