It’s been less than a week since Major League Baseball made known that it will begin to crack down on the use of foreign substances by pitchers, and it’s possible we’ve already seen some tangible results among some of the game’s most prominent arms. Jorge Castillo of the Los Angeles Times pointed out that the spin rate on Trevor Bauer’s four-seamer in his most recent start for the Dodgers dropped by 223 rpm. Hitters around the league are monitoring such changes, as evidenced by Josh Donaldson wondering aloud when asked by Dan Hayes of The Athletic: “Is it a coincidence that Gerrit Cole’s spin rate numbers went down (Thursday) after four minor leaguers got suspended for 10 games?”
Yankee fans may bristle at seeing their ace called out, but Cole himself struggled to formulate an answer when plainly asked yesterday whether he’d used increasingly potent foreign substances — Spider Tack, in particular — to doctor the ball (Twitter link, with video, via Matthew Roberson of the New York Daily News).
“I don’t quite know how to answer that, to be honest,” Cole awkwardly replied after struggling for several seconds to formulate an answer for the yes-or-no prompt. “There are customs and practices that have been passed down from older players, from the last generation of players to this generation of players. I think there are some things that are certainly out of bounds in that regard, and I’ve stood pretty firm in terms of that, in terms of the communication between our peers and whatnot. Again, like I mentioned earlier, this is important to a lot of people that love the game, including the players in this room, including fans, including teams. So, if MLB wants to legislate more stuff, that’s a conversation that we can have, because ultimately we should all be pulling in the same direction on this.”
Cole didn’t directly address Donaldson’s implication, sidestepping the matter by stating that Donaldson is “entitled to his opinion and to voice his opinion” while attributing his drop in spin rate to poor mechanics in his most recent outing. Of note, the two will face each other in today’s game — a fact Donaldson was surely aware of when he made the comments in the first place. (Cole has struck Donaldson out in each of his first two plate appearances to this point).
Bauer similarly opted not to acknowledge whether he’d used such substances, via Castillo. The right-hander repeated multiple times that the only thing he’s sought since first seeking to bring the issue to light several years ago — before a pronounced uptick in his own spin rate — was for “everyone to compete on a fair playing field.”
“[I]f you’re going to enforce it, then enforce it,” Bauer said. “And if you’re not, then stop sweeping it under the rug, which is what [MLB has] done for four years now. … No one knows what the rules are right now, apparently, including MLB and the commissioner, so it’d be nice as players to know what rules we’re competing by and what rules are going to be enforced because, as everyone knows, a rule that’s written down that is never enforced is not a rule.”
It should be again pointed out that the substances in question track far beyond the historically accepted use of substances like rosin, sunscreen and even pine tar. Hitters generally haven’t minded pitchers using minor substances to improve their grip and gain better control of their pitches. Batters are regularly standing in against 95 to 102 mph fastballs in today’s game, after all; it stands to reason that they’d want pitchers to be able to grip the ball on humid days. But in the past couple weeks, we’ve seen several veteran hitters — Donaldson, Charlie Blackmon and Adam Duvall among them — express frustration with the level to which the use of foreign substances has progressed.
The spin-rate revolution has brought about much more potent substances as pitchers and, importantly, as MLB teams and front offices, have realized the manner in which greater spin creates greater efficacy on the mound. Readers who didn’t see last week’s exhaustive and excellent piece from Sports Illustrated’s Stephanie Apstein, wherein she writes that some teams have gone so far as to hire chemists whose responsibilities include (but are not limited to) developing proprietary substances for pitchers, should absolutely check out her column in its entirety. The Athletic’s Britt Ghiroli also penned a stellar exploration of the topic this week, writing within that some savvier teams have begun distributing tacky substances to pitchers at their lowest minor league levels, in order to avoid a sudden uptick in spin rate when they hit the Majors.
The vast spike in four-seam spin rate has undeniably been a contributing factor — albeit not the sole factor — in the leaguewide uptick in strikeouts and the general offensive malaise that has overtaken MLB so far in 2021. The league-average batting line in MLB right now is a historically feeble .237/.313/.396, and even when removing pitchers from the equation, that line only bumps up to .241/.317/.403. This year’s 23.5 percent strikeout rate among non-pitchers is an all-time record. Consider that even five years ago, the average MLB line was .259/.326/.425 with a 20.6 strikeout rate and that a decade ago, in 2011, the average hitter was contributing a .260/.331/.410 slash with a vastly smaller 18 percent punchout rate.
The lack of offense and the lack of in-game action has been an ongoing problem that commissioner Rob Manfred has repeatedly cited as an element of the game he’d like to improve. However, MLB has done essentially nothing to curb the increasing prevalence of foreign substances used by pitchers, instead focusing on other rule changes — e.g. batter minimums for relievers, runners on second in extra innings, limiting mound visits, etc. — while neglecting to enforce one that has long been in place but overlooked.
The advent of high-octane grip enhancers isn’t necessarily a new revelation. Eno Sarris has written several pieces on the matter over at The Athletic. Bauer famously conducted a single-inning “experiment” — hat tip to then-FanGraphs scribe Travis Sawchik — to boost his own spin rate for one frame back in 2018 after not-so-subtly calling out Cole, his former college teammate, for his huge spike in spin rate following a trade from Pittsburgh to Houston.
