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#pounditFriday, July 1, 2022

Mike Shildt goes off on umpires for confiscating reliever’s hat

Mike Shildt

St. Louis Cardinals manager Mike Shildt fumed over how Major League Baseball is enforcing rules against foreign substances after reliever Giovanny Gallegos’ hat was confiscated during Wednesday’s game.

Umpires confiscated Gallegos’ hat amid concerns that it had a foreign substance on it. This prompted Shildt to go on a ten-minute monologue after the game, saying it felt like a “setup” and criticizing the league for focusing on minor things like sunscreen and rosin instead of actual substances that pitchers use to cheat.

“This is baseball’s dirty little secret, and it’s the wrong time and the wrong arena to expose it,” Shildt said. “Gio wears the same hat all year. Hats accrue dirt. Hats accrue substances, just stuff. We pitched in a day game. Did Gio have some sunscreen at some point in his career? Possibly. Does he use rosin to help? Possibly. Are these things that baseball really wants to crack down on? No, it’s not. I know that completely first-hand from the commissioner’s office.

“There are people that are effectively, and not even trying to hide it, essentially flipping the bird at the league with how they’re cheating in this game with concocted substances. There are players that have been monetized for it. There are players that are obviously doing it. There is clear video of it. … How about the integrity of the guys that are doing it clean? That’s how you want to start policing this?”

Shildt issued another statement clarifying that he did not blame the umpires for the situation, and that policing foreign substances shouldn’t even be their responsibility.

Shildt is right that plenty of pitchers use foreign substances, and sometimes it doesn’t take much digging to catch it. For years, the league has looked the other way, but so far, promises of stricter enforcement have not amounted to much more than this. Gallegos’ hat being confiscated didn’t even seem to be the product of an opponent complaint, either.

It’s hard to enforce the rules on these substances, which sometimes are inconsistent or hard to catch. Shildt’s frustration is entirely understandable. It’s even more reasonable since it seems Gallegos wasn’t really suspected of anything beyond having a dirty hat, while a lot of pitchers get away with much worse.

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