Twice in the same week, the New York Yankees were "busted" for sticky stuff. Domingo Germán was ejected from last Tuesday's game after the umps deemed his hand "extremely sticky." Then, on Friday, Clarke Schmidt was flagged for "something a little bit tacky" on the inside of his glove.
Germán very obviously bent the rules with his use of rosin. About a month ago in a start against the Twins, Germán was instructed to wash his hands because the stickiness nearing a level that would've warranted an ejection.
As for Schmidt, nothing was on his hand and there wasn't a whole lot disclosed from the umps about what was on the glove (source says: glove fuzz), but we can assume the league was on high alert with the Yanks after Germán's actions.
In wake of all that, the Yankees have pledged to "self-police" the use/stickiness of rosin with the pitching staff in order to avoid these kinds of situations that are -- let's be honest -- always going to be blown out of proportion. Pitchers were using spider tack for years, and now everyone's worried two ineffective pitchers are all of a sudden going to turn into Nolan Ryan because they have a better grip on the ball?
Regardless, it's not anything you want your team involved in ... which makes us wonder why the Yankees are opting to self-police it now instead of doing it all along, especially after Gerrit Cole was made the poster boy of the sticky movement.
Domingo Germán, Clarke Schmidt have Yankees "self-policing sticky stuff
"Trying to stay vigilant on it as much as we can. And, ‘Hey, we have no margin for error here, guys. Zero margin. So whatever we think the line is, you need to be 10 steps further from it.’ "- Matt Blake via NY Post
The one complication with all this is that the stickiness needs to be subjective. The league has left it up to the umpires to determine when rosin is "used excessively or misapplied." It's not outlandish to think judgement calls on that front might vary from crew to crew.
For example, do we think Germán just decided to start bending the rules within the last few weeks? Sticky checks have been occurring since June of 2021. Germán has pitched in 46 games since. Don't think there's a chance the judgement varied across crews? Remember when Max Scherzer got suspended? The future Hall of Famer? Do you really think that moment was him being outed for perpetually using sticky stuff? It wasn't.
But, on the flip side, the Yankees certainly need to be "self -policing" someone like Germán, who's generally been nothing but trouble, as well as someone like Schmidt, who is still looking to make a big-league impression and has had most of his MLB experience come after the sticky ban.
Everyone from manager Aaron Boone to Blake to Cole should be working to instill the correct practices and ensure nobody is teetering on the edge. That's something that should've been discussed two years ago -- not in May of 2023 when the Yankees are now at the forefront of the wrong discussion.