But there are quite likely other elements that have paired with the rising prevalence of Spider Tack, Pelican Grip and any number of other substances that have prompted hitters to begin speaking out. Major League Baseball ostensibly sought to correct the increasingly pitcher-friendly nature of the sport by changing the composition of the baseball itself in 2019. Manfred and league officials, of course, never admitted to such tactics, but myriad independent studies that were published at various outlets all revealed changes to the composition of the ball — at a time that just happened to coincide with MLB’s decision to take on oversight of the production from Rawlings.
Evidence of the 2019 changes to the ball were further felt at the Triple-A level, where an already explosive offensive environment, particularly in the Pacific Coast League, erupted to new heights when Triple-A games adopted the use of the same ball used at the MLB level. Home run records in 2019 were shattered; both the Twins and Yankees broke the all-time, single-season home run record for a team, with Minnesota’s “Bomba Squad” narrowly edging out the Bronx Bombers.
It was reported back in February that the league had informed teams it had now taken measures to swing the pendulum in the other direction, so to speak, altering the weight of the ball and the height of the seams in order to curb the rising number of home runs. Meanwhile, several clubs began storing baseballs in humidors prior to their games.
The extent to which those measures have impacted this year’s plague of offensive ineptitude can’t be known, but it’s hard to assume the dearth of offense is merely coincidental given those changes and the rising use of foreign substances. There have already been seven no-hitters this season — I’m choosing to count Madison Bumgarner’s seven-inning no-no; he recorded the maximum number of outs possible, and it’s not his fault the game was shortened to seven frames — and no-hit bids lasting into the fifth, sixth and seventh innings seem to happen multiple times per week.
It’s only natural for hitters to reach a breaking point on this issue. Their salaries are determined by their ability to perform at the plate, and rampant sidestepping of an unenforced rule can only go so far without pushback from those most negatively impacted. That said, it’s also worth pointing out that while everyone has turned a blind eye to this issue, teams themselves could begin paying the price.
Cole and Bauer are going to be the two most talked-about examples, which is somewhat unfair to them given the widespread adoption of this practice, but they’re also prominent data points in this issue for a reason. The Yankees paid Cole the largest contract ever given to a pitcher: nine years and $324MM. The Dodgers gave Bauer the highest single-season salary of any player in MLB history not only in 2021 but also in 2022. Would those same commitments have been made had MLB been actually enforcing its foreign substance rules years ago, rather than further convoluting the issue by tinkering with the baseball itself (and perhaps overcorrecting in 2021)?
Other teams have made weighty financial commitments to pitchers they’ll now have to honor for years to come, perhaps at a time when one of the largest factors behind their success is now something the league suddenly purports to be taking seriously for the first time under the current commissioner. Dylan Hernandez of the L.A. Times recently opined that the Dodgers may not be getting the pitcher they thought they were paying for with Bauer, although Bauer himself rightly pointed back to 2018 — when his spin rate was markedly lower and he dominated for the Indians — as a point in his favor. (That, in and of itself, would seem another tacit admission of his own dabbling in foreign substance use.)
But Bauer and Cole are only two pitchers, and if there is indeed a widespread reckoning for tacky substances on the horizon, other names are inevitably going to be thrust into the spotlight even if they were merely going along with an issue the league had indirectly told them it didn’t consider serious enough to police. ESPN’s Jeff Passan points out that the average four-seam spin rate in MLB has jumped by 79 rpm since 2015, while the average rpm for sliders, curveballs and cutters have increased by a measure of between 200 and 350 per pitch.
That average can be misleading, as well; MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes notes that Bauer’s 2,438 rpm average spin rate in 2018 (prior to his spike) ranked 11th at the time but would only rank 27th in 2021. (Similarly, Bauer’s 2322 rpm average four-seam fastball spin in 2018 ranked 24th, but that mark would come in just 61st this season). The more aggressive adopters of foreign substances have benefited at an increasingly disproportionate level.
Time will tell just how heavily MLB will enact its newfound enforcement of a long-standing rule. Some pitchers will likely cut the act right now, and while a dip in their spin rate may prove telling, they’ll merely be viewed as participants in a trend that had become pervasive throughout the league. Others yet may try to seek more creative methods to cover their use of substances, particularly if MLB’s disciplinary measures prove to be timid. For the time being, there are going to be a whole lot of eyes on tonight’s Donaldson/Cole matchup and probably a big uptick in traffic at Baseball Savant as the focus on spin rate soars to new heights.
Tell batters to stop using pine tar and maybe then talk about pitchers. This is a lot of media hype for an issue players don’t care about.
Not even close to comparable
Pine tar doesn’t give the batter an advantage. Pine tar helps them keep the bat from flying into the stands, it doesn’t speed up the bat or make it easier to barrel. The hitting equivalent would be a corked bat, and we all agree that that is bad.
i wouldnt say grip on the bat has no value to a hitter, it’s just comparatively much less.
Pine tar on the bat is legal. In a nutshell, night and day.
Is this guy serious?
First of all, pine tar is like the rosin bag… second, excess pine tar is illegal. It’s only allowed to go up so much onto the bat barrel… Anyone remember the George Brett freak out?
@steve Nah, corked bats don’t actually benefit batters at all. Mythbusters did that one.
dave frost nhlpa
It’s a rosin bag combined with sunscreen causes some of the sticky.
Yankee Steve you clearly never played baseball. Pine tar doesn’t give a hitter an advantage? Pine tar is a big benefit gripping a wooden bat. Arm guards also help.
