MLB to institute 8-10 random checks/game for foreign substances

YTF

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I had a conversation with a co-worker a couple of days ago about a point that Alonso brought up. MLB tinkers with the baseballs. The seams are raised, the the ball is wound differently, horsehide vs cow hide, the placement of "the pill", etc.... I think it's a very different argument from the one being had here, but players aren't the only ones trying to manipulate the ball in an ever evolving fashion for a desired outcome.
 

jon abbey

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Have the spin rates for Cole's start last night been released? Curious what they look like compared to the rest of the season.
Amusingly he had the highest average velocity on his 4-seam for any game in his career, 98.2. Spin rates look pretty unchanged, they can vary somewhat start to start under normal circumstances.

 

BaseballJones

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Because they're still missing games and hurting the team. That should be enough motivation. Cole missing two starts for the Yankees would be a pretty big deal.
 

soxhop411

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What exactly is the point if its with pay?

Major League Baseball is expected to announce Tuesday it will suspend players caught with any foreign substance for 10 days with pay...

https://www.espn.com/mlb/story/_/id/31633611/mlb-players-caught-foreign-substance-face-10-day-suspension-sources-say
The league is expected to distribute a memo to teams -- which have been briefed on the broad strokes of the policy change -- that outlines its plans to penalize all players caught by umpires with any foreign substance on their person, from the widely used sunscreen-and-rosin combination to Spider Tack, an industrial glue that has become a favorite among pitchers who want to generate more spin on the ball.
I cant wait to see batters step to the plate against a sweaty pitcher who will now be forced to throw a 100+MPH projectile, without the use of ANY substance.


We may need bigger helmets
 

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I cant wait to see batters step to the plate against a sweaty pitcher who will now be forced to throw a 100+MPH projectile, without the use of ANY substance.


We may need bigger helmets
Strikeouts AND hit by pitches are up 20-30% over the last 10 years. Super sticky stuff is not keeping hitters safe.

Screenshot_20210614-235526.jpg
 

jon abbey

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Because they're still missing games and hurting the team. That should be enough motivation. Cole missing two starts for the Yankees would be a pretty big deal.
10 days I guess would essentially be missing just 1 start for a SP, you pitch the day before the suspension and the day after it and just miss the start in the middle.
 

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The fired Angels' clubhouse attendant, who supplied many pitchers across the league for years, and is suing the team has named names. Backed up by text messages with confirmed numbers of players:

https://www.si.com/.amp/mlb/2021/06/14/sticky-stuff-bubba-harkins-speaking-out-daily-cover?__twitter_impression=true

His point is that 90+% pitchers were using it and everyone was aware, so why is he the only one that's most his job over it?
Solid work by the clubhouse attendant. Sued the MLB and the Angels for defamation (lol), lost, and then was ordered to pay $35k legal fees to MLB and the Angels.

This article doesn't tell us anything new. We know the use of sticky substances became increasingly prevalent over the past few years to the point where the vast majority of pitchers were using some substance for added grip. We watched spin rates plummet immediately after MLB announced it would enforce the rule and we know which pitchers were using sticky substances because we have spin rate data on an individual pitcher level. This guy must be pissed all of this information came out before he could write his book.

I'm not sure he really wants a public answer to "why was I the only one fired for this?" Maybe because they wanted to fire him with cause for some reason and this option presented itself. Supplying aid to pitchers on other teams is my best first guess but it could be anything.
 
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Hyde Park Factor

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He's this generation's Brian McNamee, best as I can tell.

I don't understand why a big name pitcher would leave such an obvious trail connecting themselves to this guy. It's not as if it was some super secret recipe that couldn't be duplicated.
 

YTF

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He's this generation's Brian McNamee, best as I can tell.

I don't understand why a big name pitcher would leave such an obvious trail connecting themselves to this guy. It's not as if it was some super secret recipe that couldn't be duplicated.
I think the short answer might be that it wasn't seen as a big deal. It was known and it was accepted by a large percentage of the players and MLB didn't care until they were put in a position of needing to care.
 

YTF

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I'm not sure he really wants a public answer to "why was I the only one fired for this?" Maybe because they wanted to fire him with cause for some reason and this option presented itself. Supplying aid to pitchers on other teams is my best first guess but it could be anything.
Let's also remember that Angel's pitcher Tyler Skaggs died from fentanyl laced opioids that are reported to have been supplied by an Angels employee the previous year. I don't think the Angels were in any position to look the other way here as there was a certain taint on the organization at that time and they probably felt the need to be proactive in this case.
 

