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A Cardinals minor leaguer wonders if Jon Lester was doctoring up the ball last night

Oct 24, 2013, 9:30 AM EDT

UPDATE: MLB has issued a statement saying the video was inconclusive. So, basically, this little controversy is over.

9:30 AM: Well here’s some fun fodder to tide us over until game time!

Tyler Melling, a minor league pitcher in the Cardinals organization, took to Twitter last night to ask whether Jon Lester was adding a little foreign substance to the ball:

Here’s video:

And here’s another pic of Lester’s glove:


Interesting. Inconclusive — he could just as easily be wiping sweat off his fingers as he is wiping goo on, or he could just be doing weird OCD crap like touching the strings of his glove, etc. — but interesting.

Let’s see if this gets any traction. Especially given the source of the speculation.

(thanks to @Justin_Shea for alerting me to this)

101 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. cohnjusack - Oct 24, 2013 at 11:57 AM

    Two things.

    1. Their is almost certainly something on his glove.
    2. He clearly touches that part of his glove with two fingers.

    Is he doctoring the ball? Fuck if I know, but it looks awfully damn suspicious.

    I don’t care about last night’s game, obviously the far bigger issue was 8 runs and the continued existence of Pete Kozma. An undoctored baseball won’t change that. But, if we’re all honest with ourselves here, that looks pretty damn suspicious.

    • mesteiner11 - Oct 24, 2013 at 1:38 PM

      Everyone should do a little research before jumping to conclusions. Look at his glove two weeks ago in the ALCS. It looks like it’s been worn down in that spot. Now if that spot isn’t there in Game 5 (if there is one), then clearly I’m completely wrong, unless he got a new glove, which is unlikely. Look at this picture from a couple weeks ago and tell me if it doesn’t look like the same spot…

      • cohnjusack - Oct 24, 2013 at 2:00 PM

        Yep, totally there. Is that a worn down part of the glove or something he put on it both times? I think the only honest answer to that is “I don’t know”.

  2. cohnjusack - Oct 24, 2013 at 12:04 PM

    Remember this controversy from earlier this year:

    The secret trick that led to accusations of Boston Red Sox starter Clay Buchholz throwing a spitball has an ancillary benefit: It prevents skin cancer, too.

    Two veteran pitchers and one source close to the Red Sox told Yahoo! Sports that about 90 percent of major league pitchers use some form of spray-on sunscreen – almost always BullFrog brand – that when combined with powdered rosin gives them a far superior grip on the ball.–sources-say-sunscreen-trick-is-pitchers–latest-way-to-gain-an-edge-173953962.html

    • djpostl - Oct 24, 2013 at 12:20 PM

      Which was just fucking humorous as hell because 90% of pitchers aren’t see swiping their fingers over a huge splotch of it before every pitch like Buccholz and one of their relievers (Tanzawa maybe) were at the time.

      Both cases were pretty obvious that someone was taking a foreign substance and putting it on the ball and MLB pulled a “move along, nothing to see here”.

      • Glenn - Oct 24, 2013 at 3:10 PM

        All the Cardinals or any other team has to do is ask the umps to check the glove. What’s so hard about that?

      • doc - Oct 26, 2013 at 1:13 AM

        There never was any evidence to support the allegations against Buchholz and Tazawa by disgruntled Blue Jays broadcasters (Dirk Hayhurst and Jack Morris). Upset that their team was performing miles below the lofty heights they were predicted to attain last winter and spring, these bird-heads decided to go proactive and blame somebody, anybody, for the way things were going.

        Jack Morris eventually apologized to Buchholz:

    • stupidthings5 - Oct 24, 2013 at 12:21 PM

      When the enitre pitching staff has career years out of nowhere, you have to wonder. First Buckholtz, now this guy. And Dempster and Lackey!? C’mon. Also, this year, the Redlux have come back 31 times in regular season with a 19-12 record. Additionally they won 15 games after being tied after the 7th inning. This doesn’t include 4 playoff luckbacks and being no-hit for two straight games, but almost winning both of them. And the Victorino close-my-eyes pop-out home run. There are breaks and there is just pure dumb luck – they’ve been doing it all year. Must be the beards. Also, why are pitchers pitching to Ortiz? Especially after his late season shipment came in.

      • lebatardroi - Oct 24, 2013 at 12:38 PM


        At least you got your user name right. Remember some of these guys were coached by Bobby Valentine last year, who couldn’t manage his way out of a damn paper bag. Lay off Ortiz – he is innocent until proven guilty, just like everyone else. You show a complete lack of class in your comments.

