Mets’ Max Scherzer ejected for sticky stuff after umpire check


LOS ANGELES — Max Scherzer swore on his children’s lives he put nothing but sweat and rosin on his hands at Dodger Stadium. The umpires still ejected him, telling the Mets ace his hand was too sticky to possibly be legal.

The three-time Cy Young Award winner loudly proclaimed his innocence afterward. Scherzer also praised his bullpen for saving the Mets’ day after his early exit.

Scherzer was ejected in the fourth inning after the umpires’ check of his hands, but five relievers came through and Brandon Nimmo went 5 for 5 in New York’s 5-3 victory over the slumping Los Angeles Dodgers.

Scherzer was visibly furious when umpire Phil Cuzzi tossed him following an inspection and a lengthy conversation that included plate umpire Dan Bellino, the crew chief.

“Yes, when you use sweat and rosin, your hand is sticky,” Scherzer said. “I don’t get how I get ejected when I’m in front of MLB officials doing exactly what you want and being deemed my hand is too sticky when I’m using legal substances.”

The trouble started after the second inning, when Cuzzi determined Scherzer’s hand was stickier and darker than normal. Cuzzi ordered Scherzer to wash his hand, which Scherzer said he did with alcohol while a Major League Baseball official watched.

After the third inning, Cuzzi then determined the pocket of Scherzer’s glove was “sticky,” likely with too much rosin, and he ordered Scherzer to change gloves. The umpires then checked the 38-year-old right-hander again before the fourth, and his hands were even worse than before.

“As far as stickiness, level of stickiness, this was the stickiest that it has been since I’ve been inspecting hands, which now goes back three seasons,” Bellino said. “Compared to the first inning, the level of stickiness, it was so sticky that when we touched his hand, our fingers were sticking to his hand. And whatever was on there remained on our fingers afterwards for a couple innings, where you could still feel that the fingers were sticking together.”

Scherzer had pitched three scoreless innings of one-hit ball before his early exit. It was his shortest start since June 11, 2021, when he threw 12 pitches for Washington before leaving with a groin injury.

“I knew I was going to get checked (before the fourth), so I’d have to be an absolute idiot to use anything else,” Scherzer said. “I literally go out there with sweat and rosin, (and) I get ejected.”

Bellino and Cuzzi weren’t buying it, saying something was out of the ordinary with Scherzer.

“Every pitcher we check, we’re accustomed to what that rosin residue will be on a pitcher’s hand,” Bellino said. “The fact that this went so much further was indicative that there was something likely more than just rosin. Something that was so sticky that, whatever it was, it was all over the palm. It was up on the inside of the fingers.”

Mets manager Buck Showalter noted that Cuzzi is “certainly a guy that’s known for” throwing out pitchers. Cuzzi was on the crews that ejected Seattle’s Héctor Santiago and Arizona’s Caleb Smith in 2021, the only pitchers suspended for sticky substances since MLB’s crackdown began. Both pitchers adamantly denied wrongdoing.

Scherzer and the umpires all refused to speculate on whether Scherzer would receive the automatic 10-game suspension handed out to violators of the rule.

“Now it’s becoming a legal matter, and I don’t want to comment,” Scherzer said.

Jimmy Yacabonis (2-0) had to warm up on the mound after getting the abrupt call from the bullpen, but he pitched 2 2/3 innings of two-hit ball after following Scherzer’s ejection. Adam Ottavino gave up David Peralta’s ninth-inning homer, but finished for his third save.

New bill to build Athletics stadium on Las Vegas Strip caps Nevada’s cost at $380 million

D. Ross Cameron-USA TODAY Sports

CARSON CITY, Nev. — A bill introduced in the Nevada Legislature would give the Oakland Athletics up to $380 million for a potential 30,000 seat, $1.5 billion retractable roof stadium on the Las Vegas Strip.

The bulk of the public funding would come from $180 million in transferable tax credits from the state and $120 million in county bonds, which can vary based on interest rate returns. Clark County also would contribute $25 million in credit toward infrastructure costs.

The A’s have been looking for a home to replace Oakland Coliseum, where the team has played since arriving from Kansas City for the 1968 season. The team had sought to build a stadium in Fremont, San Jose and finally the Oakland waterfront, all ideas that never materialized.

The plan in the Nevada Legislature won’t directly raise taxes. It can move forward with a simply majority vote in the Senate and Assembly. Lawmakers have a little more than a week to consider the proposal before they adjourn June 5, though it could be voted on if a special session is called.

The Athletics have agreed to use land on the southern end of the Las Vegas Strip, where the Tropicana Las Vegas casino resort sits. Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao has said he is disappointed the team didn’t negotiate with Oakland as a “true partner.”

Las Vegas would be the fourth home for a franchise that started as the Philadelphia Athletics from 1901-54. It would become the smallest TV market in Major League Baseball and the smallest market to be home to three major professional sports franchises.

The team and Las Vegas are hoping to draw from the nearly 40 million tourists who visit the city annually to help fill the stadium. The 30,000-seat capacity would make it the smallest MLB stadium.

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said a vote on the Oakland Athletics’ prospective move to Las Vegas could take place when owners meet June 13-15 in New York.

The plan faces an uncertain path in the Nevada Legislature. Democratic leaders said financing bills, including for the A’s, may not go through if Republican Gov. Joe Lombardo vetoes the five budget bills, which he has threatened to do as many of his priorities have stalled or faded in the Democratic-controlled Legislature.

Under the bill, the Clark County Board of Commissioners would create a homelessness prevention and assistance fund along the stadium’s area in coordination with MLB and the Nevada Resort Association. There, they would manage funds for services, including emergency rental and utility assistance, job training, rehabilitation and counseling services for people experiencing or at risk of homelessness.

The lease agreement with the Las Vegas Stadium Authority would be up for renewal after 30 years.

Nevada’s legislative leadership is reviewing the proposal, Democratic state Assembly Speaker Steve Yeager said in a statement.

“No commitment will be made until we have both evaluated the official proposal and received input from interested parties, including impacted community members,” Yeager said.