Jon Lester may have had a foreign substance in his glove in World Series Game 1

Was Jon Lester doctoring the ball during his Game 1 gem?

10/24/13 in MLB   |   Pat   |   5234 respect

Oct 23, 2013; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Jon Lester (31) reacts during the second inning in game one of the MLB baseball World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY SportsAfter Jon Lester's Game 1 masterpiece against the Cardinals, there's a bit of controversy swirling.

Lester was a huge reason the Red Sox won the game, thanks to his 7 2/3 scoreless innings in which he struck out 8, walked only 1, and scattered 5 hits.

Cardinals minor leaguer (I'm not going to call him a prospect, since he's 25 years old and has never made it above single-A ball) Tyler Melling tweeted out a picture of what appears to possibly be a foreign substance in Lester's glove.

Jon Lester using a little Vaseline inside the glove tonight?

— Tyler Melling (@TylerMelling) October 24, 2013

There appears to be a glob of some sort of material on Lester's glove, right between two of the fingers.

Later, someone sent out a Vine video of Lester reaching into his glove and rubbing his index finger and middle finger on that same spot on his glove.

@tmckernan vine of him getting the goo off the glove:

— Jimmy Manno (@Jimmy_Manno) October 24, 2013

This isn't the first time a Red Sox pitcher has been accused of something like this, nor are the Red Sox alone with things like this. Former Cardinals pitcher Chris Perez threw out some allegations about some of the older Cardinals pitchers, which would actually include last night's starter Adam Wainwright.

According to ESPN's Buster Olney, MLB released a statement through spokesman Pat Courtney, which said that the league had looked into it and found nothing conclusive:
"We cannot draw any conclusions from this video. There were no complaints from the [Cardinals] and the umpires never detected anything indicating a foreign substance throughout the game."

Olney also pointed out that the Cardinals might not even WANT this to be investigated further, and most teams would feel the same way:

As one exec noted about foreign substances for pitchers: "Nobody wants their guys checked, (too)." In other words: A lot of this goes on.

— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) October 24, 2013

While it may be true that this is a rather common occurrence in baseball, that still doesn't make it right. We're still not 100% sure that Lester did anything illegal here, but it will be very interesting (and highly scrutinized) if he takes the mound again in Game 5. Will he have a similar glob on his glove? Will it magically disappear? Will he pitch like an ace once again? Will his performance suffer?

This should be interesting to see as the Series continues.
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10/24/13   |   Pat   |   5234 respect

Cardinals GM John Mozeliak says it's a non-issue:

"As far as I'm concerned it's a non-issue. It's something that arose in social media and not from our players or manager or our coaching staff. To me it does not represent a concern."


10/24/13   |   Dan_B   |   1067 respect

For better or for worse, this kind of stuff happens every day in baseball. Two of the top closers in baseball, Craig Kimbrel and Grant Balfour, very clearly seem to have a substance on their hats that they touch between every pitch, every time out, yet no one calls them on it. I couldn't find a good shot of Balfour's, but here is Kimbrel.