      • stupidthings5 - Oct 24, 2013 at 12:46 PM

        Ortiz WAS proven guilty. Also, I think his heart was in the right place the past several years by trying to start out clean, but after he realized he couldn’t do it, he had to get his shipment in. Hey, more power to him if he can’t get caught (rhelps that MLB refuses to and chooses to single other guys out instead for some reason). Gosh, I’m sorry if I offended you with my stats, opinions, and overall lack of class.

      • anxovies - Oct 24, 2013 at 1:36 PM

        Ortiz denies that he failed the 2003 survey drug test and gets a bye from the press while ARod gets pilloried for owning up to using drugs after it came out that he was one of the players who failed the same test. Ortiz is cuddly and loveable with the media while ARod is guarded after having been the subject of intense rumormongering. MLB has picked up on this and is making an example of him because it knows that there is going to be little support for ARod in the media. Whether or not he did the bad things they say he did I hate seeing people getting bullied by reporters and bureaucrats just because they can.

      • doc - Oct 26, 2013 at 1:29 AM

        Your just floundering around trying to catch on to any handy explanation. It couldn’t be skill, hard work, patience paying off so it must be
        1. cheating, or
        2. luck, or
        3. dumb luck, or
        4. drugs, or
        5. a combination of all of the above.

        It’s because they put people like you, incapable of reasoning based on the available factual information instead of relying on prejudicial assumptions and the disgusting habit of presuming “guilt’ in those one considers suspicious, on juries that innocent men and women are convicted of crimes they didn’t commit.

  3. petcharles - Oct 24, 2013 at 12:39 PM

    It might be appropriate for you to shorten your username.

  4. realitypolice - Oct 24, 2013 at 1:00 PM

    Almost certainly putting something on his fingers. Nothing to do with the outcome of the game. MLB will do nothing to Lester, but umps will probably check pitcher’s gloves from here on out.

    Think that about sums it up. Did I miss anything?

  5. jjpaine - Oct 24, 2013 at 1:19 PM

    Sounds like a bunch of butt hurt, bandwagon, pink hats to me!

  6. roverboy1949 - Oct 24, 2013 at 1:31 PM

    It’s official. We now live in an era where any time anyone we don’t like does something good, it’s because he, or she, cheated. It has been coming for a long time, but now it has arrived. All the haters come out of the woodwork to make their comments. Conspiracy theories abound. I’m sure that the second base umpire was betting on the Cards to win, so he called Pedroia out. MLB allows the Red Sox to cheat because they have become such a big story for them by going from worst to first. There is legitimate reason to believe there are players who don’t play by the rules. All sports need to make the penalties tougher for those that are caught. But lets quit making blind accusations about players because you don’t like them or their team. When you get a kick out of calling someone a cheater, I guess your life is pretty sorry. Maybe you should try talking about what a great catch. Beltran made, sacrificing his body for the team, but oh wait. He must have taken something to make him that good for that long. Maybe if Wacca pitches lights out ball tonight, it will be because he doctors the ball, too. Get a life all you haters. Find something in life to make you smile. It’s only a game.

  7. fpstratton - Oct 24, 2013 at 1:39 PM

    The reporting in some of these articles is getting sloppier…the headline reads “Cards player…”. This individual is not a player on the St. Louis Cardinals. He is in their minor league system! Furthermore, it’s really just sour grapes. Jon Lester pitched a great game. Deal with it.

  8. rythestunner - Oct 24, 2013 at 1:39 PM

    I wonder if the Cardinals will ever be able to lose gracefully without complaining about the opposing team celebrating, cheating, etc.

    • forsch31 - Oct 24, 2013 at 11:51 PM

      Opposing? Tyler Melling is a 25-year-old minor league player who’s never played above Single A. The only time he’s been in Boston is to sight-see.

      If Craig has to dig out a complaint from a guy that low in the organization, I seriously doubt anyone who actually played last night’s game has complained.

      ‘Course, considering the original headline, he probably tried….

  9. kellyb9 - Oct 24, 2013 at 2:01 PM

    I have no dog in the fight, but it should be pretty obvious whether he cheated or not. Check the glove during his next start, if it was worn down and turned green from any kind of unusual combination of sweet and rubbing, it should be pretty apparent. If there’s suddently nothing there or the glove “disappeared”, then he’s clearly hiding something. Either way, MLB is not doing anything (as usual)… so who cares.

  10. makeham98 - Oct 24, 2013 at 2:11 PM

    Crybaby Culture = The Cardinal Way.

