Former Seattle Mariners star Felix Hernandez is involved in the most recent MLB scandal
There has been a lot going on this week in the MLB. Francisco Lindor heads to the Mets, Tommy Lasorda passes away, and a former Angels employee names a bunch of pitchers for using illegal products. Sadly, former Seattle Mariners pitcher Felix Hernandez is a part of that group.
Felix Hernandez is one of the many players named by Brian “Bubba” Harkins who was fired last March for providing illegal ball-doctoring substances to the opposing teams. Harkins had been with the Angels organization for nearly four decades and was the visiting clubhouse manager from 1990.
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After being let go, Harkins filed a defamation complaint against the Los Angeles Angels and the MLB last August. The Angels and MLB filed a motion to dismiss the complaint, so Harkins responded and claimed many players used illegal products, including Angels players.
This is an interesting situation because from Brian Harkins’ point of view he has been treated as a traitor by fans. His lawyer said, “Bubba was made a one-man scapegoat, and that they did this ‘investigation’ in an effort to protect the players.”
To be quite frank, I am siding with Harkins and his lawyer because the use of ball-doctoring products has not been a secret. Here is what Buster Olney had to say:
Felix Hernandez is now a part of this scandal. This is heartbreaking for Seattle Mariners fans and I am not too happy as well. But, it is a weird situation, because Felix Hernandez is not the only one.
Some people might compare this scandal to the PED issues, but it’s not the same. I think rosin or pine tar usage by pitchers is a lot more frequent than PED usage.
Gerrit Cole is one of the big headlines in this case. They even dug up a text that Cole sent to Harkins:
"“Hey Bubba, it’s Gerrit Cole, I was wondering if you could help me out with this sticky situation [wink emoji]. We don’t see you until May, but we have some road games in April that are in cold weather places. The stuff I had last year seizes up when it gets cold.”"
Harkins also listed a bunch of Angels pitchers who he claimed used a mix of rosin and pine tar, to prove that it was not just opposing teams using substances. Tyler Chatwood, Cam Bedrosian, Dylan Bundy, and Yusmeiro Petit are just a few (former) Angels pitchers to be named. Keynan Middleton, one of the newer Seattle Mariners additions is also on that list.
Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer, Corey Kluber, and Adam Wainwright are some of the other big names alongside Felix Hernandez who are alleged to use illegal substances.
With all of that being said, I am not entirely sure how it impacts Felix Hernandez’s legacy as a Seattle Mariners pitcher. I would lose all respect for Felix if he used PED’s but this is a different scenario. Players have been using ball-doctoring substances for so long.
The MLB has been trying to crack down on illegal substances as of late, but I am not sure how the MLB can improve. It can be hard to regulate what happens in the clubhouse.
More information should surface this spring.