Houston Astros’ Ronel Blanco Removed For Alleged Use Of Sticky Substance

Image Source: Ronel Blanco @ Instagram

During the clash where the Houston Astros secured a slender 2-1 victory over the Oakland A’s, the game witnessed a disruptive moment in the fourth inning when Ronel Blanco, a pitcher for the Astros, was expelled for having an illicit sticky substance on his glove. The base umpire described the substance as “exceptionally tacky,” having made this discovery when the game was in progress.

In the 2021 season, Major League Baseball heightened scrutiny over the use of substances that enhance grip for pitchers, which studies indicate can substantially augment the rotation on the ball, complicating the task for hitters. In response, MLB introduced routine checks in June 2021, wherein players are extensively examined for any trace of such substances. Checks could include their glove, belt, hat and even personal body areas, reminiscent of security procedures at an airport.

Given the timing of the discovery, it’s possible Blanco’s glove became more noticeable as the match progressed. Following the ejection, Blanco is poised to likely face a standard 10-game suspension, a consequence previously set for similar violations.

One of the most memorable instances involving prohibited grip enhancers occurred last season with Max Scherzer of the New York Mets, who was scrutinized under the new rules. Scherzer protested, attributing the residue to sweat and rosin—a material permitted on the mound. Despite his objections, Scherzer was handed the same 10-game suspension.

The Astros are no strangers to controversy, having been previously investigated and found guilty of sign-stealing during the 2017-18 seasons. This misconduct involved deciphering opposing pitchers’ signs through real-time video analysis and relaying the information via audible signals such as banging on a trash can.

This scheme challenged the integrity of the sport, especially as the Astros continued their sign-stealing technique into the 2017 playoffs, culminating in a World Series victory. The organization faced severe penalties, including financial repercussions and the loss of draft selections for two years. Nonetheless, the effectiveness of their strategies was reflected in a league-topping batting average at the time.

Currently, despite having a respectable batting average, the Astros’ overall performance has them sitting fourth in the AL West. Once Blanco serves his potential suspension, he is projected to return to the mound against the A’s again for a subsequent series towards the end of May. This season, Blanco’s record stands at an impressive 4-0 with strong statistics to his name.

Most Popular

To Top