Since you never played in your life and have no clue how many benefits hitters have in today’s game I cannot wait for your misguided but well-intended rebuttal.
Somebody tell this to George Brett
Why are so so obsessed with me, dude? You didn’t refute anything. You agreed. There’s no need for rebuttal.
Just curious, what’s your baseball resume?
Asking @Steve Nebraska
All these hitters cheating with pine tar on their bats and spikes on their shoes. Some of them are even wearing sunglasses when they go to bat. Shame!
Brett got his way. The rule wasn’t enforced after all.
That Mythbusters test was flawed. The theory, of the benefit for corking a bat, is that it was lighter so bat speed was greater.
Ted Williams believed bat speed was the greatest single factor in hitting, and he used a very light bat to achieve that. But the Mythbusters fired the ball at a fixed bat, and recorded the speed of the rebound. That didn’t address the result of a faster bat speed.
That the rebound was significantly less does suggest that the corked bat doesn’t actually benefit the hitter, but the test method makes it inconclusive IMO.
No, it wasn’t just Brett getting his way, or the rule not being enforced, He got the call correctly reversed, because the rule was improperly applied. If the Yankees wanted Brett’s bat declared illegal, they needed to do it before he hit the HR.
If Brett had made an out, they would not have challenged the extent of pine tar on the bat. The Yankees can’t have the option to see what will happen, and then challenge, or not, the legality of the pine tar on the bat after the fact.
It’s like a pitcher with a lot of chains, and stuff around his neck. The batter can ask that everything be either removed, or hidden inside the uni. But the batter can’t make an out and then say he should be awarded a base since the out was caused because he was distracted by the jewelry. He has to do that before. No one gets the gets the option after seeing an outcome..
Newsflash!!!!!! Cheating has been a part of MLB for well over 150 years. It is funny that back in 2019 everyone was going nuts about the amount of HR’s that were being hit now two years later and everyone is crying about the pitchers using substances to enhance their pitches. You can’t have it both ways. Manford is by far the most useless commish in sports and has let all this get out of control. Players will always find a way to get around the rules so the cheating will continue.
In regard to corked bats, I believe it has more to do with something called coefficient of restitution: the trampoline effect. Think single wall composite bats versus double wall composite bats.
Although in the case of hollowing out a wooden bat and packing it with super balls, I’m not sure it would have the same effect since the wood would probably bec
what rule wasn’t enforced? You had an umpire who confiscated bat because he believed he had too much pine tar. After a MLB investigation they “ruled” he didn’t. So he didn’t have to try and get away with anything.
Science lesson! Force = Mass x Acceleration.
This is the fundamental reason why corked bats are effective. Cork is a much lighter wood than Maple and Ash, so filling one of these bats with a corked center will lower the total mass of the bat. However, the increase in acceleration that comes with the lowering of this mass supersedes the deficit in mass leading to higher force creation.
Simple mathematical example:
You have a mass of 6 and an acceleration of 4, so 6 x 4 = 24.
You decrease the mass and increase the acceleration, so 5 x 5 = 25.
More total force has been created.
I remember Brett, but then look at Justin Turner his pine tar usage is abusive
I like to copy and paste stats too.
I wouldn’t compare it to pine tar. I think PEDs would be a better comparison. Both were rules that were on the books, but weren’t being enforced by MLB. Trevor Bauer (if he did it) and whomever else can talk all they want, but they are cheating the same as anyone else, including the Astros that Bauer seemed to enjoy trashing. Pun intended.
I don’t understand this, Bauer didn’t start using anything until he called out the Astros and saw that NOTHING was done about it. As it’s mentioned above, I think he’s been fairly consistent on his point that he wants people to be on an even playing field. If people are gonna use stuff and the league doesn’t do anything about it, despite being made aware of it, why would anyone NOT do it?
That dude just caught a mute from me.
Ill alert the media.
Hitters use so much pine tar the barrel leaves stains on the backs of their jerseys.
But it can’t possibly help them get a hit.
Fffbbb has obviously never played baseball before. Pine tar on the bat handle does nothing to change your swing except help the bat stay in your hand. It doesn’t alter the speed or launch angle or general success of your swing. Batting gloves do the same thing. Plus both are legal.
Pine tar helps grip the bat.
Pine tar helps grip the ball.
Josebatflip cleared it up for us. Even playing field.
TLDR. Home runs are about to shoot way up, and we may be lucky to see one more no-hitter this year.
The article said that MLB changed the baseballs prior to this season to prevent home runs.
Pete Alonso recently said, MLB changes the baseballs, depending on the free agent class.
It doesn’t look good with MLB buying Rawlings and trying to eliminate HR & K’s during a year when both hitting and pitching are big money free agents.
It’s not just players doing this, it’s organizations starting them on it in the minors.
Pete Alonso needs to feed his family……….
LOL, yeah Petey is just a whiz-kid… total woke-bro. That Q hat he wears lets all know that he is not one to be trifled with. Ain’t nobody ‘gon tell him ‘nothin, ya hurd!?
Interesting the two players that played together in college and have a great dislike for each other are being called out. Guess it’s safe to say DeGrom really is the best pitcher in baseball at this time.
Who is to say he isn’t using too?
DeGrom’s spin rate has been virtually the same for years. None of this 200 rpm increase. That’s how you know deGrom isn’t using it.
