In a tense elimination game between the San Diego Padres and the New York Mets, an unexpected and controversial incident unfolded, raising suspicions of cheating. The focus of the controversy was Padres pitcher Joe Musgrove, whose performance was under scrutiny due to certain peculiarities observed by the Mets.

The Catcher’s Discovery

It all began in the first inning when Musgrove threw a pitch, and the catcher noticed something unusual. The ball had hit the dirt, and upon closer inspection, it seemed to have a foreign substance on it. Curious, the catcher shared his discovery with the team.

Enter Buck Showalter

Buck Showalter, the Mets’ manager, took a keen interest in the situation. He decided to conduct what he humorously referred to as a \”science experiment.\” Showalter wanted to ascertain if Musgrove was up to something, and he had the perfect opportunity during the sixth inning.

The Shiny Ear and Spin Rate Anomalies

As Musgrove dominated the Mets for five innings, Showalter couldn’t shake off his suspicions. He noticed a shiny substance on Musgrove’s ear, which further fueled his doubts. Additionally, the spin rates on Musgrove’s curveball and slider were significantly higher than his season average, raising eyebrows among the Mets’ coaching staff.

Showalter’s Bold Move

Determined to get to the bottom of the matter, Showalter approached the umpire and requested a thorough inspection of Musgrove. He firmly believed that the pitcher was cheating and needed to be held accountable.

The Inspection Drama

As the umpire and Showalter approached Musgrove, tension filled the air. Musgrove’s teammates found the situation amusing, laughing at the manager’s accusations. However, Showalter was undeterred and insisted on a full examination.

The Verdict

The inspection commenced, and all eyes were on Musgrove. The umpire checked his glove and then proceeded to touch Musgrove’s ear. After a comprehensive examination, it was clear that there was nothing suspicious or illicit going on.

A Failed Accusation?

While Showalter’s concerns were understandable, it became evident that there was no foul play involved. The lack of any foreign substance on Musgrove’s ear and the fact that he had not touched his ear throughout the game worked in his favor.

The Speculations and the Aftermath

Speculations and theories about what could have caused the spin rate anomalies were discussed after the game. Some suggested it could be the result of using Vaseline to combat the cold weather, while others hinted at a burning sensation caused by red hot applied to the ears. However, these remained mere conjectures without any concrete evidence.


In the end, the controversy surrounding Joe Musgrove’s ear inspection turned out to be much ado about nothing. Despite initial suspicions, the inspection revealed no signs of cheating or foul play. It served as a reminder that sometimes, in the heat of competition, emotions can lead to false accusations. As the MLB continues to evolve and enforce rules to maintain fairness and integrity, incidents like these are bound to be part of the game’s history.