On Sunday afternoon, the first pitcher in MLB history was ejected following a “sticky stuff” check. The culprit was former Chicago White Sox pitcher Hector Santiago. It was all smiles for the Seattle Mariners pitcher as he walked off the mound in the middle of the fifth inning. Santigo was joking with umpires as they underwent a league-mandated check of his hat and glove for foreign substances.
The smile did not last long as home plate umpire Phil Cuzzi called more umpires over to take a closer look at his glove. As the inspection wore on longer than usual the umpires determined that there was something illegal in his glove.
They confiscated the glove and ejected Santiago from the game. Seattle manager, Scott Servais, had a long argument with the umpiring crew but to no avail. His pitcher had earned the dubious distinction of the first victim of the new MLB stop and frisk policy.
Hector Santigo is a 10-year veteran who has pitched for the White Sox on three separate occasions. His first stint with the White Sox came from 2011 to 2013. He then returned to the South Side in 2018 and once again in 2019. This season, he has made nine appearances with Seattle. He started Sunday’s game which picked up in the third inning because of a suspended game from the previous day and threw 2.1 innings.
After the game, Santiago vehemently denied using anything illegal. He claims the sweat running down his arm mixed with rosin caused the sticky residue inside his glove. The temperature was in the mid-80s with humidity pushing towards the 90s.
"“I wasn’t using anything besides rosin,” Santiago said. “That’s what’s given to us, because going into this one, once it came up, I was just like, ‘I’m going to use rosin. That’s what we got. I don’t want this to be a big thing. I don’t want this to happen to me.’ And Cuzzi said he felt some stuff sticky on the inside of the glove. So all I used was rosin.”"
While that sounds like a valid excuse, he was not the only pitcher to use rosin on Sunday. He was also not the only pitcher to sweat on the mound. He was, however, the only one to fail an inspection which is enough to raise some eyebrows. This is his second appearance since the inspections began and he had no issue in his last outing.
The Chicago White Sox continues to see strange things around this topic happen at home.
Guaranteed Rate Field seems to be the nexus of the sticky substance universe. This is already the third major event surrounding “foreign substances” at the home of the White Sox. First, Joe West forced Cardinals reliever Giovanny Gallegos to change caps after finding a dark spot on it.
Cardinals manager Mike Shildt became irate and was quickly ejected. Shildt spoke about it after the game and brought attention to the hypocrisy of the situation since every pitcher seemingly uses sunscreen and rosin.
Later, the MLB banned all foreign substances forcing some pitchers to go cold turkey and grip the ball with nothing. Ray’s starter, Tyler Glasnow was one of those pitchers and had to leave his start against the White Sox after four innings with elbow inflammation. After the game, Glasnow blamed the injury on the new rule causing even more dialog across the baseball world about sticky stuff.
The MLB then forced umpires to do random checks of pitchers, looking for foreign substances. There have already been some memorable moments from these forced searches but nobody had been caught with anything until Sunday. Per the MLB commissioner’s new rules, Santigo will be subject to a 10 game suspension if he is found guilty and the Mariners will not be allowed to replace his roster spot.