I mean, no reason to suspect anyone with out proof but saying someone’s spin rate hasn’t changed doesn’t meant they haven’t always been using something
Not true. DeGrom’s fastball spin rate has increased by about 200 rpms since 2015. His slider has increased by over 300 rpms. His curveball 400 since 2016.
Which also coincides with his uptick in velo, so again let’s not throw around anything.
In Chicago Liam Hendricks said use of foreign substances is rampant and has been so for years.
I’m inclined to believe deGrom is the real deal.
The expected hitting stats against him (xERA, xSLG) have been top tier throughout his whole career, plus his velocity on fastballs, off-speed, and breaking balls have all increased by 5 mph since 2015. A velocity increase can cause a spin rate increase, but higher spin doesn’t increase velocity.
His vertical movement hasn’t changed much despite the spin rate uptick and his horizontal break movements have never been all that great. DeGrom’s fastball spin has also dropped from 90th percentile last year to 79th percentile this year, though his percentile for curveball spin has increased by a similar percentile.
I’d wager that every pitcher uses something, but based on his career trends, but I don’t think that deGrom is using the same stuff as Cole, Bauer, etc.
DeGrom using something would shock me the same amount as meter using peds. Degrom is in a different league. He is something special you see generationally. Just watch him throw and you can see pure perfection at a craft. I saw something that showed his release point on every throw he made this year and they are all seriously identical. Enjoy the history making show he is giving us this year and stop trying to paint it something it is not. A common theme in this country is guilty till proven innocent and it ruins a persons name. Let’s watch Degrom the remaining 2/3 of the season and see how this storybook season ends for him. I’m excited to watch it and so should every baseball fan too!
@FN Using or not, DeGrom is excellent. I don’t really care. I’m rooting for him to have a sub-1 ERA this season.
Some much for Omerta’ This guy Hendricks should just keep his mouth shut!
interesting that you think that means he doesn’t use it….
it has and the hitters are happy about it. Let’s ask Pillar if he hopes pitchers grip is better…..95 to the face leaves a lasting impression.
The only thing that would shock me about Derek Jeter using PEDs is MLB releasing that info. Even if he tested positive, there’s no way MLB would have ever let that be known.
At the height of the PED era, MLB would have done anything to protect 3 players—Jeter, Ken Griffey, Jr., and Cal Ripken, Jr.—to protect the game. Not saying any of them used, but we’d never know about it if they did.
@Steve Nebraska: that’s a pretty weird comparison you’re throwing out there. For starters, you’re comparing now to his first full season in the league. I bet most pitchers greatly improve their spin rates when you compare their prime to very early in their career.
Second, why are you even mentioning his curve ball? He’s thrown about five of them all season. He throws like one curveball every two starts.
maybe he’s one of the veterans that was passed doen info long ago
Funny that it’s all media hype and Bauer and Cole don’t hate each other.
I’ve never heard otherwise. What do you know that no one else does?
The first foreign substance they need to crack down on is Angel Hernandez.
Dude, you can’t say stuff like that lol. Laughed so hard I nearly spit my beer all over the bar.
Ah your a drinker
Funniest thing I have read on here in years. Kudos.
It shows what a true joke the MLB is. Umpires union makes the calls on their umpires, players union gets insane amounts of money for it’s players. Yet somehow to many, the owners are greedy rich jerks that only care about money. Interesting to me that when they try and control ANYTHING in the game, they get destroyed for it.
They need to draw a line and then enforce it. There is too much grey area for them to do something now.
I’d like to see them all certain grip enhancers, with pitchers throwing so hard I’d hate to see control go completely out the window, especially in certain weather.
Do the research, come out with a list of what’s okay (ie like sun block and rosin) and then ban the rest and enforce from there. Unsure why this needs to play out in the media though.
This is a good idea. MLB should develop a grip enhancer that gives pitchers better grip but doesn’t give them crazy spin if that’s possible. I’m not a chemist.
Special grip enhancer? Rosin bag has been used for decades and has been good enough and let’s not forget about that silly, secret mud from some secret mudhole in NJ all MLB baseballs are rubbed up with, even to the point it’s dried and packaged up to be rewetted down and all the balls perfectly rubbed up by umps..
clubhouse guy rubs balls. watched video of cleveland guy doing a piss poor job
Hey, I’m from NJ and we’re proud of our mud.
That sounds like a line from My Cousin Vinny.
Famous for your mud? How’s your Chinese food?
This seems like the smartest play, to create an even playing field.
Which means it will never get done.
i cant wait. the drama and suspence are exciting
I said whichever team gives Cole $300+ million had better hope he brings his pine tar with him.
I guess I should have added that they should hope he doesn’t get caught after bringing it with him, too.
Meanwhile, cheaters once again win, though. He still cashes the checks.
Oh man calm down.
People act like you put a bit of sticky on the ball and you turn in to gerrit cole. Every pitcher does it to some degree, so once the dust settles and everyone loses the advantage, Cole will still be a premium pitcher. Only hitters will win
i dont think Bell’s saying he’s bad, just that he’s not the $300 million player he appears to be. and personally, it was always going to be an overpay, this just hammers the matter home.
How so though?
If you assume everyone is taking this advantage, then all pitchers get a bit worse, but Cole still remains one of the best.