Van Everyman

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Memo is out, D-Day is 6/21. Rosin bags are allowed. Major and minor league umps can check regardless of whether the other team makes a request.

Enforcement of the new foreign substance rule will begin on June 21. Under the plan, any pitcher who "possesses or applies" sticky substances will be ejected from the game and automatically suspended in accordance with past discipline. Repeat offenders will be subject to "progressive discipline," and clubs can also be disciplined for failing to follow the rules.



MLB said in the memo that "pitchers who use these substances (have) an unfair competitive advantage over hitters and pitchers who do not use foreign substances, and results in less action on the field. In addition, the foreign substance use appears to contribute to a style of pitching in which pitchers sacrifice location in favor of spin and velocity, particularly with respect to elevated fastballs."
https://theathletic.com/news/mlb-reveals-new-plan-to-crack-down-on-pitchers-using-foreign-substances/Se53nqg0buD1
 

Van Everyman

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Adding:

As a father of two girls that play fast pitch softball, I think this is a good thing. Compared to the WCWS, which was action packed from start to finish, the pace of the MLB game is turgid right now and it is a tough product to watch.

Does anyone know if Theo Epstein has been involved in the league’s handling of this issue? I know everyone loves to crap on Rob Manfred and I get why but it seems to me that they’re not making the same mistake Selig did by letting things get out of hand. Proof will be in the pudding of course.
 

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10 days I guess would essentially be missing just 1 start for a SP, you pitch the day before the suspension and the day after it and just miss the start in the middle.
If I'm not mistaken, they are not allowed to replace that spot on the roster. If this is the case, it does alter strategies.
 

sodenj5

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Looking forward to the burst in offense and MLB’s subsequent tinkering with the ball in the offseason.

Baseball needs to figure out what they want their end product to be. The NFL figured it out a while ago. They want scoring. They want TDs. They want passing over running. They altered the rules to facilitate this. The rules are offensively biased. Scoring went up. Passing records fell. The league has boomed in popularity since.

Baseball is in a state of purgatory trying to find the balance between hitting and pitching.
 

YTF

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Adding:

As a father of two girls that play fast pitch softball, I think this is a good thing. Compared to the WCWS, which was action packed from start to finish, the pace of the MLB game is turgid right now and it is a tough product to watch.

Does anyone know if Theo Epstein has been involved in the league’s handling of this issue? I know everyone loves to crap on Rob Manfred and I get why but it seems to me that they’re not making the same mistake Selig did by letting things get out of hand. Proof will be in the pudding of course.
But, haven't they? I mean it's gotten to the point that it is now and while this has been going on to some extent forever, Manfred's been at the MLB helm for 6 years now. There is plenty of blame to go around here, but this whole "scandal" (I use that phrase lightly) has come to a head on Manfred's watch. He was just as aware of this as his predecessor was of PEDs during his tenure. FWIW if grip is a real concern for pitchers and hitters alike, I think MLB would be well served to include the MLBPA in finding a solution that all sides can live with and enforce that solution.
 

BaseballJones

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I don't understand why pitchers need this stuff for control. I mean, obviously they can get more action on the ball with it, or else they wouldn't use it.

But here are some bb/9 rates over the years in the AL (these are league averages for the entire season):

1975: 3.5, no data on strike %
1990: 3.4, 61.7% strikes
2005: 3.0, 63.5% strikes
2021: 3.3, 63.9% strikes

I mean, pitchers are displaying basically the same degree of control as they have over the past 45 years. Just allow rosin, and that's that.
 

DJnVa

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I don't understand why pitchers need this stuff for control. I mean, obviously they can get more action on the ball with it, or else they wouldn't use it.

But here are some bb/9 rates over the years in the AL (these are league averages for the entire season):

1975: 3.5, no data on strike %
1990: 3.4, 61.7% strikes
2005: 3.0, 63.5% strikes
2021: 3.3, 63.9% strikes

I mean, pitchers are displaying basically the same degree of control as they have over the past 45 years. Just allow rosin, and that's that.
Without controlling for things like the differences in the ball, etc. I am not sure what just looking at the rates shows us.

