Skip to content

Deep Thoughts: Hayhurst-Morris accusations against Clay Buchholz edition

May 3, 2013, 8:50 AM EDT

Boston Red Sox Buchholz pitches to Toronto Blue Jays during their MLB baseball game in Toronto

So I’ve been looking at this whole little Clay Buchholz drama. Or, I should say, this Dirk Hayhurst-Jack Morris drama, because it seems to be centering way more on them than Buchholz. For those who missed it: Hayhurst accused Buchholz of doctoring the ball on Wednesday and Morris chimed in and agreed.

Worth noting:

  • No Blue Jays player or coach accused Buchholz of anything;
  • No umpire was asked to inspect Buchholz’s arm, which allegedly had goop on it;
  • Buchholz’s pitches did not appear to be doing anything out of the ordinary;
  • Buchholz’s explanation — that it was rosin on his arm — satisfies my Occam’s Razor requirements and has the benefit of appearing to be true, which is always good.

This is, in its entirety then, an accusation by a couple of Blue Jays analysts. Which seems to be — sorry Dirk and Jack, and do know that I love ya otherwise — pretty weak on the substance. Maybe it’ll lead to future Buchholz opponents to ask umps to inspect balls as a means of getting into his head, but there just isn’t any there there.

I will say, though, that the reaction to all of this from some Boston quarters is less than impressive. I’m looking mostly at NESN’s Dennis Eckersley, whose entire response to this consisted of ad hominem attacks on Hayhurst (“he’s a career minor leaguer!”) and Jack Morris (“He hasn’t even made the Hall of Fame yet!”) followed up with a variation of the “how dare they accuse this guy of cheating; he’s having a great season and doesn’t need to cheat!” thing.

I guess I can understand Eck getting emotional here, but appeals to authority, ad hominem attacks and admonitions against even raising questions of those who perform at a high level is pretty much how the steroids thing was able to fester for as long as it did. It’s how Steve Wilstein of the Associated Press was ostracized after he found andro in Mark McGwire’s locker (“who is this guy, and how dare he make such accusations?!”). It’s how everyone was basically convinced to ask no questions because, really, why would sluggers as prolific as these men before us even need to cheat? And, if one were so inclined, it could be used to just as easily discredit whatever Eck has to say about any number of topics. For he, like all of us, has personal baggage too which some may choose to throw back in his face if ever makes an accusation or offers some particularly sharp bit of criticism to a player.

But some shouldn’t choose to do that. Some, instead, should stick to the accusation at hand and deal with it on its merits. Say Morris and Hayhurst are peddling nonsense for reasons (a), (b) and (c), which Jerry Remy mostly did in his comments during that same segment. Don’t say they’re wrong because of some thing that has nothing to do with the matter at hand and which is offered merely to insult the accuser.

I do not think Buchholz was doctoring the ball. I see no evidence that even seriously suggests it. But that’s the very point that should be made — the lack of any credible evidence in the face of an accusation — not the beside the point, emotional defenses of the hometown kid. That kind of stuff is what screws up the discourse when it comes to topics like these.

Latest Posts
  1. Kyle Gibson “doubtful” to make Saturday start due to back injury

    Jul 25, 2014, 10:47 AM EDT

    Kyle Gibson Twins Getty Images

    Kyle Gibson has had an up-and-down first full season for the Twins and now he may wind up on the disabled list with a back injury.

  2. Mariners call up Triple-A shortstop Chris Taylor to push struggling Brad Miller

    Jul 25, 2014, 10:15 AM EDT

    Brad Miller AP

    After a huge spring training that won him the Mariners’ starting shortstop job Brad Miller has struggled mightily, hitting .205 with a .599 OPS and 74/25 K/BB ratio in 86 games.

  3. Brandon Belt is showing no improvement

    Jul 25, 2014, 9:57 AM EDT

    brandon belt getty Getty Images

    Injuries are mounting for the first place Giants.

  4. Must-click link: Johnny Damon seems lost without baseball

    Jul 25, 2014, 9:34 AM EDT

    damon ap AP

    A great, great ballplayer seems to be in denial about his career being over.

  5. Joe Nathan makes the case to keep his job

    Jul 25, 2014, 8:55 AM EDT

    Screen Shot 2014-07-25 at 8.45.19 AM AP

    With Joakim Soria watching from the sidelines, the Tigers embattled closer shuts down one of the best offenses in baseball.

