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

Madmartigan

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Why don’t they just make rosin a little tackier? Tweak the composition of it the way they’ve done with the ball over time.
 

joe dokes

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A better approach would be to understand rosin isn’t enough at these pitch velocities and to standardize a grip enhancer. I understand it’s hard to enforce.

we are going to see some double digit games. My sense is it favors a team like the Sox who are a good hitting club. But man are we going to cycle through some pitchers.
"Standardized grip enhancer" is the best I've heard yet. Much as every MLB umpire room is outfitted with the same type of mud to rub up the balls before games. (Do they still do that?).




Or the way the NFL monitors footballs to make sure they're properly inflated. [/ducking]
 

Gdiguy

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I don't think the "this rule change is designed to prevent cheating" is really the right paradigm in which to view this change. I think instead the proper understanding is "we are making it a bit harder on pitchers to strike people out by enforcing a rule that wasn't previously enforced, because strikeouts and low levels of offense were getting out of control."

So for the pitchers complaining that their jobs are now harder - yes, that's precisely the point. And in terms of the suggestions that this will cause more injuries, as noted I don't really see that as a valid reason not to make the change. I do kind of agree with those asking why the change had to occur in the middle of the year, though - pitchers now are basically going to need to adjust their pitching approach on the fly, which is probably going to result in some weird games and performances in the short term.
Agreed

I think it's pretty clear MLB didn't want to deal with this mid-season either; but with the strikeout rates (and batting averages) getting out of control and some pitchers being stupidly obvious about it, on top of which they're already having to try ridiculous things like moving the mound in the minors, if simply 'enforce the no-cheating rule' solves the problem I kind of understand why they felt they couldn't wait

The only thing I think they could've done differently would be to make the initial notice a bit less public, because the one thing I don't really love is this cottage industry of 'let's compare pitcher X's spin rates in 3 starts before & after X date'. But that would've happened if they did it in an offseason as well
 

JCizzle

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Agreed

I think it's pretty clear MLB didn't want to deal with this mid-season either; but with the strikeout rates (and batting averages) getting out of control and some pitchers being stupidly obvious about it, on top of which they're already having to try ridiculous things like moving the mound in the minors, if simply 'enforce the no-cheating rule' solves the problem I kind of understand why they felt they couldn't wait

The only thing I think they could've done differently would be to make the initial notice a bit less public, because the one thing I don't really love is this cottage industry of 'let's compare pitcher X's spin rates in 3 starts before & after X date'. But that would've happened if they did it in an offseason as well
I mean, they did try the less public approach in March. Pitchers basically gave them the finger and ignored it. Pitchers had plenty of time and warning to adjust - didn’t - and are now crying about it.
 

jtn46

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Agreed on 2022. Or at least this past offseason.

But the counter to your argument is to de-juice the ball or call the entire strike zone.

Rosin has worked for generations of ball players. No reason why it wouldn’t work now except that pitchers are so used to the “extra” stuff that bow to them rosin seems useless. Well...adjust to it.
I don’t think that’s true. I think pitchers have done something basically all along, Cole talked about how methods have been passed down by older pitchers, but because MLB didn’t enforce it there wasn’t a need to campaign to make an extra thing legal. Spider tack should be illegal of course, but this rule is attacking sunscreen and other less aggressive methods and with an offseason maybe there could have been a compromise made.
 

DJnVa

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They were given an inch and they took a mile. It's as simple as that.
 

CoffeeNerdness

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Actually, no. Pitchers have stashed the stuff on their caps, belt buckles, etc. for years. Then-Yankee, Michael Pineda put a too-visible swath of it on his neck in a game against the Red Sox and got himself ejected for it.
Sorry, I should have added an /s because I was pointing out the irony of pine tar being a-ok for batters, but it's against the rules for pitchers to increase grip.
 

EvilEmpire

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Rosin has worked for generations of ball players. No reason why it wouldn’t work now except that pitchers are so used to the “extra” stuff that bow to them rosin seems useless. Well...adjust to it.
It's not like pitchers didn't load up or alter the ball in different ways to get a competitive advantage in previous generations.

I think stronger enforcement of the rules is long overdue, but I think MLB made a mistake in not instituting the penalty before the current season started or waiting until the next off season. I'd also like to see them quit fucking around with the baseball unless it is to do it one more time to make them more naturally tacky like Japan's standardized balls.
 

