Well, well, well. What have we here? No, really, what do we have here? A St. Louis Cardinals pitching prospect has suggested the pitcher who dominated the big-league club in Game 1 of the World Series on Wednesday night was throwing a baseball doctored with Vaseline. If true, such behavior is expressly against the rules, no matter if it makes you think of old man Harris from "Major League."
As you can see at the top of this post, there's Tyler Melling's evidence, in tweet form, against left-hander Jon Lester of the Boston Red Sox. It's a somewhat unclear photo — probably a TV screencap taken with a telephone — of Lester and his glove with what appears to be a yellow/green foreign substance gumming up the webbing. Melling, a 25-year-old left-hander who pitched for the Cardinals' Class A team in 2013, appears to think it's a "gotcha!" moment.UPDATE: Major League Baseball has released a statement. Summary: Nothing to see here.
There's a Vine video, too, taken by a person who appears to be a Cardinals fan, of Lester going to his glove to add whatever foreign substance it might be. It could be avocado (or, at this point in the game, guacamole), which still is against the rules, though guac doesn't have the same reputation for making the ball drop like petroleum jelly does.
Click on the picture to see the video clip:
MLB says: "We cannot draw any conclusions from this video. There were no complaints from the Cardinals and the umpires never detected anything indicating a foreign substance throughout the game."
Also, it has been asserted that the substance might be sunscreen.
Though Melling appears to be freelancing so far (it's too soon to have an official statement by the Cardinals), this is reminiscent of the 2006 World Series, when the Cardinals came out and accused Kenny Rogers of the Detroit Tigers of using pine tar and scuffing the baseball. We all know what happened next: Rogers pushed the TV cameraman out of the way, Tigers pitchers never cleanly fielded a ball again in that Series, and the Cardinals won the championship. Or something like that.
And then there was 2009, when Angels bloggers accused Mariano Rivera of doctoring the ball during the playoffs, which prompted Major League Baseball to investigate. Rivera was cleared. Does anyone know whatever happened to him?
It's worth noting that this isn't the first time this season the Red Sox have been accused of doctoring the ball. Starter Clay Buchholz made headlines in May when analyst Dirk Hayhurst said he spotted Buchholz loading up on something from his glove. That substance also, the Red Sox asserted, was sunscreen.
But it's also worth asking a few question, as well:
• Did the Red Sox thump the Cards 8-1 in Game 1 because of whatever Lester might have had in his glove (other than the ball itself)? No, unless Vaseline also is why all of those terrible things happened to Pete Kozma.
• Are these accusations coming from an admittedly biased group? Yes. Does that make the accusations false? Not necessarily.
• Do pitchers use Vaseline to cheat? Yes, they even put snot on the ball. Did Lester do that? We don't know, and he's not caught until Major League Baseball says he is.
• Is guacamole delicious? If prepared freshly, absolutely.
Big BLS H/N: JoeSportsFan's Matt Sebek on Twitter
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