Batting average drops as players put glue on the balls for a better throw while the MLB takes a heavy hand
Major League Baseball pitchers must be checked both repeatedly and randomly by match umpires for any foreign matter, or “sticky things” they might use on their balls, according to plans to be implemented within the next two weeks.
MLB says umpires are allowed eight to 10 random checks per game.
The sudden urge to enforce the rule comes when pitchers in the game seem to illegally use baseballs to help with their grip and also increase spin on the ball.
The use of tacky substances essentially makes the balls less hit and has caused pitchers’ strikeout rates to rise to all-time highs, and batting averages to plummet. It makes for a boring game for fans.
Avid spectators of the sport believe that between 80 and 90 percent of pitchers use an illegal substance on baseball in some form.
Pitchers are illegally playing baseball, using “sticky things” to increase their grip and increase spin on the ball. Trevor Bauer, pictured, would be the spinniest pitcher in MLB for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Last year he said at least 70% of MLB pitchers were illegally gluing balls ballen
Major League pitchers have been tinkering with the ball for years looking for an advantage, occasionally breaking major league rules, but MLB promises a crackdown in weeks
Tire Clear Sticky Grip is believed to be used on bats ‘for the player who wants to improve their grip’ and is aimed at hitters but pitchers would use the substance on their balls
While pitchers are allowed to use rosin, a semi-transparent form of solid resin, on the ball to get some traction, it seems things have escalated.
Pitchers, teams and coaches have come up with their own concoctions to place on balls that can contain all sorts of chemicals, from pine tar to sunscreen.
Such substances are allowed for batters to hold their bats during a swing, but now pitchers use them as well.
The fabrics increase the rotational speed of the balls and make them less predictable for batters. So far, not a single pitcher has been caught in the act, although umpire Joe West confiscated the cap from Cardinals reliever Giovanny Gallegos last month due to suspicions that an illegal substance was used.
Trevor Bauer would be the spinniest pitcher in MLB for the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Last year, he said at least 70% of MLB pitchers were illegally gluing baseballs.
The Chicago White Sox broadcast highlighted Indian pitcher James Karinchak allegedly holding a sticky substance in his glove
The glue makes the ball spin up to 300rpm faster.
In 2019, Bauer’s average spin rate on his four-seam fastball was 2,358 rpm. It’s 2,835 rpm this season.
“If they’re serious about doing something about the rule that’s in the books, that’s all I wanted for four years,” Bauer said. The Players Tribune.
“It’s nice to see them finally catching up on something I’ve been talking to them about for four years. We’ll see what they do. Unfortunately, in MLB, often nothing is done until their hand is forced and it becomes a public issue.”
Hitters hit mosquitoes with soda straws, sports columnist Scott Ostler writes in the San Francisco Chronicle. “It’s not a disease, it’s an epidemic.”
A recent article by Illustrated Sports compared the foreign substance problems to the use of performance-enhancing drugs that have plagued the sport for the past ten years.
St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Giovanny Gallegos, right, had to change his cap during a game against the Chicago White Sox last month
Major League Baseball and the Players Association have been talking about the matter for weeks.
An owners meeting was held last week, according to ESPN where evidence was presented including baseballs, hats and gloves covered in various fabrics.
Plans were made during a conference call on Friday and a memo is likely to be sent next week to introduce new rules for foreign substances as early as June 14.
MLB hopes the crackdown will see such devices removed from the game throughout the league.
How the Enforcing such rules banning foreign substances will affect the game remains to be seen, but the lack of hitting in games is believed to be a direct result of using such sticky substances on balls.
Pitchers’ strikeout rates are at an all-time high and the batting average is at an all-time low. It is unclear how the ban on such foreign substances will affect the game