Local Twins blogger Parker Hageman started a storm on social media when he tweeted a conspiracy theory about Twins pitcher Jose Berrios Sunday night.
Hageman said Berrios routinely touched the same part of the bill on his hat every time he got a new baseball from the umpire on Saturday. By tweeting what he did, he's ultimately suggesting the possibility of Berrios cheating by using an illegal substance to better grip the baseball and possibly enhance the movement of his pitches.
"I don’t care what he says," Berrios told the Pioneer Press when asked about Hageman's suggestion. "It’s sweat (mixed) with the dirt. I touch my hat. There’s sweat on my hand. I use the rosin bag and dirt."
Hageman described Berrios as touching the bill of his cap in a "weird way." Here's his video evidence.
Hageman then zoomed in and got some screen shots of what appears to be a dark spot on the bill in approximately the same place his fingers went when he adjusted his hat.
"Not saying he's doing anything," Hagement said. "It could just be a quirk."
Whatever the case is with Berrios, it's common knowledge that pitchers do everything they can to better grip the baseball. Just look at what ex-pitcher Randy Wolf told ESPN three years ago.
"When I was with the Brewers, there was a pitcher who came up to me one game and said, 'I can't feel the ball. I have no idea what happens when it leaves my hand,'" Wolf said. "So I told him to use a little sunscreen and rosin to give him a little bit of stickiness. He came back to me after that inning and said, 'Thank god. Now I know where the ball is going.' It didn't make his fastball or his curveball better. It's a very uncomfortable feeling when you're pitching and the ball is slipping out of your hand."
One way or another, Berrios shined in his 2017 debut. He tossed 7 2/3 innings and helped the Twins beat the Indians 4-1. He'll make his next start Thursday at Target Field against the Colorado Rockies.