    • angigreco69 - Oct 24, 2013 at 3:19 PM

      Boston Strong=Boston cheaters (Patriots, Red Sox) and please look at Tom Brady if you want to talk about crybaby culture.

      • sabatimus - Oct 24, 2013 at 3:57 PM

        Go get your limbs blown off at a Boston Marathon and then say that with a straight face…that is, if you still have a face or are still alive afterward.

      • roverboy1949 - Oct 24, 2013 at 4:25 PM

        Say what you want about The Pats or the Sox, but Boston Strong is a whole lot more than sports a**hole. Read the paper about bombs at the Marathon and then say how that equals cheaters in Boston. You really do need to get a life.

      • jimeejohnson - Oct 24, 2013 at 8:29 PM

        They do have gut bombs in St. Louis.

  11. twonsify - Oct 24, 2013 at 3:34 PM

    Assuming the whiners are right, what’s the solution? Ban sun screen, make the pitchers wear some type of surgical gloves and use a fresh, MLB supplied leather glove for each game? Is anybody foolish enough to think even *that* would stop the couch sloths from whining?

    Maybe the Instant Replay will bring us to the point of allowing the opposite team to challenge such things at the risk of having an out assessed. Either way, all this incessant crying doesn’t change the sloppy Cards defense from game 1, or the fact that this is a best of 7 series.

  12. gingerkid2000 - Oct 24, 2013 at 4:23 PM

    Wow so the Cards lose therefor the only explanation is the Sox cheated? The crybabies never cease to amaze me. Anything to excuse to poor execution by the St Louis Little League team that showed up last night.

  13. gingerkid2000 - Oct 24, 2013 at 4:26 PM

    @angigreco69 you are the reason why abortion should always remain legal. No doubt your parents are ashamed they ever had you.

    • jimeejohnson - Oct 24, 2013 at 8:30 PM

      Now you’ve pissed off all the Evangelical right wing bass turds.

  14. sydsgma - Oct 24, 2013 at 6:20 PM

    I remember using Vaseline in my new gloves throughout little league, high school, and adult softball leagues and never did it turn my glove green, yellow, or any other color.

  15. ilovesports13 - Oct 24, 2013 at 9:16 PM

    Of course he is cheating. He plays for the Red Sox. They are a classless organization. Always have been, always will be. He’ll get away with. The Red Sox get away with everything. They will probably win the World Series, but it will be tainted.

  16. thesteelskirt - Oct 25, 2013 at 4:05 PM

    So does very sports team in the Boston area cheat? First the Patriots and now the Red Sox. Who would have thought New England is so infested with cheaters, is my clam chow dah really clams or is it imitation product!

  17. doc - Oct 25, 2013 at 9:59 PM

    The link to picture doesn’t work. About the video/vine showing Lester touching the inside his glove. Maybe he’s touching the name of his young friend Zein, which is written in marker on his glove. In an October 24th ESPN article titled “Lester clicks on all cylinders, A to Zein” ( Joe McDonald describes the bond between the pair, noting the significance of the name written on the glove. He writes:

    On the side of his black leather mitt, Lester has the name “ZEIN” written with a silver Sharpie. When the Red Sox traveled to Los Angeles to play the Dodgers in late August, Lester met Zein and his family. Zein is 6 years old and battling cancer.

    “I take him out there with me every time I pitch,” said Lester, a cancer survivor himself, after he led the Red Sox to an 8-1 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals on Wednesday night at Fenway Park. “He’s a pretty special kid.”

  18. doc - Oct 25, 2013 at 10:06 PM

    Just what we need, another imaginary spit halo (

  19. bbk1000 - Oct 26, 2013 at 11:25 AM

    This is nothing new, Kenny Rogers did the same thing a few years ago….

    Something that helps the pitchers grip the ball is no big deal…it’s not like it’s changing the flight of the ball.

    Would you rather have the pitcher be able to control where he throws the ball or be hit in the head with it….especially during these 40 degree games….

  20. drewsylvania - Oct 26, 2013 at 5:20 PM

    Much ado about nothing, and the Cards know it.

  21. sfleming33 - Oct 29, 2013 at 2:23 AM

    Soooo, Anything To Say Now? Now That Lester Brought His Shiny New Glove Out And Still Pitched 7.2 Dominant Innings? How Is He cheating This Time?

    • doc - Oct 29, 2013 at 4:50 AM

      Someone will photoshop some green or pink goop into that pristine glove, just like before, and set off another slanderous romp through the rumor mill.

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