Major League Baseball (MLB) is taking a tough stance on the use of foreign substances by pitchers. After reports of widespread use of sticky substances by pitchers to generate spin on the ball, the league will ramp up its enforcement of rules prohibiting foreign substances on baseballs. MLB Commissioner, Rob Manfred, announced that the league will implement enhanced enforcement protocols beginning in the 2023 season.
The use of foreign substances like pine tar or sunscreen by pitchers to gain an advantage on the mound is not a new phenomenon. However, recent reports suggest the use of sticky-stuff has reached endemic proportions with various players deploying creative methods like mixing up their own concoctions at home. There have been high-profile incidents of pitchers getting caught using sticky substances on the ball during the game, such as the story of Washington Nationals’ closer, Kyle Finnegan, who had a glob of pine tar illegally attached to his glove. As a result, the MLB has decided to step up its enforcement mechanisms.
MLB’s new protocols will involve multiple on-field checks per game for pitchers, including randomized checks for pitchers independent of any complaints or suspicion from opposing teams. The checks will be done by the umpires discreetly, and with the caution of not making it appear that a specific pitcher is being targeted. Additionally, MLB is also establishing strict consequences for violators of this rule, including 10-game suspensions for pitchers caught applying any foreign substance to baseballs in-game.
The ramifications of the league’s sticky-stuff policy are potentially enormous. Under the league’s new protocols, pitchers will lose a key element of their arsenal, which might significantly impact the game’s outcome. While it might level the playing field for hitters who have long complained about how difficult it is to hit off pitchers benefiting from sticky substances.
In conclusion, MLB’s decision to increase its enforcement efforts regarding the use of sticky substances by pitchers is a welcome one. The comprehensive sticky-stuff policy will go a long way in ensuring the integrity and fairness of the game. Furthermore, the rule and its enforcement should increase the offensive amount of play, making it more thrilling for fans. As always here’s hoping, that the players abide by the rules and that we can look forward to rule-abiding baseball in the future.