Mets closer Edwin Diaz came unglued when this umpire ejected him for allegedly breaking this key ruleíaz_pitching,_Aug_13_2022.jpg, D. Benjamin Miller, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

For the last 150 years or so, pitchers and hitters have engaged in a cat-mouse game. 

Pitchers must constantly adapt as hitters become stronger and faster and vice versa.  

And Mets closer Edwin Diaz came unglued when this umpire ejected him for allegedly breaking this key rule.

This Mets hotshot just learned a painful lesson about following the rules 

At the Major League level, one of the key differences between good and great pitchers is spin rate – the measurement of how fast a ball rotates on its axis after it’s released from a pitchers’ hand.

With technological advancements in recent years, MLB pitchers and teams have become more obsessed than ever with spin rate as it ultimately has a significant impact not only on the trajectory the ball is traveling – thus impacting accuracy – but also the amount of movement it generates before crossing the plate.

For example, a fastball with a higher spin rate will often appear as though it’s rising from the batter’s point of view as opposed to traveling on the more downward plane of a lower spin rate fastball, while higher spin rates on breaking balls, like sliders and curveballs, can induce increases in both vertical and horizontal movement, making the pitches far more devastating for hitters.

With MLB pitchers’ margin for error smaller than ever with hitters only improving over time, many have been looking for an edge that will allow them to generate just a bit more spin rate on their arsenal.

For many years, such an edge came in the form of foreign substances, such as spider tack, pine tar, and even concoctions like sunscreen, rosin, and sweat.

But MLB has sought to eliminate the use of such substances entirely through recent rule changes – albeit, in the eyes of many doctors and players, at the expense of a significant increase in pitchers suffering significant elbow and shoulder injuries.

Nevertheless, on Sunday night, New York Mets closer Edwin Diaz became the latest pitcher to be accused of running afoul of the ban on foreign substances when he took the mound against the Chicago Cubs.

Umpires investigated what looked to be a foreign substance on Diaz’ throwing hand, and ultimately determined through physical examination that it warranted an ejection.

Diaz and Mets manager Carlos Mendoza, though, contend that the pitcher simply had a combination of rosin, dirt, and sweat on his hand, which would be within the rules.

But under MLB’s new rules, even though the use of rosin and dirt is totally legal, if umpires and the league determine that the combination is used “inappropriately” it could “constitute a prohibited foreign substance under the Playing Rules.”

As such, Diaz is now staring down the barrel at a potential 10-game suspension, which would throw a wrench in the Mets’ hopes of keeping up their recent level of play as they moved to 13-4 over their past 17 games by defeating the Cubs, 5-2.

Following the game, third-base umpire and crew chief Vic Carapazza refuted Diaz and Mendoza’s claim that the substance was legal, stating in a pool report that it “definitely wasn’t rosin and sweat” on the pitcher’s hand.

“We’ve checked thousands of these,” the umpire claimed. “I know what that feeling is. This was very sticky.”

“The rules are the rules and they made the decision to throw him out,” he added.

Of course, as many MLB pitchers have pointed out repeatedly, the combination of rosin and sweat can produce a far stickier substance than most realize.

As such, Diaz flatly refuted the umpire’s decision, telling reporters after the game that he uses “the same thing always.”

“I rub rosin and sweat and put my hand in the dirt a little bit to get a grip on the ball,” Diaz contended.

Regardless of whether Diaz crossed the line, MLB needs a less subjective system for policing foreign substances than simply having an umpire decide whether or not it’s “too sticky.”

US Political Daily will keep you updated on any developments to this ongoing story.