The Los Angeles Angels on Thursday fired longtime team employee Bubba Harkins, allegedly for providing illegal substances that could be used to doctor baseballs, per a story from the Los Angeles Times.
The Angels confirmed the firing but did not share more details for legal reasons, according to The Los Angeles Times’ Maria Torres.
Harkins began with the team as a batboy in 1981 and has been a clubhouse attendant since 1986.
The timing and reason for the firing make some sense.
Though the use of foreign substances by pitchers is against the rules, the practice has become increasingly common and accepted throughout the game. Cincinnati Reds pitcher Trevor Bauer recently estimated that 70 percent of pitchers doctor the ball.
As part of their effort to clean up the game, MLB has decided to crack down on foreign substances and enforce Rule 6.02 this season.
Conspiracy theorists might believe that Harkins’ firing could be related to information that emanated from the grand jury investigation in the Tyler Skaggs case. However, MLB’s decision to enforce this rule seems to explain the timing and decision.
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