BaseballJones

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It's not like pitchers didn't load up or alter the ball in different ways to get a competitive advantage in previous generations.
Of course. People have always tried to cheat. Do you think Pedro was lying when he said that rosin worked really well?

I think stronger enforcement of the rules is long overdue, but I think MLB made a mistake in not instituting the penalty before the current season started or waiting until the next off season. I'd also like to see them quit fucking around with the baseball unless it is to do it one more time to make them more naturally tacky like Japan's standardized balls.
Agreed.
 

geoduck no quahog

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Sawamura says the Japanese and Korean baseballs made by Mizuno aren't slick like MLB balls and don't require any substances to get a grip.
https://www.bostonglobe.com/2021/06/23/sports/hirokazu-sawamura-has-simple-solution-mlbs-sticky-situation-better-baseball/
I wonder why the Mizuno balls aren't being tried at a lower minor league level this year, or in an independent league? Is it because MLB owns Rawlings?
No reason to use Mizuno. Rawlings should be able to engineer a tacky baseball to MLB criteria. MLB is just behind on this stuff and that quote saying that hitters didn't like it is stupid.
 

ehaz

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Is there any problem if MLB just allows pitchers to use pine tar? No spider tack or any of that shit. Even if there is a slight increase in spin rate across the board, at least it’s a consistent substance that’s already used by hitters.
 

nvalvo

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Is there any problem if MLB just allows pitchers to use pine tar? No spider tack or any of that shit. Even if there is a slight increase in spin rate across the board, at least it’s a consistent substance that’s already used by hitters.
I think the problem with this is that it's hard to tell on the field what a given sticky patch on a belt or a hat brim might actually be.
 

dynomite

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Is there any problem if MLB just allows pitchers to use pine tar? No spider tack or any of that shit. Even if there is a slight increase in spin rate across the board, at least it’s a consistent substance that’s already used by hitters.
Just about every former and current player they've interviewed -- Remy and Eck included, I believe -- has consistently said they have no problem with pine tar, sunscreen, and rosin. As mentioned earlier in the thread, most of them claim that's because those substances are about grip on the baseball, whereas the new era of Spider Tack and its ilk is about spin on the ball. Not sure how accurate this is. Some of it may just be because -- like many things in baseball, including stealing signs from 2nd base, if it was done "back in the day" players are okay with it.

Here's longtime RP Peter Moylan (Braves, Dodgers, Royals, etc.) talking about it, the whole video is pretty interesting. He says he completely believes Glasnow's suggestion that he got hurt because of changing his grip and gripping the ball harder, and says he did something similar:

 

Section30

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The Scherzer video above shows how managers can harass and try to get into the heads of opposing pitchers using this rule as a club. I can see a pitcher having great 1-2-3 inning and leave the field feeling good about his touch then suddenly being stood up by an umpire in front of fans to check him for cheating.

I can see some real resentment and anger on the part of pitchers leading to deliberate HBP and other confrontational situations. I mean you are repeatedly showing up the player in front of the fans.
 

Cesar Crespo

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The Scherzer video above shows how managers can harass and try to get into the heads of opposing pitchers using this rule as a club. I can see a pitcher having great 1-2-3 inning and leave the field feeling good about his touch then suddenly being stood up by an umpire in front of fans to check him for cheating.

I can see some real resentment and anger on the part of pitchers leading to deliberate HBP and other confrontational situations. I mean you are repeatedly showing up the player in front of the fans.
That's why you leave it up to the umpires to do the checks. Maybe do the checks in the dug out too, rather than in front of all the fans.

Of course that means the umpires would have to actually do their jobs and make sure they are doing "routine random" checks.

And if it's blatantly obvious like Pineda, a manager can point it out.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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From what I can tell, he's not being suspended for using an illegal substance. He's being suspended because there was rosin on his glove, which is not legal. I think that's how the umps are able to make the call on this one without need of lab analysis on the substance. The composition of the substance is irrelevant to the violation.
 

jon abbey

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Curious as to the sample sizes ^^^
Dunno, but the underlying point is that much like Schwarber and Gary Sanchez, he has been crushing since MLB announced plans for a serious crackdown, and this is just some numbers behind Gallo specifically.
 

