Put on your tin hats, folks, we’ve got ourselves a conspiracy. You be the judge.
There’s a video, from ESPN's broadcast of the game, that is starting to gain a lot of attention on social media that shows Mets pitcher Noah Syndergaard doing something, perhaps, suspicious with his index and middle fingers during the fifth inning of last night’s 7-6 Mets win.
The video shows Syndergaard digging his fingers into the base of his glove, seemingly with some sort of purpose. What could he have been doing?
While we expected a pitchers' duel on Monday night between Aaron Nola and Syndergaard, we got something much different. In a game that featured an over/under of just 7.5, the teams combined for 13 runs, with 10 against the ace starters over just the first five innings. Were the playing conditions a factor?
The game time temperature at Citizens Bank Park was just 50 degrees with 24 mph wind whipping across the field. Needless to say, that’s not ideal conditions for anything outside except flying a kite. Either Syndergaard was doing absolutely nothing wrong, or, he could have been seeking to gain an advantage by placing a substance at the base of his glove to improve his grip, perhaps a sticky substance like pine tar.
As ESPN’s Buster Olney wrote last year, pitchers seemingly are using pine tar to gain a better grip on the baseball, perhaps on a cold night or to increase their spin and movement, but it’s a rule that hasn’t been strictly enforced. The last notable case of a player getting caught using pine tar was back in 2014 when Michael Pineda had some not-so-subtlety slathered on his neck. He received an immediate ejection and a 10-game suspension.
At the very least, Major League Baseball should examine the glove-in-question immediately, and if Syndergaard is found to have been cheating, he should be punished.
However, given that I have absolutely no idea what Syndergaard was doing, he deserves some benefit of doubt for the time being. Should his glove, and perhaps video, be examined and nothing found to be wrong, then at least we will know for sure and he should be given full clemency.
It will be interesting to see if Major League Baseball, will do anything, or if Gabe Kapler will say anything, if asked.
That would be one heck of a move from Syndergaard, though, to cheat against the Phillies with MLB commissioner Rob Manfred in the building last night.
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