No, Pitchers Using Foreign Substances to Improve Their “Grip” is NOT OK.

I know that we’ve all heard a ton about many MLB pitchers improving their “spin rate” over the last few seasons, and there has been a very loud whisper campaign that it’s being done by using foreign substances like pine tar, sticky tack, or sunscreen mixed with rosin. Major League Baseball even became so “concerned” about this issue that they took the position that they would examine selected baseballs from numerous pitchers and then yadda, yadda, yadda, baseball would magically be awesome again.

Well, it’s not so much a whisper campaign anymore, as evidenced by this great article from The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal and Brittany Ghiroli. Since MLB batters are performing at a historically bad rate with strikeouts reaching 24% of all plate appearances and more strikeouts by batters in a month than hits for the first time in MLB history, this issue has raced into the headlines. But, it appears that MLB is unwilling to address the issue head on, choosing examination and study of the issue over the fairly obvious remedy of enforcing the rules that prohibit foreign substances from being applied to the ball.

With all of the handwringing about woeful offensive output so far in 2021, this would seem to be a pretty easy fix to at least give batters a chance to hit the ball and put it in play. Unfortunately, there is little incentive for owners and the corporate MLB types to do much of anything as long as the money train keeps on chugging. Cheating – and this is exactly what doctoring the ball is – stinks and it’s plain wrong. MLB should remember the bad press from the steroid scandal and put an end to this practice now.

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