  6. Ryan Raburn: you are not supposed to spike the baseball, dude

    Jul 25, 2014, 7:17 AM EDT

    Raburn spike

    Ryan Raburn is gonna be buying Corey Kluber steaks for the foreseeable future.

  7. And That Happened: Thursday’s scores and highlights

    Jul 25, 2014, 6:47 AM EDT

    Screen Shot 2014-07-25 at 6.46.57 AM Getty Images

    It was a day of blowouts and fine pitching performances.

  8. Report: Yankees talking to Padres about a deal for Ian Kennedy

    Jul 24, 2014, 11:19 PM EDT

    f9709064dc0d3dbba119326284ff6ded AP

    The Yankees are reportedly considering a reunion with right-hander Ian Kennedy.

  9. Jonathan Papelbon to Phillies fans: Bring on the boos

    Jul 24, 2014, 11:18 PM EDT

    201b75e51f895253777b6c9537344e55 Getty Images

    Jonathan Papelbon was booed by Phillies fans this afternoon, but it didn’t bother him. In fact, he says bring it on.

  10. The Astros are hesitant to trade Chad Qualls

    Jul 24, 2014, 10:20 PM EDT

    Chad Qualls Getty Getty Images

    Chad Qualls quietly owns a 1.78 ERA this season. The Astros are reluctant to deal him.

  11. Picture of the Day: Dallas Keuchel has a clever message for a heckler

    Jul 24, 2014, 9:25 PM EDT

    Dallas Keuchel AP AP

    Astros left-hander Dallas Keuchel tossed a baseball to a heckler during today’s game against the Athletics. And the ball contained a clever message.

  12. MLBPA files grievance against Astros in regard to draft pick situation

    Jul 24, 2014, 8:30 PM EDT

    astros logo

    When the Astros failed to agree to terms with No. 1 overall pick Brady Aiken earlier this month, many speculated that the next step would be a grievance against the team from the MLBPA. That’s exactly what has happened.

  13. The Mariners are interested in Drew Stubbs

    Jul 24, 2014, 7:35 PM EDT

    Drew Stubbs Getty Getty Images

    The Mariners brought back Kendrys Morales in a deal with the Twins today, but they aren’t done attempting to upgrade.

  14. Report: Phillies “working hard” to trade Ryan Howard

    Jul 24, 2014, 7:09 PM EDT

    Ryan Howard AP AP

    The Phillies appear ready to move on from Ryan Howard.

  15. Yankees acquire left-hander Chris Capuano from the Rockies

    Jul 24, 2014, 6:31 PM EDT

    Chris Capuano Getty Getty Images

    Yankees general manager Brian Cashman continues to stay busy.

  16. Zach Putnam lands on disabled list with shoulder inflammation

    Jul 24, 2014, 6:13 PM EDT

    Zach Putnam AP

    Zach Putnam has had a share of the closer role with the White Sox in recent weeks, but now he’s headed to the 15-day disabled list due to right shoulder inflammation.

  17. Fractured fibula likely to keep Astros prospect Carlos Correa from Arizona Fall League

    Jul 24, 2014, 5:47 PM EDT

    Carlos Correa AP

    Before the injury Correa was having an excellent season, hitting .325 with 20 steals in 62 games at high Single-A as a 19-year-old.

  18. Ryan Howard does not seem too happy about platooning

    Jul 24, 2014, 5:32 PM EDT

    ryan howard getty Getty Images

    It’s been bad in Philly. Is it starting to get ugly?

  19. Masahiro Tanaka “is still reporting discomfort in his elbow”

    Jul 24, 2014, 5:10 PM EDT

    Masahiro Tanaka AP AP

    Yankees ace Masahiro Tanaka is supposed to rest for six weeks before doctors determine if he needs Tommy John elbow surgery, but 10 days into the process things aren’t going well.

Featured video

Managers get easier path to Cooperstown
Top 10 MLB Player Searches
  1. H. Street (3501)
  2. T. Tulowitzki (3230)
  3. C. Headley (2831)
  4. H. Ramirez (2717)
  5. Y. Puig (2711)
  1. R. Howard (2648)
  2. B. Belt (2551)
  3. C. Lee (2498)
  4. M. Trout (2307)
  5. J. Soria (2185)