New sports 'cheating' row as Mets demand umpires look inside ears of baseball pitcher

New sports 'cheating' row as Mets demand umpires look inside ears of baseball pitcher
Is There Cheating Going On In Baseball?

Before San Diego Padres pitcher Joe Musgrove could throw a pitch at the bottom of the sixth inning during Sunday's game against the New York Mets, he had to get his ears checked for 'illegal substances'.

Checking a pitcher's hands, hat, or glove between innings for sticky substances or foreign objects is typical to prevent spitballing. But ear-checking is a new one.

The request was made by Mets' manager Buck Showalter who believed Musgrove's ears looked oddly shiny during Game 3 of the wild-card round.

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“I think he was checking for some sort of substance that was helping me spin the ball," Musgrove explained to reporters later on.

Sure, Musgrove's ear did look a bit shiny. But it seems the demand was made in part because Musgrove only allowed the Mets one hit throughout the five previous innings.

Umpires convened and checked Musgrove's hands, glove, hat, face, and ears only to find nothing.

“At the point in the game when it happened, I was so dialed in already,” Musgrove said. “All my pitches felt good. I felt like I was executing. So it almost just kind of lit a fire under me.”

Later on, Showalter said he requested the check because “spin rates and different things” jumped out at him.

According to, Musgrove's fastball during the game was 94 mph, slightly higher than his season average of 92.9 mph.

Showalter received backlash for suggesting Musgrove was using illegal substances to throw faster balls. However, he defended his decision saying, "I'm going to do what's best for our players and the New York Mets. I felt like that was best for us right now. There's some pretty obvious reasons why it was necessary.”

Musgrove's ear check is the latest in a series of sports cheating scandals that have led to a crack-down in monitoring.

Chess is seeing one of its largest cheating scandals, allegations of cheating have been made in the world of professional fishing, and Irish Dancing.

For the rest of the game, Musgrove pitched no-hitters leading the Padres a 6-0 win against the Mets.

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