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Dodgers: ESPN Broadcast Comes Dangerously Close to Accusing Walker Buehler of Cheating

The ESPN broadcast had some things to say about how Walker Buehler treated his blister.



The Dodgers Walker Buehler has been dealing with a blister issue that limited him to just 3 starts in September. The team has done everything that they can to keep it under control making it possible to make his Wild Card start on Wednesday.

His blister was the story of the night for the ESPN broadcast. On several different occasions, the crew zoomed in on the unsightly blister for a very disturbing closer look. Buehler’s blister seems much worse than anyone could have imagined, though the Dodgers don’t sound too concerned. 

But in the middle of the ESPN broadcast, the crew also said something that didn’t sit right with Dodgers fans. Eduardo Perez went to the rulebook to essentially accuse Walker Buehler of using an illegal substance on his blister to keep it closed. Listen in as he pulls the exact rule during the live broadcast. 

That sounds dangerously close to accusing Buehler and the Dodgers of cheating. Perez referenced a rule that limits pitchers from having any sort of grip enhancement or attachment on their hand. Here is the rule that he is referencing, courtesy of the MLB rulebook

The pitcher may not attach anything to either hand, any finger or either wrist (e.g., Band-Aid,tape, Super Glue, bracelet, etc.). The umpire shall determine if such attachment is indeed a foreign substance for the purpose of Rule 6.02(c)(7), but in no case may the pitcher be allowed to pitch with such attachment to his hand, finger or wrist

The rule requires that an umpire determine whether or not a substance is allowed on a finger. The Dodgers have been known to use products such as New Skin that acts as a liquid bandage over the cracking blister. If it were illegal, I am sure that the Brewers would have pointed it out. That leads me to believe that it was discussed beforehand with the umpiring crew. 

More to come on this as both teams address it over the next few days. 

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Written by Brook Smith

Brook is the Senior Editor of Dodgers Nation, with several years of experience in sports journalism. He is an avid Dodgers and Lakers fan, and can be spotted fairly often at Dodger Stadium and Staples Center.

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    • No he was not. Do you think that he wanted to have that blister? You make no sense. How could that be an advantage?

      • Not trying to make sense of somebody else’s rule. I just noted that he was cheating according to the rules. If they don’t enforce the rule in the rulebook the umpire is allowing someone to cheat. Guess that’s what happened. Rules are quite specific. At the umpires discretion? Then why the rule. Makes no sense to me either because many foreign substances are specifically mentioned including super blue which is most commonly used.

    • “The umpire shall determine if such attachment is indeed a foreign substance for the purpose ” What part of that did you not understand?

    • Let us pretend for a moment that he was cheating, doesn’t the outcome of the Atrsos tell them it is okay to cheat? Now back to reality, if ESPN could see it then either the Brewers knew about it and it was ok’d or the Brewers didn’t care to know. Either way it doesn’t appear that he was doing anything to hide his fingers. It isn’t much different than someone going to third on a fly ball out. If the tag up wasn’t done right and the fielding team doesn’t challenge it, the runner is safe.

  1. @Nodrog60 “The umpire shall determine if such attachment is indeed a foreign substance for the purpose” What part of that did you not understand?

    • “New Skin” is not a bandage, Super Glue or any type of enhancement. No logical person would consider the indescribable pain Walker must be suffering an enhancement. There is nothing that can be applied to that blister that is going to give Walker an advantage. The rule is clear: the umpire makes the decision. Its likely the umpire took one look at that finger, shook his head and said, “If he thinks he can pitch, he’s welcome to try”. And if the Brewers are made aware and signed off on it, then it AIN’T CHEATING.
      And stop comparing the Dodgers to the Astros.

  2. I probably would have been disturbed had I heard it but since I turned on my recording of the game and was treated to the stinking Yankees, I’ll have to take your word for it. The little I did see had the broadcast team gushing over their man crush on Josh Hader for two innings.

    And to think that tonight’s game is on ESPN again. Oh goodie – just can’t wait to hear them disparage the team again. That is if they broadcast it.

    • When I was in the Navy, I was stationed on a sub tender out of San Diego in the years 1966 & 1967. I used to sit in the stern of the ship & listen to Vin Scully & Jerry Doggett every evening. Don Drysdale showed up one evening and during the broadcast he shared a very humorous story about another Dodger pitcher Stan Williams. For starters Stan Williams was a big man. It seems as though He had a clause in his contract that would pay him an extra $5M if he could keep his walk total down. So when Stan would go 2-0 or worse yet 3-0 on a batter. He would just go ahead and HIT them. When Drysdale was telling the story he was laughing because he could tell how uncomfortable the hitters would get when Stan got behind in the count. Stan was a big man and NOBODY really wanted to charge the mound. A Great Dodger Story

      • Great story! But there is no way Williams would have gotten an extra $5M (if you mean million) in the ’60’s. Maybe an extra $5K.

  3. How is it that the geniuses at ESPN didn’t catch the Astros trash can banging sign stealing in 2017? I guess they thought that was music? Just get a clarification from MLB (not ESPN) before Buehler’s next start. Let the umpire look at Buehlers finger before his first pitch. Then shut up about it. We’re not the Astros running an organized cheating scam. We’re not trying to hide anything. And we have two starters in the wings (Gonsolin and May) who have better numbers than Buehler and no health issues. Hey ESPN, shut the F up.

  4. Happily, I turn the volume off when forced to watch on ESPN, so that all their jibber-jabber goes unnoticed. I tried listening long ago and came to the conclusion that most of the time their announcers had no idea a game was being played before them. Or on their monitors, since they are likely not on site due to safety protocols.

    I recall in the “old days” of broadcast networks carrying the playoffs, if the networks put up their boring in-house guys we could lower the volume and turn on the local Dodger radio stations to listen to Scully, Doggett and Jarrin. Then they wised up to that and put their “live” show a little delayed so not to sync up with the radio.

  5. Every team “cheats”. Over half the pitchers use foreign substances for a better grip. It’s allowed by umps as long as they are not too flagrant about it.

  6. If any other team supposedly cheats its fine, but it takes something so stupid to accused the LA Dodgers of cheating.

  7. All I have say about this is: East coast bias again. And who the heck cares what is happening during the Freakin’ Yankee game? I had to go to work so I wanted to record the Dodgers then watch the game when I got home from work. The whole game was messed up with an east coast game on. They should have switched that game to the other channel. No one on the east was going to stay up to watch the Yankees anyway. Just saying. More example of east coast bias. I am so sick of it.

  8. I’m sure managers talk to Umpires well before games are started and talk about any issues. Illegal substance use to be like a piece of sandpaper in the glove, oily substance, pine tar, and things like that. Second-skin or new skin isn’t like a substance it’s more or less like a stitch holding a cut together.

  9. Hate the Dodgers, nothing personal, but they have always been a class organization. It would appear that the blister is pretty nasty and must be very painful. However, baseball should look at the remedies to ensure they do not help him pitch or impact the ball. If everyone agrees fine.

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