Nationals GM Mike Rizzo slams Joe Girardi as ‘con artist’ after sticky fight

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Philadelphia Phillies manager Joe Girardi was playing mind games with the Washington Nationals Tuesday night, but Nationals’ general manager Mike Rizzo is having none of it.

“It’s embarrassing for Girardi. It’s embarrassing for the Phillies. Was he playing games? Of course he was,” Rizzo said on 106.7 The Fan. “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 have to deal with it.

“This is what we’re going to have to deal with. You think you’re going to intimidate a Max Scherzer, it’s just not going to happen. You’re just going to p–s him off and make him concentrate that much harder.”

“He’s a con artist,” Rizzo added.

Girardi insisted that that Nationals pitcher Max Scherzer get checked for a third time for any sticky substance. Scherzer threw a tantrum and tossed his cap and glove on the ground. He proceeded to undo his belt, so the umpires could get a full look.

The end of the saga came when the former Yankees manager was ejected for trying to go toe-to-toe with the three-time Cy Young award winner. Scherzer ended up being clean of any sticky substance. The 36-year-old ended the game with eight strikeouts, two hits, and only one run allowed in five innings.

Scherzer hasn’t been the only pitcher who has been subjected to a TSA-style pat-down. Mets ace Jacob DeGrom was checked for substances on Monday. Oakland Athletics’ pitcher Sergio Romo was also checked on Tuesday and had the same reaction as Scherzer.

The MLB has been cracking down on pitchers using any sort of substance to help their grip on the ball. On June 21, new rules were placed in order to enforce the rule. Umpires now are supposed to impose routine checks of pitchers.

“It has become clear that the use of foreign substance has generally morphed from trying to get a better grip on the ball into something else — an unfair competitive advantage that is creating a lack of action and an uneven playing field,” Commissioner Rob Manfred said about the use of foreign substances.

“This is not about any individual player or Club, or placing blame, it is about a collective shift that has changed the game and needs to be addressed. We have a responsibility to our fans and the generational talent competing on the field to eliminate these substances and improve the game.”

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