Major League Baseball is expected to announce Tuesday that it will suspend players caught using any foreign substances for 10 days with pay, in an effort to help reduce the widespread use of grip enhancers by league pitchers, they said. ESPN sources familiar with the plans.
The league is expected to distribute a memorandum to teams – which have been briefed on the general outlines of the policy change – outlining its plans to penalize all players caught by umpires with any foreign substance on their person, from the widely used sunscreen and resin combined with Spider Tack, an industrial glue that has become a favorite among pitchers who want to get more spin on the ball.
The liberal interpretation of Rules 3.01 and 6.02 (c), which prohibit the use of foreign substances, would impose the same discipline on all substances. While there is “broad consensus among players that Spider Tack is on the line,” a senior person on the players’ side told ESPN on Monday, a total ban on all grappling agents could upset players. . A longtime umpire told ESPN that the hard line is vital, as he and his colleagues try to enforce a rule on the fly that has been ignored for years.
No matter how important players’ reliance on sticky substances is, and no matter how responsible teams and the league were in allowing another cheating scandal to make its way into baseball, efforts to ditch the game of boosters from the game. Grip have arrived and will begin on June 21, sources said.
Until then, players will keep trying for years to unlearn the use of various substances. Some teams have already asked pitchers who relied heavily on foreign substances to conduct bullpen sessions without any grip reinforcement to prepare for the future, two players and an official told ESPN. Teams recently received reports from their team’s pitching league that they had been caught using substances, two general managers told ESPN.
That kind of preparation heralds a change that has already taken hold. Several pitchers who requested anonymity to avoid any punishment from the league told ESPN they either stopped using foreign substances entirely or switched from Spider Tack to pine tar, from a relatively new and controversial product to one whose place in baseball is goes back decades.
Between the looming memorandum and the seemingly growing colder baseball weather to foreign substances since umpire Joe West forced the St. Louis Cardinals pitcher, Giovanny gallegos, to take off his cap on May 26. From debates about morality, to discussions about a league that hasn’t issued a suspension for foreign substances in more than six years, is suddenly poised to impose multiples, while acknowledging that a starting pitcher could essentially lose just one start in 10 games, the Conversations about the league’s plan have gotten more lively.
Several players said they were hopeful that MLB would differentiate between the substances and buy time before the possible release of a legal and universal substance that pitchers can use to catch. While MLB has explored creating such a product, it has yet to formulate one that serves as a grip enhancer without being a performance enhancer. Between the grip issue and the league changing the composition of the ball this winter, players said they hope to have more participation in the future.
When asked for comment on the pending memorandum, the MLB Players Association said in a statement: “The Players Association is aware that Major League Baseball plans to issue guidance shortly regarding the application of existing rules that foreign substances govern. We will communicate with Players accordingly once guidance has been issued. We anticipate future discussions with the League regarding issues on the field, including foreign substance rules and the baseballs themselves, such as part of ongoing collective bargaining. Our continued focus will continue to be fundamental fairness and player health and safety. “
Through a spokesperson, MLB declined to comment.
While the sample is small, the league-wide batting average since June 3, when the first reports about the league’s offense surfaced, is .247, a substantial jump from .236 to that point in the league. season. The league’s spin rate on the fastballs has also dropped substantially, a sign that some pitchers have already stopped using foreign substances altogether, or have at least changed grip agents.