MLB to crack down on pitchers after ‘sticky baseball’ scandal

St. Louis Cardinals

ST. LOUIS, Mo. – Major League Baseball is asking major and minor league umpires to step up enforcement of rules to stop “sticky baseballs.” The effort starts with games beginning June 21.

The stickiness applied to the baseball allows the pro-pitchers to easily spin a ball. More spin makes pitches harder to hit. Major League Baseball considers this an unfair advantage.

Any pitcher found with a foreign substance in violation of the rules will be ejected from the game and suspended. Repeat offenders and ther teams will be subject to even more disipline.

Umpires will be checking in with pitchers regardless of whether the opposing team’s manager makes a request. Major League Baseball says that the existing on-field enforcement process has not deterred violations.

“I understand there’s a history of foreign substances being used on the ball, but what we are seeing today is objectively far different, with much tackier substances being used more frequently than ever before. It has become clear that the use of foreign substance has generally morphed from trying to get a better grip on the ball into something else – an unfair competitive advantage that is creating a lack of action and an uneven playing field. This is not about any individual player or Club, or placing blame, it is about a collective shift that has changed the game and needs to be addressed. We have a responsibility to our fans and the generational talent competing on the field to eliminate these substances and improve the game,” states Commissioner of Baseball Robert D. Manfred, Jr.

Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright admitted to using a foreign substance in six or seven games during the 2019 MLB season during Monday night’s postgame news conference following his latest outing on the mound.

The admission confirms at least part of a Sports Illustrated report that names Wainwright and other pitchers who sought the help of Brian “Bubba” Harkins to provide them with sticky stuff to doctor baseballs.

Official Baseball Rule 3.01 states that “no player shall intentionally discolor or damage the ball by rubbing it with soil, rosin, paraffin, licorice, sand-paper, emery-paper or other foreign substance.” Rule 6.02(c) (“Pitching Prohibitions”) expands on Rule 3.01 by providing, among other things, that a pitcher may not “apply a foreign substance of any kind to the ball;” “deface the ball in any manner;” throw a shine ball, spit ball, mud ball, or emery ball; “have on his person, or in his possession, any foreign substance;” or “attach anything to his hand, any finger or either wrist (e.g., Band-Aid, tape, Super Glue, bracelet, etc.).”

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