“In the name of God and His servant Preacher Roe, just what the hell did Joe Girardi think he was doing out there tonight?” That was Gunko Gluedius on the Zoom. He was watching the Phillies play the Nationals Tuesday.
He couldn’t believe Max Scherzer came straight from the injured list and onto the suspect list. Three times in the same game.
“The TSA isn’t this freakazoid when they run you through the airport security checks,” I said, as calmly as I could. I know Gunko. He’s a pitching freak. It’s almost the only part of baseball he really loves. The other part is watching people like Anthony Fauci throw ceremonial first pitches sideways while aiming forward.
“No, they’re not,” Gunko replied. “Not with me, anyway. I had to fly to Seattle last week. I didn’t have the pre-check pass but they still didn’t think I should be peeled like a banana.”
Sometimes Scherzer looks like a fellow who’s spent as much time under the old-fashioned automotive grease rack as he’s spent on the mound. Sometimes he looks like a fellow who spent too much time cleaning the oven so his wife could have a big break.
But that doesn’t necessarily mean he’s given to keeping anything like Goop, Pennzoil, Easy-Off, or pieces of Brillo hidden around his assorted anatomy.
He didn’t have to be thrilled about it, but he knew going in he’d be checked after his first inning’s work. But then Girardi decided to get cute. Especially with the Nats holding a 3-1 lead after three, the lone Phillies run to that point courtesy of former Nat Bryce Harper hitting a down and in cutter up and out into the right field seats in the second.
After a clearly unamused Scherzer stood for his second mandatory random search of the game in the third, Girardi asked the umpires to check Max the Knife again in the fourth.
“I bet that’s the only time in baseball history a manager decided to punish a pitcher for surrendering a bomb to his guy,” Gunko joked. I’m not necessarily sure he’ll win that bet.
As soon as he realised the fourth inning warrant was sworn out and being delivered, any amount of cute left Scherzer’s person at once. He thrust his hat and his glove to the ground. Then he opened his belt with such a savage yank there must have been those fearing for a split second that he was going to peel himself like a banana.
You thought the Citi Field people missed an opportunity by not playing “The Pink Panther Theme” when Jacob deGrom had the honour of first come, first frisked under the Show’s new this-time-we-mean-it-until foreign substance crackdown?
The Citizens Bank Park people should have had that classic from the Book of Ecdysiastes on cue and ready to blast, bump, grind, and growl. Right down to the last trombone.
“I bet you every woman in the house would have coughed up double the price of their tickets to see Scherzer drop trou–and anything else he could think of,” Gunko crowed.
Unless his wife would cough up triple the going price to have divorce papers drawn up on the spot. Grounds? Since Max the Knife isn’t exactly reputed to be one of baseball’s heretofore-unconfirmed cheaters, I’d hazard the guess it would be on the grounds of unaccounted for exhibitionism outside the marital home.
But perhaps Mrs. Scherzer instead would lead the cheers. “Get it, honey, Get it! Show ’em what I know you’re made of!”
Obviously, not even pitching and surviving Game Seven of a World Series with nothing left to throw but meatballs, grapefruits, and canteloupes up to the plate after a neck issue almost took him out showed enough of what Scherzer’s made of.
Remember, the Phillies’ pitchers had to be stopped and frisked, too. Except that Nationals manager Dave Martinez isn’t the kind of guy who’d have had three warrants per pitcher per game sworn out.
He’d better not be. When Scherzer got the third stop-and-frisk order of the night, Martinez looked more ready to file brutality charges than Scherzer did.
Maybe Martinez remembered the night Girardi was managing the Yankees and his starting pitcher Michael Pineda got caught and suspended for suspicious ring around the neck.
“Did you see Scherzer hollering, ‘I got nothing! I got nothing!’ when he got searched the third time?” Gunko hollered to me. Of course I did. It was easier to read Scherzer’s lips than the first George Bush’s.
If you think the pitchers were trying to get away with murder with their new fashioned medicated goo before—and just maybe they were doing it not to be cute but to deal with Commissioner Nero’s incessant ball tinkering the last few years—beware the managers trying to get away with murder for using their newly-conferred freedom to file ball police complaints not to uncover contraband but to live and rattle rent-free in a pitcher’s head.
They can be sent to bed without their supper for it, too. Not just after Girardi got sent there after Scherzer stared him down cold following the fourth-inning flap. It’s in the memo:
Please note that a manager will be subject to discipline if he makes the request in bad faith (e.g., a request intended to disrupt the pitcher in a critical game situation, a routine request that is not based on observable evidence, etc.)
“Oh, that’s cute,” said Gunko when I read that portion to him. “Bad faith, huh? That’s about as clear as a glass of water from the East River.”
“I haven’t had a glass of water from the East River since Bill Clinton was still in the White House, Gunko. But it’s right there. This isn’t supposed to become downright harassment.”
By that time, the Phillies’ Rhys Hoskins made the score 3-2 with a healthy belt on a highball out over the left center field fence off Nats reliever Tanner Rainey. Somehow, another Nats reliever, Brad Hand, survived the bases loaded and one out in the ninth to escape with his and the Nats’ lives.
By that time, too, up in New York, Yankee pitcher Jonathan Loaisiga got frisked on a warrant—after pitching two thirds of the eighth inning and getting battered like a pinata on five hits for four earned Royals runs. Why were those umps patting Loaisiga down—for not using the naughty sauce properly?
And where were the Oakland Coliseum PA people when Athletics relief pitcher Sergio Romo almost did what Scherzer couldn’t quite bring himself to almost do—drop trou after finishing the seventh, but only far enough to let his long jersey keep him covered? Not even two bars of “The Happy Organ.”
“Let’s talk about bad faith,” Gunko urged. “You ever heard of the cop who pulls a driver over for a taillight issue and uses it as an excuse to have the poor sap’s car searched and stripped without a warrant? Don’t tell me there’s a manager alive who wouldn’t dream up a taillight issue for an excuse to have a pitcher stripped, searched, and slammered.”
I wouldn’t dare tell Gunko that. It’s right there, in Ecdysiastes 1, 3, and 4.