Now Reading
Pitchers need some sticky stuff

Pitchers need some sticky stuff

by Alec BusseJune 17, 2021

With Major League Baseball finally deciding to quit acting blind the blatant cheating from pitchers for the longest time they are now doing something that should have been years ago. 

On Tuesday, the league sent a memo to teams saying that any players caught aiding in the pitcher having a foreign substance on the baseball would be suspended for 10-games. 

What Major League Baseball is really doing now is making pitchers across the sport adjust to something given little time to prepare for it, and now pitchers are facing the possibility of being punished for something without much of a window to adjust. How does baseball fix this moving forward? 

Allow some sort of league permitted substance

For decades, pitchers have combined rosin and sunscreen to create a pasty kind of mixture that allows them to grip the baseball better, but under the new rules MLB is bringing into play pitchers aren’t able to do something that has been done for as long as on-field personnel can remember. 

Another solution is allowing pitchers to have a pine tar rag on the back of the mound, so they can get a little extra grip on their fingertips. This isn’t a perfect solution to the situation, as it’s well known that pine tar has the ability to increase spin rates, but pine tar has minimal connection to spin rates compared to Spider Tack or other home made substances that pitchers have been applying to baseballs. 

The other thing is that many position players have said that they have a fear of pitchers losing command of their pitches and getting hit more often. However, this thought process is slightly flawed when looking at numbers. Since, 2018 more hitters have been hit on average when compared to previous season. 

There are a couple of possible explanations to this, including that pitchers who have been putting sticky substances on baseballs feel they have the ability to throw more pitches at max effort with less focus on control. This could potentially lead to greater numbers of players getting hit by pitches. 

Still, getting pitchers to quit using substances that make their spin rates skyrocket 300-500 rpm is a good thing, but Major League Baseball might have taken it one step too far not allowing pitchers to put anything on baseballs for extra grip. 

Develop a tacky, consistent baseball

Somehow in 2021 there are problems with consistently producing a baseball with the same consistency from ball to ball. 

We have the technology to create a computer that can fit in our hands, but we don’t know how to make baseballs look, feel and fly the same way? That math doesn’t really add up. 

Major League Baseball introduced a new baseball this year that was designed to fly farther than it had in previous seasons, but in fact the ball is going shorter. How does your offseason research and implementation of a new baseball fall completely on its face? 

What MLB needs to now put a considerable amount of energy into is the development of a baseball that has a natural tackiness to it, so pitchers don’t have a reason to apply any foreign substances to the ball. 

This is something that should be in conjunction with a lot of pitchers, starting as soon as possible. If MLB is able to determine a substance that can be applied to the ball to help pitchers, but not too much, before the start of 2022 this entire problem could be behind us. 

The longer MLB umpires continue to apply special mud from the New Jersey side of the Delaware River and think that is enough for pitchers the longer we are going to be on this train of never ending problems as simple as baseball. 

Major League Baseball has a long history of players cheating, maybe this time they will finally learn from their mistakes and work closer with the player’s union to develop a compromise agreement between both parties that can put yet another chapter of cheating in America’s Pastime to sleep — for good. 

What's your reaction?
Love It
Hate It
About The Author
Alec Busse
Alec Busse is a journalism student at the University of Illinois with a minor in public relations entering his senior year. Alec covers Illinois football and men's basketball for Orange and Blue News, is a game picker for Tallysight and co-hosts the Inside the Arc Podcast. Alec is from O'Fallon, IL, a suburb of St. Louis and grew up cheering for the St. Louis Cardinals and Blues, Chicago Bears and Illinois Fighting Illini.