Did Jon Lester doctor the ball with Vaseline in Game 1 of the World Series?
Baseball has a long history of players trying to get an edge.
Players used to consume amphetamines like they were M&Ms, there have been numerous incidents involving pine tar, players like Albert Belle famously corked his bat, there was that whole steroids era thingy and pitchers have always doctored balls with some combination of spit, tar and, yes, petroleum jelly.
St. Louis Cardinals pitching prospect Tyler Melling obviously doesn’t believe in the mantra, “if you ain’t cheatin’, you ain’t trying,” as he crossed the doctoring picket line last night on Twitter, accusing Red Sox starter Jon Lester of using Vaseline to doctor the baseball. Melling even posted a picture with so-called evidence.
These accusations are typically only made when a pitcher pitches well, which Lester did in Game 1 of the World Series Wednesday night. For instance, when Clay Buchholz was leading the league in wins earlier this season, Blue Jays TV analyst Dirk Hayhurst (yes, the same Dirk Hayhurst that Rays pitcher David Price said ‘couldn’t hack it’) accused Buchholz of doctoring the baseball.
Those rumors were so prevalent that Sox manager John Farrell actually addressed them.
“It bothers me immensely when someone is going to make an accusation, and in this case cheating, because they’ve seen something on TV,” Farrell told the Boston Globe. “He’s got rosin on his arm. I think rosin was designed to get a grip. But the fact is, he’s got it on his arm. I’ve seen some people who have brought photographs to me. They’re false, The fact is the guy’s 6 feet, he’s pitched his tail off. If people are going to point to him cheating? Unfounded.”
Follow Metro Boston sports editor Matt Burke on Twitter @BurkeMetroBOS