Nationals GM Calls Joe Girardi a “Con Artist” After Sticky Substance Kerfuffle

from NBCSP

Let’s get it back to baseball. We’re all-in on the Phillies after the Sixers’ embarrassing playoff exit.

Last night Joe Girardi got tossed after a staredown with Max Scherzer over the numerous sticky substance checks that were performed on the Nationals’ pitcher.

Bob did the write-up this morning and shared this quote from Girardi about asking the umps to check out Scherzer:

“I’ve seen Max a long time, since 2010. Obviously, he’s going to be a Hall of Famer, but I’ve never seen him wipe his head like he was doing tonight. Ever,” Girardi said. “It was suspicious for me. He did it about four or five times, it was suspicious. I didn’t mean to offend anyone, I just gotta do what’s right for our club.”

And this all resulted in Nats GM Mike Rizzo calling Girardi a con artist, via Chris Lingebach and The Sports Junkies, which is a Washington radio show:

Asked if he thought Girardi was exhibiting gamesmanship, rather than being genuinely concerned that Scherzer may be using a foreign substance, Rizzo responded by saying “of course he was.”

“What are we idiots? Of course he was,” Rizzo said. “It’s embarrassing for Girardi. It’s embarrassing for the Phillies. It’s embarrassing for baseball. Yes he was playing games. Hey, that’s his right. Gamesmanship. It had nothing to do with substances. He had no probable cause to ask for it. The umps shouldn’t have allowed it. But it happened and you’ve got to deal with it. This is what we’re gonna have to deal with.”

“Well our partner here, Eric Bickel, believed Joe Girardi after the game, doesn’t think it’s gamesmanship,” said Junkies host John-Paul Flaim.

“No, no, no. I think that factored in. Don’t speak for me,” Bickel said. “I think it factored in. But I do believe him when he said he just was flummoxed by him going to his head all the time. I think he tried to get him off his rhythm a little bit, but ultimately I agree with Mike, too. That backfires. I think you do that with other pitchers, but if you piss off Max Scherzer, that’s gonna go the other way on you. So I don’t think that was necessarily his goal.”

“That was his goal. He’s a con artist,” Rizzo replied. “He got you in the con. You believe it and that’s just the way it is. He’s been doing that for years on TV.”

Yeah? Well Girardi can ask for the umps to check. He’s allowed to do that. Only he knows if he’s bullshitting or not. And gamesmanship happens all over the place, in every sport, in myriad situations. Football players fake injuries to stop the clock and break the other team’s momentum. Soccer players roll around like they’ve been shot. If there’s a blurry sports line, then it’s probably going to be walked. Obviously the “sticky stuff” topic and rule change is recent, and there are going to be some hiccups in navigating enforcement, but this is whatever. Nobody should be surprised.

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