There was something fishy in the air on Saturday afternoon in the Bronx, but it wasn't Luca Brasi sleeping. Instead, it was the New York Yankees playing a game so suspiciously good that the Minnesota Twins stopped the game to call them out for cheating.
Yankees starter Domingo German had struck out six Twins batters and not allowed a hit through the first three innings. It was such an uncharacteristically good start that it raised some eyebrows in the Twins dugout.
Before the fourth inning, manager Rocco Baldelli had the umpires check German to see if he was using a foreign substance to aid his perfect performance. Despite a lengthy discussion that involved Aaron Boone, German was allowed to return to the mound and continue pitching.
Needless to say, Rocco wasn't pleased with this and made his objection to the decision so emphatically clear that it resulted in his ejection.
German remained in the game until Boone pulled him a few innings later. It didn't take long for evidence to begin circulating on Twitter that suggested not only did the Yankees get caught cheating but they were allowed to get away with it.
After the game, you'll be shocked to learn that Rocco spoke to the media and aired his frustration — although he did so very carefully.
“I’m going to be very brief,” Rocco said when asked about the incident after the game. “Obviously everyone watching the game could see the same thing we were seeing. Their pitcher was warned, or asked to clean his hand off of the rosin that was on his hand. Sometimes when you sue rosin it will get especially tacky.”
Rocco noted that despite being warned, German didn’t listen or follow the rules.
"He (German) was warned. He didn't fully comply with the warning and he was still allowed to keep pitching. I just don't agree with that in principle,” Baldelli said.
H also seemed to call out the Yankees for influencing the umpire discussion.
“There’s an entire huddle of Yankees around the umpires while they’re trying to have a discussion on the field, and he’s casually allowed to keep pitching it kind of goes against a lot of the things we’ve talked about this year,” Rocco said before dropping the hammer.
“I wasn’t going to go out onto the field and return to the dugout on principle,” he said.
The whole ordeal is extremely fishy and Baldelli has every right to be angry. His criticism is justified, especially after some incriminating replay footage of umpire crew chief James Hoye and German discussing washing something off during one of his checks.
Rather than get angry about this, let's zoom out and consider the context. After years of treating the Twins like a punching bag, the Yankees were down so bad after the first two games of this series that they resorted to shady shenanigans. That's objectively hilarious and so desperately sad that it's almost hard to laugh at the Yankees.
Almost, but not entirely.
It's only April, but this Twins team already looks like it's built differently than ones we've seen in the past. Between scoring 11-runs against the Yankees on Thursday to coming back to beat them on Friday, there's something special about this team that outweighs whatever frustrations this incident will cause.