I don’t think he is, but some people have tried to call out deGrom for the use of foreign substances. Of course, when you’re as good as he is in the midist of a sticky substance crackdown, those kinds of accusations are bound to happen. He doesn’t have a gaudy spin rate like Bauer or Cole. Sure, he’s seen a decent uptick in RPM since 2015, but he’s also seen a decent uptick in velocity. His Bauer Units from 2015 to 2021 is just a .8 increase. Not much of a difference.
In college, we used sunscreen for splitters and put Elmer’s glue on our cleats between innings lol.
Can confirm. We did use glue on our cleats.
A pitcher has a breakout year:
“wonder which brand of goo he uses?”
A hitter has a breakout year:
“wonder when he’s gonna fail a drug test?”
A team goes on a hot streak:
“wonder how they’ve managed to cheat this time?”
Yeah. Baseball. America’s game.
Cheating has always been a fundamental part of baseball. Always innovating ways to get unfair advantages. Can’t wait to see what happens after this scandal.
Oh, cool. That makes it okay.
to be fair, its not exactly wrong. the Black Sox scandal, Rose, thw spitball – baseball seems to have a new issue every time one goes away. that doesnt make it fine, but perhaps we should applaud a desire to fix a problem, even if belated.
Synthetic wood bats?
as opposed to what other sport? The NFL has murders and rapists and steroids exist across the board. Not to mention the multiple times the Patriots have been caught.
Bunch of frauds
I can think of a couple of pitching staffs that obviously didn’t get their shipment of goo.
C’mon folks, we know what’s going to happen. M:LB will have their investigation, and they’ll suspend some poor schmucks in AAA or AA, and MAYBE the 13th or 14th pitcher on a MLB staff. Maybe if some owner is p-oed at one of his higher paid pitchers, they’ll go after him too.
Beyond that, it’ll be a yawn.
Oh, who can forget Thurman: Make 4 pitches outside a walk, not pointing to 1st base and away he (it?) goes.
I am probably extremely naive about this, but it seems to me that every ball that is fouled off or even touches the dirt is replaced. You’d think the pitchers would love those scuffs! It’s not like they have a nail file to cut grooves in the ball. Maybe they have something on their hands when they come out of the dugout, but how long can that last? This is not as big an issue as the batters subscribing to the launch angle/ 3 true outcome baseball philosophy. Batters need to adapt, make contact, and advance the runner! Simple as that in my extremely humble and perhaps naive opinion.
This is from the SI article mentioned above…..”One ball made its way into an NL dugout last week, where players took turns touching a palm to the sticky material coating it and lifting the baseball, adhered to their hand, into the air. Another one, corralled in a different NL dugout, had clear-enough fingerprints indented in the goo that opponents could mimic the pitcher’s grip. A third one, also in the NL, was so sticky that when an opponent tried to pull the glue off, three inches of seams came off with it.”
It’s more than “Maybe they have something on their hands when they come out of the dugout” it’s overkill.
Cat/YBC, I appreciate your comments. At the same time, we all watch these guys. They have a definite routine. Don’t you think the announcers would be calling this out by now? We’d have to see it. I saw the black spot on the glove and the white smudge on a hat. There’s got to be more to this stuff than that. There’s a bag of rosin on the mound. I suppose some sunscreen on your neck or brow might work with the rosin, but even at that few pitchers hit the rosin after every pitch. Whatever they’re using must be awful durable. If you’ve ever tried to work with epoxy resins or sealants of any sort, you get a little sand on it and it’s impossible to get rid of. They’d seriously be wiping their hands off constantly.
Have you ever gotten a little honey or maple syrup on your finger? Sticky stuff by its very nature doesn’t have to be obvious to stick to stuff.
(And you wouldn’t be trying to wipe it off if you wanted it there)
@KB Announcers are biased and employed by their respective teams. And so are camera techs so they can pan away or have video editors not display pitchers doing their thing to the ball on the mound. We’re talking about high-tech, lab-tested substances they’re using. Not normal things we can concoct from a Home Depot run.
Spin rate/RPM increases ball movement thus making it harder- to square on. Those balls taken out of play get recycled back in if deemed usuable. Foreig)n substance placement is not just limited to hands. Pitchers place it all over their bodies – cap brim, neck, belt buckle, (sleeved) forearms, etc.
Congratulations, idiots under 50, you have ruined, no, crushed baseball.
My dad said this probably 25 years ago yet the game and life goes on. I probably will too when I’m 50. Change is inevitable. I can choose to embrace it or not.
Adapt or die
the problem is baseball continues to adapt itself in a poor manner, and is best at fixing issues that dont exist.
It’s all about pace of play to keep younger people and new fans interested. As long as revenues keep rising and new jobs are created, MLB will keep tinkering. As a fan, I personally loathe some of the recent changes but I do understand them from a business perspective.
Adapt is fine, the game always evolves over time. This Manfred era stuff is not adaptation and evolution, it’s deliberately attempting to fiddlefornicate around with the game to engineer specific end results.
Baseball is not, and never was, a game for those with short attention spans. Manfred is trying to make it into one.
Wanna fight about it old man?
You might not like what you find.
Your need to shake your fist at any and every cloud you can find is both comical and pathological.
Congratulations, idiots under 50, you have ruined, no, crushed baseball.
No, it was soccer that crused BB in the ’80s.
No, that wasn’t it, it was the strikes that crused BB in the ’90s.
No, that wasn’t it, it was PEDs that crushed BB in the ’00s.
