The Major League Baseball (MLB) commissioner’s office informed its 30 teams that starting with the games on June 21, the umpires will fully enforce the official rules that prohibit the application of foreign substances to baseballs. .
A pitcher who is caught violating rules 3.01 and 6.02 (c) and (d) will be expelled from the game and will be automatically suspended for 10 games, in accordance with the provisions of said regulations. Clubs and team coaches will also be subject to disciplinary action for failing to ensure compliance with these rules.
“After an extensive process of repeated warnings to no avail, gathering information from current and former players and others across the sport, two months of in-depth data collection, listening to our fans and careful thought, I have determined that a new policy on applying foreign substances to the ball, to level the playing field, “said MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred.
“I understand that there is a history of foreign substance use on the ball, but what we are seeing today is objectively very different, with much stickier substances being used more frequently than ever,” Manfred said. “It has become clear that the use of foreign substances in general has been transformed from trying to improve ball grip into something else: looking for an unfair competitive advantage that is creating lack of action and an uneven playing field,” he added.
“This is not about an individual player or club, nor is it about blaming, it is about a collective change that has changed the game and must be addressed. We have a responsibility to our fans and the generational talent that compete on the field to eliminate these substances and improve the game, “said the top boss of American professional baseball.
The use of substances to improve ball grip is attributed to the rise in pitching speed and the consistent decline of offense in the major leagues. Heading into the June 15 round, major league hitters combine to produce a .238 batting average, the second-lowest ever, while the on-base percentage (.313) is the lowest. in half a century.
Tuesday’s MLB statement emphasized that the use of substances to catch the ball has not decreased the number of balls. As of the June 14 games, pitchers had delivered 853 pitches and in the last two full seasons (2018 AND 2019) they set the all-time record, with 1,922 and 1,984, respectively.
“Creating a consistent compliance system that applies equally to all clubs and players requires a clear policy with no exceptions,” said Michael Hill, MLB’s senior vice president of field operations.
“We have learned through our research that more traditional substances can be used to gain a competitive advantage just like newer substances, and it is not practical for referees to differentiate themselves on the field. The new guidance published today will put everyone on the line. a level playing field, “Hill added.