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Mariners' Hector Santiago becomes first pitcher ejected for failing sticky substances check

·3 min read
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It was only a matter of time until a pitcher failed a spot check in MLB's new foreign substances crackdown, and that time has come. 

Seattle Mariners pitcher Hector Santiago was ejected on Sunday afternoon after umpires checked his glove in the fifth inning and presumably found something that shouldn't have been there. 

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While Santiago's frowny face reaction is pretty great, the best part of that video is the bagging of the suspicious glove. If they plan on sending that glove to a lab so it can be checked more thoroughly than with an umpire's eyes, they might want to provide the on-site authenticator with a bag specifically for that purpose. In the video, it looks like he's using a regular drawstring kitchen trash bag they had hanging around one of the dugouts. It looks like a "Naked Gun" parody of the TV show "CSI."

Santiago: It was only rosin

After the game, Santiago told reporters that he only used rosin. 

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"All I used was rosin," Santiago said. "I used it on both sides, trying to keep that sweat from dripping down to the hands. That's the only thing — I used rosin, that's about it."

Umpire crew: Was a 'very noticeable' sticky substance

Crew chief Tom Hallion said after the game that all four umpires agreed that Santiago had used a "very noticeable" sticky substance. 

"What we do is we go around the whole glove, feeling for anything that would be sticky or something," Tom Hallion said, per ESPN. "It was very noticeable, and then the rest of the crew inspected to make sure we were all in agreement. All four agreed that it was a sticky substance and that's why he was ejected."

MLB began heavily enforcing its preexisting ban on sticky substances on Monday. Umpires now inspect pitchers and their gloves at the end of every half-inning and whenever a pitcher leaves the game. (They are also allowed to check during an inning if a pitcher is doing something "suspicious.") The punishment for failing one of those checks is immediate ejection, followed by a 10-day suspension with pay. The team also can't replace that player on the roster while they're suspended.

MLB's approach to cracking down on sticky substances has been thoroughly lambasted, but it appears to be working.

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Every MLB pitcher seems to have gotten the memo except for Santiago. At this point, there's no defense for getting caught with a foreign substance on your glove. Since everyone knows exactly when they're going to be checked, the only way to get caught is either carelessness or arrogance. We don't know which one led to Santiago getting ejected, but it doesn't matter in the end. He — and the team — will be punished no matter what.

Mariners pitcher Hector Santiago was ejected from the game after umpires inspected his glove. (Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images)
Mariners pitcher Hector Santiago was ejected from the game after umpires inspected his glove. (Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images)

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