Forget the hair, I just saw video of Buchholz loading the ball with some Eddie Harris worthy slick'em painted up his left forearm. Wow.
— Dirk Hayhurst (@TheGarfoose) May 2, 2013
Before we dive into this story, here’s a few words from the leading authority on greasing baseballs:
Morris and Hayhurst’s comments have led to a mostly hilarious war of words between Toronto’s former-major-leaguers-turned-commentators and Boston’s former-major-leaguers-turned-commentators Jerry Remy and Dennis Eckersley. Here’s what Rem Dog and Eck had to say during Thursday’s pre-game show:
Gordon Edes posted a good write-up of the issue yesterday evening with quotes from Morris, Farrell, Buchholz, Salty, and Ross. It’s a fascinating read.
So is Buchholz buttering up the balls? Or is he just using the rosin allowed to all pitchers? Is he loading up his hair with vagisil? Or is he just wearing a shirt he hasn’t washed in three years? I have no idea. I’m just a guy who watches games on TV from his couch. But here are some thoughts on the issue, in no particular order:
- The first thought I had when I heard about this story breaking was about our comments in our live chat on Wednesday night. There was a stretch in the middle innings when Buchholz walked a batter or two and Barry made a comment that his pitches were moving so much that he couldn’t control them. Spitball-type movement? Maybe.
- Also in our live chat on Wednesday, we talked repeatedly about how filthy Buchholz is. And by filthy, we meant the movement on his pitches, specifically his two-seamer and his change-up. But also filthy in terms of his hair, scraggly pre-teen beard, and porn stache. It would be pretty easy to load that hair up with some substance, rub his hands through it (which he was seen doing repeatedly), and get some extra movement on the ball.
- Random Side Note: Buchholz may be filthy and wear a shirt he hasn’t washed in three years, but he gets to go home every night to this:
Life isn’t fair.
- To me, the best defense of Buchholz that I heard from anyone was from David Ross. Ross said, “I touch the ball as much as Buch does and I know when a pitcher is messing with the ball. He’s not putting anything on it. And that shirt he wears is about 40 years old”. Since Buch is only 28 years old (I’m 19 days older than Buchholz. Excuse me while I go stare wistfully out the window and wonder what has happened to the passage of time whilst a singular tear runs down my cheek...and I’m back), apparently he’s wearing a shirt made twelve years before he was born.
- Check out this picture from Hayhurst’s twitter feed:
That looks pretty damning to me. Buchholz and Farrell claim he had nothing but rosin on his forearm, but isn’t rosin a chalky white substance? I don’t see anything chalky on his forearm, only grease. If is was rosin, why wouldn’t he be loading it on his entire hand instead of only his fingertips that grip the ball?
- The main argument that Remy and Eck keep making is that somehow Morris and Hayhurst are unqualified to make these claims. Eck has dismissed Hayhurst’s claims by saying he is a “career minor leaguer who shouldn’t be getting any play” and Morris’ by saying, “Jack Morris is a guy that can’t even make it to the Hall of Fame yet, and he’s chirping over there - zip it”. Eckersley needs to look up the term “ad hominem”. Making a counter-argument by attacking the character of the speaker rather than addressing the argument itself is fallacious and counter-productive. Morris and Hayhurst could be the worst pitchers in the history of the major leagues and still be able to see when a guy is greasing up his hands and getting a foot of movement on his pitches. If, you know, that’s what happened. I better stop right there before Eck starts attacking my character or credentials.
- Salty’s response to Morris in Edes’ article is baffling. According to Morris, Salty responded to Morris’ claims by saying, “it gets dry in Boston. I’ve seen him put water all over his pants”. Really? It gets dry in Boston? If that’s really what Salty said to Morris, then that’s not only the dumbest response I’ve ever heard, but Morris was absolutely in the right to doubt him and respond, “Salty, this isn’t my first f***ing rodeo”.
- I give Morris credit for not just hiding in his press box and making his claims. He went right up to John Farrell, Salty, and Ross and confronted them face-to-face.
- Buchholz’s responses in Edes’ article are baffling, too. Buchholz says, “Loading up with what, rosin? I get wet from my hair. Are they talking about the stains on my shirt?”. Buchholz goes in three different directions in three consecutive sentences. Seems kind of fishy, that’s all.
- I also find it hilarious that Salty called out Vicente Padilla for throwing a spitball last year in Edes’ article. According to Salty, “I’d see Padilla get water from the back of his head, and the ball would sink six inches or so”. If I was Salty, I’d be looking into the witness protection program about now.
- Nobody from the Jays dugout ever asked the umpire to check the ball or Buchholz. Now, it’s unclear whether John Gibbons actually has coherent thoughts during the game or whether he is even watching the game, but still. You would think somebody would be noticing from field level if Buch was loading the ball or getting absurd movement or rotation on his pitches.
- Until Buchholz is proven to be cheating or told to stop from an umpire or Joe Torre or Bud Selig or Major League Baseball, I hope the hell he keeps doing what he’s doing. He’s 6-0 and has looked like the best pitcher in baseball so far in 2013.