If Degrom was using what Cole was he might not have given up a run all year lol. There is levels to this and Degrom and Cole aren’t on the same level.
Are you so sure DeGrom isn’t using anything? Maybe DeGrom has the entire Stanford chemistry and physics department on his personal payroll. No one can be certain.. As far as I’m concerned, every pitcher is using something.
I can bet my house Degrom isn’t using anything….
But how are you so sure?
I don’t believe you have a house. I’m calling shenanigans
I highly doubt he wants your doll house.
i dunno, unless he’s been using it his whole career…
musicians on this board: please consider renaming your band spider tack or pelican grip
all in the suit that you wear
I read an article yesterday that asked the question: Why is this sticky substance scandal coming out NOW? The writer had a pretty interesting theory. He said MLB saved this scandal until right before CBA negotiations because it will divide the players. It will be hitters vs. pitchers. This division and animosity among the players will then keep them from working together and uniting against the owners in the CBA negotiations which will give the owners an advantage. It is an interesting theory, but I am not sure it will divide players to the point of affecting CBA negotiations. What do you all think?
It’s a plausible theory. (Distract) Divide and conquer. I think Tony Clark and the player union reps run a tight enough ship to not lose sight of their objectives.
all in the suit that you wear
I was thinking divide and conquer, but you are right that just being distracted from what you should be thinking about gives an advantage to the opponent.
As a logical person, I’d say that amounts to a conspiracy theory, but clearly so much of the public is willing to subscribe to that crap, so who knows anymore? And no, just because someone throws it out there does not make it plausible. Look at the spin rate data combined with the strikeout rate and concurrent offensive numbers. The data is what is driving the questions about substances on the ball.
Labor negotiations within any industry do the exact same stuff Kripes. When billions are potentially on the line with every concession, any move this close to negotiations has justifications that have been considered months to years in advance.
Yep. Chess not checkers.
Over the last few years, it seems the difference between a conspiracy theory and fact is about 12 months.
It also helps to bring an issue to the table that wasn’t previously brought forth. This easily brings another issue or two the MLB can use to hopefully push a couple other issues out of the way. They only care about foreign substances if foreign substances can be a bargaining tactic.
I think it’s timing is right, BUT, wrong reasoning.
It’s not intended to split the players. BUT, if you want to put increased penalties and enforcement in the next CBA, you’re bargaining position is stronger if you can prove the scope of the problem.
So yes, timing is related to the CBA. BUT it’s more about encoding stronger disciplinary powers than it is about driving a wedge with players.
It may also be about bargaining power in a different way. Maybe mlb doesn’t care as much about the sticky stuff, but, the shot across the bow is that if players would like to keep using they need to bargain for a change in the rules.
all in the suit that you wear
That makes sense, GASoxFan.
Makes sense to me. Money is the driving force behind everything so there is more than likely a financial motive with this as well. The sport has gone corporate and there’s no room for integrity on Wall Street. I
As a person that has had a stutter their entire life, Gerrit Cole really knocked that response out of the park. Wow, just a solid retort.
Bet he was using last night. Love the Yankee fans bashing Houston when Exhibit Ahole is right in their dugout. No surprise there.
Did I catch a 9er in there ?
This is yet another unintended side effect of Manfred trying to artificially engineer the game.
Manfred is the face, but ownership is the impetus. Like so many aspects of our society big business wants to play puppet master.
enjoy 17-15 6 hour games, manfraud!
The GAME used to monitor itself before we turned into a country of puffies…..
Beanballs, spiked slides, deliberate collisions,actual bench clearing fights, not all this posturing stuff they do today….
BASEBALL USED TO BE EXCITING!
Now the puffies tall about pressing criminal charges for a slide or a beanballs……
THE.MEN WHO INVENTED BASEBALL WOULD.LAUGH THEIR BUTTS OFF AT YOU ALL AND THEN KICKMTHE TAR OUT.OFMYOU JUST TO SHOW YOU WHAT ANFLIPPIN BUNCH OFMPUFFIES YOU ALL ATR!
By puffies , I.mean dragons…..please don’t ban me.
It’s okay grandpa, you’re right all the puffies are after you. I’ll be putting in a request to limit your computer time going forward.
The only thing harder for a boomer who’s having a hard time letting go of the past, is someone who’s younger with no respect for that past.
The jargon may be questionable but the point is fair. The problem is that in the past cheating was an individual act. That is no longer the case. Unless the pitcher can fire a beanball into the owner’s box there is no way to hold the real culprit accountable. And he would likely have to throw at both owners.
Cult of Dickie Thon
So you advocate for players to potentially be seriously injured and for physical violence for your amusement?
This rarely ever happened and I’m sorry you value others well-bring so little.
Are you drunk again?
When will the league crack down on Gabe Kapler and coconut oil?
I would like to see the Commissioner’s office look at the Cubs organization for spin rate substance particularly their bullpen that came out of nowhere and is this successful. Their minor league and their pitch lab. Won’t happen with Theo Epstein in the Commissioner’s office. Just like the bad behavior of Jared Porter in the Cubs Organization got swept under the rug Where nobody knew anything about Porters behavior, and that was the investigation.
