Washington Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo said Philadelphia Phillies manager Joe Girardi was playing games when he spurred the umpires to check Max Scherzer for foreign substances on Tuesday night and embarrassed everyone in the process.
“It’s embarrassing for Girardi, it’s embarrassing for the Phillies, it’s embarrassing for baseball,” Rizzo said Wednesday during an interview with The Sports Junkies on 106.7 The Fan.
Girardi became animated and pointed toward Scherzer in the middle of the fourth inning on Tuesday after the Nationals’ ace struck out Phillies third baseman Alec Bohm and then took off his hat and ran his hand through his hair, which was saturated with sweat. That spurred the umpires, led by plate arbiter Tim Timmons, to confer on the field. They then approached Scherzer, who had been watching them and laughing ironically, and requested a mid-inning inspection.
Scherzer responded by tossing his cap and glove onto the ground, then started to unbuckle his belt, as if to say, “Look at whatever you want.” The umpires poked around as Scherzer yelled and gestured to the Philadelphia dugout. Girardi yelled back.
“He’s a con artist … he’s been doing that for years on TV,” Rizzo said Wednesday. He then said he “loves” Girardi and scouted him at Northwestern, saying, “I know him well” and repeating with emphasis, “I know him well.”
Rizzo said Girardi’s actions were purely “gamesmanship” but that he should have known better than to think he could intimidate Scherzer.
the Nationals’ 3-2 victory, said after the game that the only place he could get sweat to help with his grip was his hair.
“These are Manfred rules,” Scherzer, referring to MLB commissioner Rob Manfred, said Tuesday. “Go ask him. I’ve said enough.”
ESPN’s Bradford Doolittle contributed to this report.