I find it funny that these days any time the ball touches the ground, it's removed from the game. Meanwhile, growing up we'd play with the same 5 balls all summer until someone lost them down the sewer.
 

reggiecleveland

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I mean, pitchers are displaying basically the same degree of control as they have over the past 45 years. Just allow rosin, and that's that.
Control and command are two different things./ Buck Martinez

Also pitchers have added more than 2 strikeouts per game over that period. So to strike out about 30% more batters while walking , actually fewer batters is a pretty good improvement. Add that since the early 2000s teams are paying for OB% batters are encouraged to walk. You started with 1975 where Lou Brock was the leadoff hitter in the all star game and considered best leadoff guy, maybe ever while walking 38 times all year. That walks have dropped, while batter walks have become more valuable speaks to pitchers having better control. When the ball has not been put in play has skewed in favor of the pitchers.
 

BaseballJones

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They’re striking more guys out because (1) hitters are swinging for the fences all the time even with two strikes, (2) pitchers all seem to throw 95+ now, and (3) they let the pitchers just rip it, knowing they’re throwing fewer innings, and then comes the train of relievers all throwing 97.

The control seems to be not a whole lot different than it’s always been.
 

RedOctober3829

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I think this whole situation is stupid. To a point, I have no problem with pitchers using substances to get a better grip on the ball. If you’re going to change the rules(or have any rules for that matter) do it in the offseason when pitchers can adjust to it.
 

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MLB said they were going to crack down on this in the off-season, and pitchers across the league collectively ignored them. So MLB started collecting balls and building a detailed case on what was going on while offense plummeted. So now MLB follows the data and explains exactly what they’re going to do, but they shouldn’t do anything now just because it’s the middle of the season? That’s stupid, everyone was warned in the off-season and they had time to adjust.

MLB certainly bears a great deal of the blame for letting this situation build over years of ignoring it, but I think they’ve done a good job of addressing the situation and coming up with a rational plan to deal with it.
 

cannonball 1729

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What exactly is the point if its with pay?

Major League Baseball is expected to announce Tuesday it will suspend players caught with any foreign substance for 10 days with pay...

https://www.espn.com/mlb/story/_/id/31633611/mlb-players-caught-foreign-substance-face-10-day-suspension-sources-say
Nothing else MLB can do. A suspension without pay would have to be approved by the players' union, and the union isn't exactly in an agreeable mood when it comes to Mr. Manfred.
 

jon abbey

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Do pitchers need excuses for arm injuries?
I feel like again probably more of this is on MLB than we maybe assume. If we lived in a world where 30 multibillion companies could magically band together and figure out how to make uniform baseballs year to year, maybe more pitchers would stay healthy.
 

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I feel like again probably more of this is on MLB than we maybe assume. If we lived in a world where 30 multibillion companies could magically band together and figure out how to make uniform baseballs year to year, maybe more pitchers would stay healthy.
It's a lot simpler than needing 30 multibillion companies. The main baseball companies just give MLB what they want. If they want them uniform year to year, then that's what theyd get
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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I found this fascinating and informative. Pedro suggesting that rosin alone (and using the seams) should be enough for pitchers to get an effective grip. Of course, he's a bit of a freak so maybe his experience isn't universal. Per the story about the Angels clubhouse guy, his "stuff" goes back to Pedro's era so it's not like the balls now are significantly more slippery than they were during his career. Pitchers were still trying to get better grip then. They're just taking it too far now.

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SQesez-5J_A
 

JCizzle

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Did they? My understanding is that they explicitly said that they weren't going to take any punitive action this season and were just going to gather data/study the issue.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/2021/03/24/mlb-foreign-substances-baseball-pitchers-crackdown/

As part of those duties, monitors will also collect balls suspected of being tainted and send them to the commissioner’s office for testing by a third-party lab. Players will be subject to discipline for violations identified by umpires during games and for violations discovered through these processes.
That's from March. I think it's silly that MLB let it get to the point where these guys are using a product meant for bricks to enhance their spin rates, but they did try to gently nudge players away from it this offseason. By most accounts, no pitchers took it seriously and I think that's on them. Now MLB needs actual teeth to enforce this stuff since nobody took the early warnings seriously.
 

OurF'ingCity

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"I stopped cheating and all I got was this lousy t-shirt. (And an arm injury.)"

It's incredibly weak.
Yeah, I don't really see how this is much different from someone saying "I would have recovered faster from my injury if I had been allowed to use steroids/HGH/whatever." It may be true, but it's kind of beside the point.