The Angels joined the list of MLB teams that have fired an employee for cheating.
The L.A. Times reported Thursday that the AL West club axed visiting clubhouse manager Brian Harkins for allegedly providing illegal substances for pitchers to put on the baseballs. The report did not specify whether he was helping Angels pitchers or opposing pitchers. Team officials confirmed the firing to the paper, but did not go into detail, citing legal reasons.
Harkins, whose nickname is Bubba, was a bat boy with the Angels in 1981 and rejoined the organization as a clubhouse manager in 1986. He was put in charge of the visiting team’s room in 1990 and won visiting clubhouse manager of the year, voted on by MLB equipment managers, in 2005.
Pitchers have been using foreign substances to doctor baseballs for a large part of baseball history — a practice that has become accepted because of how many are believed to be doing it. Reds pitcher Trevor Bauer told HBO’s “Real Sports” for a segment shown last month that he believes 70 percent of major league pitchers use a banned sticky substance on the ball. Bauer also suggested in 2018 that pitchers with the Astros were manipulating balls to increase spin rates.
MLB did make it a point recently to issue a reminder to teams the rules regarding doctoring baseballs and the possible discipline for violations. According to ESPN, the Angels were not believed to have been pressured by MLB to fire Harkins.
— with AP