MLB implements new “sticky stuff” rule


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Philip Watson

The Major League Baseball put a rule into action that prohibits and punishes MLB pitchers from utilizing “foreign substances” to doctor baseballs in the pursuit of a better grip on June 21. .

In a season that is seeing an abysmal .239 batting average from hitters league wide, this rule was made to provide more offense in baseball games and stop players from breaking a barely enforced regulation.

Before it was put into effect, four minor league baseball pitchers were  suspended due to doctoring baseballs with foreign substances. The most common of these substances is a mixture of sunscreen and rosin to produce a substance that provides better grip. Cardinals’ manager, Mike Shildt, called the substances “baseball’s dirty little secret.”

Since The Los Angeles Dodgers’ pitcher Trevor Bauer tattled on the rest of the league back in 2018, the league has responded by loosely enforcing the rules. However, this season is different, as the MLB sees the lowest batting average and the highest number of nohitters in history up to this point in the season.

This all comes down to the “sticky stuff.”

Recently, The New York Yankees ace pitcher, Gerrit Cole, could not answer the question as to whether he used baseball doctoring spider-tack while pitching in a game: “I don’t quite know how to answer that,” is the response he gave ESPN reporters.

The new rule states that a suspension of 10 days will be given to any pitcher caught sticky handed..

The outcry of the pitchers was almost immediate, as  Bauer also shared his thoughts in this thread via Twitter about this new rule, claiming umpires are given too much power in his tirade.

Cole voiced his concern over the new rule by saying how it will result in  loss of control and accuracy in pitching, which could lead to more players getting hit by pitches.

“It’s so hard to grip the ball,” Cole said. “Please, just talk to us, please just work with us,” Cole added. “I know you have the hammer here. But we’ve been living in a gray area for so long. I would just hate to see players get hurt. I would hate to see balls start flying at people’s head. I had a really tough time gripping the baseball tonight, especially early when it was windy,” CBS reported.

A pitcher who threw a no-hitter this season, Chicago White Sox’s Carlos Rodon, also voiced his displeasure with the rule, comparing it to the signstealing scandal the Houston Astros engaged in during the 2017-2019 MLB seasons.

A 10-game suspension is essentially a prison sentence for the sticky stuff, while the egregious cheating used by the Astros saw no players get suspended.

In a wild turn of events, New York Mets first baseman, Pete Alonso, does not agree with the MLB’s crackdown either.

“Since the start of the game, pitchers have been using substances,” Alonso said, “And I don’t want 99 mph slipping out of someone’s hand because they didn’t have enough feel for it…we all saw what happened to Kevin Pillar.

On the other hand, Colorado Rockies’ star Charlie Blackmon had this to say on the matter: “I have to go out there and if my eyes tell me, it’s in one place, I have to swing to a different place. Which is hard to do. It’s hard to swing and try and miss the ball. But there are some guys where you have to do it, because their ball and the spin rate or whatever is defying every pitch that you’ve seen come  in over the course of your career…I basically have to not trust my eyes that the pitch is going to finish where I think it’s going to finish and swing in a different place, because the ball is doing something it has no business doing,” Sports Illustrated reports.

With baseball having the highest spin rate decline over the past month and players on both sides of the plate showing displeasure about the new rules, it begs the question as to what is going to happen next.

Based on statistical data, offense will improve, but the rest of the season will determine if this is a positive change or a negative change overall.