Tangled Up In Red

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Dunno, but the underlying point is that much like Schwarber and Gary Sanchez, he has been crushing since MLB announced plans for a serious crackdown, and this is just some numbers behind Gallo specifically.
Right. And as mentioned in the Sox are Good thread, hopefully a boon for someone like Franchy, too.
 

Section30

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This article talks to Jim Leyland who had this to say on the new substance rules,

"“I’m a big Joe Girardi fan, but I didn’t think it was necessary for him to have the umpires check Scherzer again,” Leyland said. “If you’re going to put it on the umpires, put it on the umpires. If they think there’s a reason to check a guy more than what they’re doing, then that’s fine. I just think there are too many games that could be played. We talk about the pace of the game. Now, we’re going to walk out to the mound and check a guy in the middle of a game and hold the game up? The managers are going to request that? I think that’s kind of ridiculous. Let’s not make it a bigger deal than it is. I think that was a little over the top.”

more from Leyland here. https://www.post-gazette.com/sports/ron-cook/2021/06/29/Jim-Leyland-MLB-pitchers-pine-tar-spider-tack-Hector-Santiago-Joe-Girardi-Rob-Manfred-Ron-Cook-Post-Gazette-columns/stories/202106290053

Mariners and Santiago have now floated posibility of a grievance filing after umpires refused to allow Santiago to use his backup glove claiming it was grey, not black. It's the same glove he has used since 2016. The Mariners now think Santiago is being targeted by the umpires.
 

jon abbey

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I was thinking about this the other day, and there is so so much to criticize about the way that baseball is run currently, but this ended up being handled quite nicely. It had the impact they wanted, the balance between pitchers/hitters seems to have swung back a bit to hitters but not too much, and no one was really adversely affected (except maybe Tyler Glasnow, but he really did have months and months of warning it was going to potentially happen).
 

VORP Speed

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I was thinking about this the other day, and there is so so much to criticize about the way that baseball is run currently, but this ended up being handled quite nicely. It had the impact they wanted, the balance between pitchers/hitters seems to have swung back a bit to hitters but not too much, and no one was really adversely affected (except maybe Tyler Glasnow, but he really did have months and months of warning it was going to potentially happen).
Glasnow's elbow was a ticking bomb.
 

Van Everyman

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Cole certainly didn’t seem like the same guy in the play-in game. Maybe he’ll have better luck in his sophomore year with the Yankees.

I wonder if the decline in SP usage in the postseason has anything to do with reduced effectiveness in the wake of these spot checks.
 

jon abbey

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Gardner had a .507 OPS through early June, he contributed some late in the year but was dreadful for most of it. Cole had some issues immediately after the crackdown but figured it out and was great again before hurting his hamstring and struggling down the stretch.

My take: Gardner is a ‘prankster’ who isn’t very funny and not a very good player anymore, which makes him an annoying asshole. Phil Nevin leaked this non-story on his way out, fuck him and fuck Gardner.
 

Kliq

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Gardner had a .507 OPS through early June, he contributed some late in the year but was dreadful for most of it. Cole had some issues immediately after the crackdown but figured it out and was great again before hurting his hamstring and struggling down the stretch.

My take: Gardner is a ‘prankster’ who isn’t very funny and not a very good player anymore, which makes him an annoying asshole. Phil Nevin leaked this non-story on his way out, fuck him and fuck Gardner.
You have to understand Jon, Gardner was on the 2009 team and definitely is the only person in the clubhouse who understands how to win.
 

jon abbey

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Why would Phil Nevin leak this story? Clubhouse issues always make the manager look bad. Nevin and Boone are BFF.
Nevin got fired and Boone didn’t, maybe not so tight anymore. Also this story only makes Gardner and Klapisch look bad, not Boone or Cole.
 

EvilEmpire

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If a poorly received joke was the biggest friction point for the team this season, I'm feeling pretty good about the clubhouse.
 

joe dokes

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Nevin got fired and Boone didn’t, maybe not so tight anymore. Also this story only makes Gardner and Klapisch look bad, not Boone or Cole.
Actually, I thought it made Cole look worse than Gardner, whom I had not pictured as a "clubhouse levity" kind of guy. (But the 2009 experience point was silly.)