The Los Angeles Angels fired long-tenured visiting clubhouse attendant Brian “Bubba” Harkins on Thursday for supplying illegal substances to visiting pitchers at Angels Stadium, according to the OC Register.
The firing was first reported by the LA Times, but the OC Register adds damaging detail to the original report that Harkins “furnished illegal substances to put on baseballs.” Harkins used his position in the visiting clubhouse to provide opposing pitchers with illegal substances to doctor baseballs. This is a shocking revelation about a team employee who is an Anaheim native and has worked on-and-off with the organization since 1981.
With cheating and sign-stealing dominating the headlines around baseball this offseason, the Angels needed to act quickly once reports started to surface that Harkins was creating an uneven playing field. The fact that he was helping opposing pitchers turns the Angels into a victim.
Harkins, who goes by the nickname “Bubba,” has been a fixture in the Angels organization since he was a batboy for the team in 1981. He just completed his 30th season as visiting clubhouse manager and was honored as the “Visiting Clubhouse Manager of the Year” by MLB equipment managers in 2005.
Team president John Carpino confirmed the firing to the Los Angeles Times, but said, “I cannot get into any more details than that.”
Ironically, the Angels open the season in Houston as the Astros’ first opponent since the sign-stealing scandal became public. Whether the Astros know the pitches are coming or not anymore, at least the Angels now know opposing pitchers won’t have an edge on their hitters.
This is a developing story. Check back for more details as they become available.