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Rays’ Rich Hill: ‘We don’t want to turn baseball into Jerry Springer’

Veteran lefty calls searching pitchers for illegal substances “dehumanizing,” says there must be a better way.
Home plate umpire Tom Hallion checks Rays starting pitcher Rich Hill's hat for any foreign substances as he leaves the game against the Red Sox during the fifth inning of Wednesday's game.
Home plate umpire Tom Hallion checks Rays starting pitcher Rich Hill's hat for any foreign substances as he leaves the game against the Red Sox during the fifth inning of Wednesday's game. [ CHRIS O'MEARA | Associated Press ]
Published Jun. 24
Updated Jun. 24

ST. PETERSBURG — Rays veteran Rich Hill said the new procedures requiring pitchers to be searched by umpires for illegal substances are “dehumanizing” and should not be part of the game.

“This is something that we need to come up with a better solution to,” Hill said. “This is not baseball. This is not what people buy a ticket to come and see. ... We don’t want to turn baseball into Jerry Springer. That’s all I’m saying.

“I think we’ve got to get back to the game itself and the great things that are going on with the game as opposed to being (subject to) unsolicited search.”

Hill, 41, said Major League Baseball and the players union need to come up with a better way to facilitate the more enhanced enforcement of the rules barring illegal substances than have the umpires checking pitchers’ gloves, hats and belts as they walk on or off the mound.

“The umpires, they’re in a really tough position,” Hill said. “They didn’t sign up for this. We’ve got to continue to keep the dialogue open. They didn’t sign up to be monitors. They signed up to be umpires, and I think that’s one thing that everybody can agree on. ...

“I think we need to continue to push forward as the (players association) and MLB and work together as far as coming up with a better solution.”

Hill experienced the new procedures Wednesday pitching against the Red Sox in the Rays’ 8-2 win. Hill brought the subject up unsolicited at the end of his post-game media session, saying he didn’t like the experience or process but didn’t blame the umpires.

Asked if he found the process untoward or awkward, Hill said, “I think everybody does.

“I think everybody finds it, if you want to call the fact dehumanizing. I think that’s one thing when you get searched in front of tens of thousands of fans. And it’s not the umpire, this isn’t on the umpire. this is being implemented by MLB.”

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