Yeah… tell that to Shelby Miller, Jake Arrieta, Alec Mills, Kyle Hendricks who’ve all gotten shelled at different times this year. Not to mention they’ve continued to dominate even after all of this was announced, all the while Bauer & Cole are faltering. And yes Arrieta just best Darvish head-to-head. Tack did not make that bullpen good… maybe they were underrated? Now Kimbrel’s sudden resurgence… to only 2018 Red Sox levels? Call me back when Kimbrel is pitching like he did with the Padres & Braves. Pitchers are not doing better ’cause of Tack. Pitchers are doing better because this is the end result of thr ‘Launch Angle Revolution’. When everyone starts trying to uppercut the ball, your success window shrinks and your mistake window drastically widens to all-or-nothing territory. Thus strikeouts are up and Pitchers are dominating overrated hitters. If analytics are picking up higher spin rates and velocities on older guys like Tapera than they did 10 years ago… maybe that’s a different story. To my knowledge Kimbrel hasn’t gained any uptick or velo since 2018. He just got healthy, locked in and returned to that Red Sox version of himself. Which mind you in 2018 — was even then a shell of his former self.
Oh and the Porter thing… was none of your business then. And is no one’s business now. But I will agree he should NOT of gotten that Mets job.
Kimbrel’s 2017 was close to his best season, maybe his best, tougher competition and more meaningful games. Good to see him return to form.
MLB needs to come out and say what is actually okay to use. The goal should be to remove those substances that have a major impact. There really should be no issues with items like sunscreen that do help grip a little but aren’t really a big deal.
It’s just amazing how poorly run MLB is. Have an issue, ignore it, keep ignoring it, then attack all of your players/ talent – wonder why sport struggles to grow, repeat. This is an issue but it’s not the only reason batting averages are down. Plus, league ERA is still 4+ so it’s not 1968 either.
rosen has been approved for years, the only thing
Before this season the MLB announced this crackdown.. and I think some teams took it to heart: What happened to the MN Twins.. they were seeing Peak velocities blossom under Wes Johnson.. he was a pitching whisperer.. and this year… those peak velocities from numerous pitchers have ticked back down ( Not average.. peak.. it makes a difference).. and I wonder what their spin rates are compared to last season and the season before?????… and By the way.. Why does Maeda rub the ball funny in the pocket of his glove??? and why does it look like a totally different pitching staff???
Good point out. I had to look into the numbers and definitely interesting. Meada is shelved so maybe why he’s not having the same year, but he was a improved pitcher after leaving the Dodgers in 2020. Swapped old rich hill for the younger 38 JA Happ. Maybe Happ doesn’t have access Coles special clear anymore after leaving the Yankees, or father time is saying hi. Could be the reason Dobnak to a step back (or sophomore slump) and Shoemaker replaced Odorizzi with same numbers. One pitcher that’s interesting is Matt Wisler and his 1.07 ERA. He had a great run with the twins and has already gotten cut from the giants this year.
Ban the sticky substance for pitchers.
Ban all arm padding on hitters.
Fair trade. Play ball.
If you ban the sticky substance, then hitters will need more padding. These guys throw 10 MPH harder than years before. Even the old tough guy doesn’t know what it’s like to be bean by a 100 mph fastball.
Your point proves arm padding is an advantage.
Hitters will need to back off the plate so they stop taking heaters to the face. Notice hit by pitches have went up since hitters started using the cheat pads?
Hitters will back off the plate. Hitters will flinch on curves and sliders. Pitchers will learn to take some heat off the fastball. Pitchers will go deep in games.
So should they be allowed to wear helmets?
Chris Burmans take on Coles response – he’s rumbling’ bumbling’ fumbling
Donaldson opened his big mouth and Cole slammed it shut. If pitchers are using foreign substances then it should be stopped. At the same time, batters should be tested more frequently for peds and not be allowed to bat with body armor that looks like they belong in medieval times.
and not be allowed to bat with body armor
And no batting helmets. After all, if you don’t want to protect hitters from having the pitcher nail them in the elbow with a pitch, why worry about the head?
While we’re at it, maybe cut back on pine tar and let’s see how many hitters can time letting theyre bat slip loose to nail the pitcher right?
Batting armor improved because pitchers, as a craft, have transitioned towards hurling instead of pitching. Speed matters more than pinpoint command. So, they turn to illegal substances to improve command at higher throwing speeds, with added bonus of altering batters eye.
It’s about throwing as hard as you can instead of as much of a finesse craft. Guys could’ve thrown harder years ago, but instead pitching was what got the money.
Kind of like batting used to be a craft that is being replaced by swinging. Strike out or home run gets paychecks. Who cares about singles anymore, that doesn’t earn you money.
MLB would have a leg to stand on if it didn’t juice balls for several years and then deaden the ball. They would also have a leg to stand on if they did anything about the astros and sign stealing at all. They would have yet another leg if they meaningfully addressed foreign substances at all in the last 20 years.
What we are seeing is the confluence of a deadened ball after having a juiced ball for around 4-5 years, guys accepting the 3 true outcomes and putting the ball in play less, and pitchers using grip to get spin on the ball and grip on the ball.
I would take all of this more seriously if Manfred and MLB were not constantly trying to make moves to inflate offense all the time (i.e. banning shifts, extra innings runner, moving the mound, etc).. You mean to tell me that after years of substances being used we suddenly care because no one can hit after a shortened season where offensive numbers were all over the place?
Congrats MLB.. The sport looks increasingly stupid time and again for things like this.
All this just to crack down on poutine use during Jays home games.
They need to allow chewing tobacco and the old-school spitball again.
