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Tom Verducci thinks Clay Buchholz is cheating

May 3, 2013, 1:29 PM EDT

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In his latest, SI’s Tom Verducci looks at the video evidence — and uses his own observations over the past couple of years — and concludes that Clay Buchholz is doctoring the baseball with some sort of substance that is not permitted under the rules:

Buchholz’s left forearm glistens this year with some kind of substance that is not rosin or perspiration. As the righthander admitted, he does keep water on his uniform and in his hair and does pat the rosin bag on his left forearm — all apparently legal. But rosin is white and has a matte finish. Something wet and mostly clear glistens from Buchholz’s left wrist to his elbow, the moisture of which darkens the edge of his left undershirt sleeve.

I wonder if Eck will now play the “Verducci never played the game” card. Seems like he would.

Anyway, here’s one of baseball’s most respected voices with Hayhurst’s back. He quotes extensively from Dirk’s book about how pitchers use goop to improve their grip and gives the strong impression that he feels Buchholz is doing just that.

Weirdest thing: he doesn’t seem to think it’s a big deal. He doesn’t come down on it with any form of judgment, really, but just notes that it’s common for pitchers to do it. Indeed, the column almost seems dissonent. Like it needed one more paragraph in which Verducci actually says what he thinks about Buchholz cheating. But it never comes. Verducci just leaves it hanging.

Which is kind of surprising for a guy who is completely against the “well, everyone was doing it” mentality when it comes to PEDs.

  1. evanwins - May 3, 2013 at 3:48 PM

    I guess we’ll have to see how he pitches the rest of the season to see exactly what’s what. It will be hard to maintain the start he’s had but if there is a noticeable drop back down to earth that’s not going to look good.

    • bigleagues - May 4, 2013 at 1:21 PM

      This has gotten well beyond comical.

      Hayhurst has doubled down on opportunistic stupidity and is now bordering on becoming a national embarrassment (ya know cuz the BJ’s are “Canada’s Team” and all).

      And jack Morris does need to just zip it as he is starting to sound like a bitter old twit.

      I can’t be alone in reading into the psychology of Morris’ statements regarding most pitchers … as in he tried to throw a spitter in the bullpen, “didn’t like it” so he never did it in a game. (Kind of sounds like I tried it but didn’t inhale, doesn’t it?) BUT he knows a lot of others pitchers who did it and went into the HOF ….naming Gaylord Perry. In other words, poor Jack played it straight and isn’t in the HOF, while others slicked it up and are in the HOF.

      WAHHHHHH

      And all of this adieu about nothing . . . because anyone who has paid attention to Buchholz career – wannabe HOF’ers, career minor leaguers and knowledgeable fans alike – KNOW that Buchholz has ALWAYS possessed the talent and the arsenal to do what he is doing right now … it’s the consistency, maturity and health that has been the major hurdles.

      Hayhurst is a joke. Jack Morris is a bigger joke.

      And Verducci is a sniveling twit who needs to learn a lot more about Buchholz before he goes opening his mouth and makes himself look like a fool.

      Buchholz HAS WORN THE SAME SHIRT FOR THREE YEARS. BUCHHOLZ has ALWAYS rubbed his arm.

      Nearly all pitchers rub excess rosin someplace on their body.

      As for Verducci’s claim that “rosin is white and has a matte finish” WRONG and WRONG.

      As Brandon from the SF Giants will clearly display in this video, rosin is yellowish/orange and it’s basically crystallized tree sap – add a little moisture to tree sap and what do you get? Something sticky and GLOSSY.

      I mean this whole thing has grown into so many levels of stupid it’s beyond compare.

      Of course, when Lilly OPENLY applied pine tar to his non-pitching hand last week almost no one said boo. Not that pine tar and pitching resin are all that different anyway.

      • bigleagues - May 4, 2013 at 1:22 PM

        Here is Derek from the Giants showing us (Tom Verducci take note, please) what rosin actually looks like.

  2. jcmichaels42 - May 3, 2013 at 4:44 PM

    Most likely the old sunscreen and rosin trick. Mix those 2 together and it’s almost like pine tar on the ball minus the dark color to give it away.

  3. 18thstreet - May 3, 2013 at 4:50 PM

    I’m amazed that people have such firm opinions about this. I thought it was accepted knowledge that many player do, on occasion, throw illegal pitches. (I’m shocked that people are so offended at the idea of a pitcher throwing a spitball. Am I too cynical?) And that, while baseball has a mechanism to suspend pitchers for it, it rarely happens. (My guess has always been that teams do want to accuse other teams of doing what they, themselves are guilty of.)

    The evidence that Clay Buchholz is cheating is really two-fold: (a) he’s pitching really well and (b) there’s something shiny on his arm. [And, I suppose, (c) he's the greasiest human being I've ever seen. Thank goodness it's anonymous here.] People who were watching the game — Cur68, for one — didn’t think any of the pitches looked suspicious to him. And given his remarkable success — not just the no hitter, but all the minor league achievements — I don’t think it’s THAT shocking that Clay Buchholz is pitching so well in 2013.

    Most of all, I don’t think anyone knows with certainty whether Clay is cheating or not. The shiny stuff on his arm (a) has been explained as rosin and (b) could also just be the light glistering off his sweat. I don’t know, and neither do you.

    I can’t figure who I’m more annoyed at.

    – For the people who are SURE he’s not: do you think no one is cheating with spitballs? Are you positive that reuniting with John Farrell is the only thing that’s sparked his success?

    – For the people who are SURE he’s cheating: why didn’t the Blue Jays ask for a ball to be tested? Are you aware that Clay Buchholz is a pretty damn good pitcher who has had plenty of success before (2006 Red Sox Minor League Pitcher of the Year; 2007 Eastern League All Star; 2010 AL All-Star), healthy for the first time in years.

    Where is this certainty coming from?

    • mornelithe - May 3, 2013 at 5:41 PM

      I don’t necessarily think he’s innocent, however, I also don’t automatically assume he’s guilty without any shred of evidence whatsoever. Everything I’ve seen this far amounts to a couple of screen shots and a video that doesn’t show the full gamut of Clay’s delivery.

      So, I’m of the mind that until they have proof, they should be shutting the eff up, because what they’re saying comes across as childish antics from a group of ‘journalists’ who are disappointed in the Jays season thus far, and have to come up with an excuse that isn’t the Jays themselves.

  4. 13yrsmlbvet - May 3, 2013 at 4:54 PM

    Guarantee it’s sunscreen. All or most guys do it. Spray it on wrist, fore arm, neck and it mixes with sweat for a really sticky substance. Very common. Guys reload during the game. Hitters know but don’t say anything because most of their guys do it too.

    • proudlycanadian - May 3, 2013 at 4:57 PM

      Sunscreen, oh my! It was a sunny day but the roof was closed for the game.

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