In today’s Mets game, as the team battled the Los Angeles Dodgers, former Cy Young winner Max Scherzer became the third Phil Cuzzi ejection, when the veteran MLB umpire tossed the Mets pitcher following a foreign substance policy check.
This became the third Phil Cuzzi for foreign substance issues. As a result, plenty of questions surround Major League Baseball about Phil Cuzzi’s ability to properly enforce the protocols of the foreign substance policy.
Today’s Phil Cuzzi Ejection
The theatrics between Scherzer and Phil Cuzzi started when Cuzzi sent Scherzer back to the dugout to change his glove prior to the start of the third inning, during their game against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Unsurprisingly, the fiery pitcher known as Mad Max was pretty outraged with the events.
Scherzer complied with Cuzzi’s request but was certainly not happy. After his new glove passed inspection, Scherzer completed the third inning without any issues. However, as he went out to start the 4th, fans were able to witness the third Phil Cuzzi ejection for foreign substances.
To start the inning, Cuzzi again called Scherzer over to check for any irregularities with his equipment. After inspecting Scherzer’s glove, Cuzzi tossed the Mets starting pitcher, as Scherzer, and manager Buck Showalter, pleaded his case.
It appears in the video that Scherzer can be seen mouthing that the substance found was simply rosin.
Other Phil Cuzzi Ejections
With today’s events, Scherzer becomes the third MLB pitcher ejected by Phil Cuzzi for foreign substances. On June 27th, 2021, Hector Santiago became the first player ejected for foreign substances. While Santiago argued it was simply sweat and rosin, MLB disagreed and suspended Santiago for 10 games.
A few months later in August, Caleb Smith became the second Phil Cuzzi ejection. Similarly to Santiago, Smith appealed the suspension arguing it was rosin. Again, MLB disagreed and suspended Smith for 10 games as well.
It remains to be seen if Scherzer appeals his case and if/when he does, if MLB will also suspended the Mets pitcher for 10 games as well.
If the Mets do lose Scherzer, it will be a slight blow as the team looks to chase down the Atlanta Braves over the early part of the season. While plenty of season still remains, losing Scherzer for any amount of time is less than ideal.
Plenty of Questions Following the Phil Cuzzi Ejection
With Phil Cuzzi continuing to be the only umpire to eject multiple player for a foreign substance issue found on a glove, plenty of questions will need to be answered.
First, are other umpires not properly searching gloves or enforcing the policy? Could it be that Phil Cuzzi might be a bit too strict when compared to his other umpires with his glove checks? Do players just have so little regard of Cuzzi’s abilities that they are only trying to cheat on his watch? If the issue is legitimate, has Max Scherzer used sticky substances in the past and how will it impact his legacy?
With the 2023 MLB season well underway, Cuzzi is the most recent umpire controversy around the sport. Earlier, James Hoye and his crew didn’t eject Domingo German in a similar situation earlier this year. During that game, German was allowed to return to the dugout to wash his hands before returning to the field.
Meanwhile, Larry Vanover caught the scorn of Yankees’ fans for a game against the Guardians and Mets’ fans for a game against the Miami Marlins.
The fact that we now have three Phil Cuzzi ejections is certainly something to keep an eye. Let us know your thoughts on the Phil Cuzzi ejections in the comments!
Main image credit Embed from Getty Images