- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 23, 2021

When Phillies slugger Bryce Harper walked to the plate early in Wednesday’s game, Ryan Zimmerman and Max Scherzer took policing MLB’s new foreign substance enforcement into their own hands. The Nationals duo waved for the umpire’s attention, then pointed to their hats, signaling that the umpire should check Harper’s hair for any sticky stuff.

When Harper saw, he laughed at the joke. Harper tends to have plenty of product in his well-coifed hair.

But Tuesday night, which Zimmerman and Scherzer were referencing, was no laughing matter.

Philadelphia manager Joe Girardi had asked the umpires to check Scherzer’s hair Tuesday for a foreign substance because the manager noticed the Washington ace repeatedly touching his hair. Scherzer was doing so to wet his hand with sweat so he could get a better grip on the baseball.

The umpires even touched Scherzer’s sweaty hair — which is less coifed than Harper’s — Tuesday to confirm there were no sticky substances involved. Girardi later got heated at Washington’s dugout and was ejected.

Scherzer said unless MLB revises its rules Tuesday’s lengthy confrontation will happen more often.

Harper responded to the earlier ribbing with a solo home run in the third inning.

• Andy Kostka can be reached at akostka@washingtontimes.com.

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