Is KY illegal? Asking for my friend Gaylord.
I think Bauer makes a really good point on players needing to know what is and isn’t actually going to be allowed because if you see your peers cheating, for lack of a better word, getting results from it and no punishment for doing it, I can understand other players thinking, “fine, I’ll do it too then”.
People can hate Bauer as much as they want, but I think he’s actually been fairly consistent on this topic.
Absolutely. He has been saying it for years that spin rate and success comes from what you use to spin the ball. He said if everyone else is using something, why not me.
He is pretty intelligent when it comes to the mechanics of the game. Driveline has turned careers around.
So what is the actual rule now? Bauer is right, if MLB is going to have a rule it has to be clear and consistently enforced. Sounds like they aren’t there yet.
If MLB wants players to stop cheating—substances, PEDs, stealing signs, etc.—it needs the penalties to actually be severe. Forget all the “10 game suspension”; for players with nine-figure contracts…who cares? I think anyone caught cheating the game, and thus the bill-paying fans, should be hurt financially:
Any player who is caught cheating in any way should have whatever guarantee left on their contract ripped up, and then only be allowed to play for the average salary of U.S. citizens for the remainder of their careers.
Any team (ownership/coaching/front office) that supports anyone on their team cheating should not be permitted to charge anything for tickets, parking, concessions, etc., for 10 years.
When the penalties are severe, the cheating will stop.
A 10 game suspension is a vacation during the season and only costs the starting pitcher 2 games. It has to be equivalent to hitter suspensions. 50 games is roughly 1/3 of the season. The SP equivalent would be forfeiting 10 starts and pay.
The few pitchers who did not cheat have worse statistics and made less salary. Sad.
As a member of the MLBPA’s highest ranking policy committee for players, it doesn’t surprise me that Cole kind of ducked the question, They probably haven’t quite figured out how to approach this yet, and he has a responsibility to all players to make sure that there’s a unified front, or as close to one as possible, on the topic before taking it head-on.
I say we bring back PED’s and keep letting these guys use what they use and let’s see who wins! ** Spoiler Alert ** pitcher will always have the biggest advantage. That’s why All-Stars succeed 3 out of 10 tryies.
why all the questions about what the rules are on substances? rosen, that’s all
So, what if it’s the catcher? I have taken screen shots of pine tar on the back of a catcher’s shin guard! What possible explanation could there be for that? The catcher getting a better grip to throw to 2b? Ok, but what stops him wiping a ball against the same spot before tossing it back to the pitcher?
Rules are great, but enforcing them hurts players feelings, so we can’t have any of that today!
I’m still waiting for the Dodgers to be punished for their International market ‘dealings’ back in 2018. They seem to be made of Teflon, so I doubt anything will happen to Bauer.
I think that this has been going on long enough that we are seeing some pitchers who have been using substances since they were in the minors. Kind of like the same level of doubt I have about A-Rod ever playing a clean at bat and probably Palmeiro (outside of maybe his first year).
This time though the rules are on the books, and they can choose the level to which they enforce them. A few times the NHL has done this with interference in trying to open up scoring opportunities/increase scoring. They started whistling more penalties and as long as they did that, it had an effect.
MLB though has had a pattern of kind of sweeping it under the rug hoping it goes away; I agree with earlier comments on that. Which is a shame because I think that holds back the game.
Survey the fans though, the majority would rather see more offense than less.
MLB has been compromised since the owners devalued the office of commissioner. Then replaced it with their chosen puppets who will do their bidding. If true changes are to be accomplished an independent person with absolute authority to determine the integrity of the game must be in charge!
MLB, once again, shooting themselves in the foot from a marketing perspective. Making changes in midseason, taking the focus off the players on the field, vilifying a single player for an industry wide issue. Now, I guess all pitchers will be pitching with nothing but a rosin bag for the first time in 100 years.
The most important aspect of the game—the baseball!—is under question every year. It’s juiced. It’s dejuiced. It’s sticky. Its seams are high. Its seams are low. Further eroding the trust, MLB bought Rawlings who makes the baseball so they can tinker with it every year. I don’t necessarily buy Alonso’s belief that MLB alters the baseball based on the free agent class, but it is ridiculous that the players impacted by changing the ball have no input. The players don’t trust the owners. Fans don’t trust what they’re seeing. Trust in the very game is eroded. Way to market the game!
Now I do think they need to figure out what pitchers are using and perhaps standardize on something across the game. Helps the grip, doesn’t create massive spin. Jacob DeGrom, as one example, has increased the spin on his great slider by 300 rpm. He’s increased the spin on his curveball by 700 rpms since he
…since 2015, which according to Bauer is impossible to do without enhanced grip.
Would that explain an uptick in velocity though? Idk I feel like guys have made some good points about the changing of the baseball that seem to make more sense to me anyway. Why would DeGoat all sudden start using the ish now also than he used it Vs Padres over weekend in that 1 hit start? With all the scrutiny?
Author likes the word “vast” in a vast variety of forms…
Offense isn’t down very much. OPS this season is 0.710, it was 0.700 in 2014. Runs per game is 4.39, it was 4.25 in 2015. Ks are up in part due to the emphasis on hitting HRs. Everyone calm down, thanks…
Lol I feel like the two companies named in particular are going to see incredible sales from amateur/men’s league players in the coming weeks…why not give it a go for 10$. What a mess on their hands HEYo