Major League Baseball frequently insists on getting in its own way time after time, after time. Their latest mishandling of a situation comes in the form of the new foreign [sticky] substance rule. If a player is caught using a foreign substance to manipulate the ball in any way, will be ejected from that game automatically, plus a ten-game paid suspension.
Wanting to keep the game as fair as possible isn’t an issue. A fair, level playing field is what everyone wants. But, to act like this is some new occurrence is ludicrous.
Pitchers have been looking for an advantage against hitters for as long as…well, for as long or even longer than hitters have looked for an advantage against pitchers. Making use of substances like pine tar, and we all know about the hoopla over the “PED era” in baseball. For as long as there has been competition, there have been participants who have attempted to gain an added advantage over their opponent.
The thing here is the whole approach of implementing this new rule in the middle of the season.
Yes, there has been an unusual amount of phenomenal pitching performances so far this season. But to make this big of a deal about something you’ve known is ‘part of baseball’ likely since the beginning of the sport. It comes off as desperate and out of touch. Sounds familiar, right? MLB out of touch. Go figure.
This action could have waited until the offseason. Now, that doesn’t mean you can’t have your umpires pay a little closer attention to what pitchers are doing on the mound. But that should be happening anyway.
Truth be told, the MLB is still reeling from the effects of the Houston Astros sign-stealing scandal a few years ago. Their [MLB] reaction to this “scandal” feels like the league wanted to react quickly in hopes of coming off as the good guy for once. The league has repeatedly dropped the ball in reacting to these situations within the game.
Now, pitchers across both leagues will need to change their pitching approach due to this new rule. It isn’t that MLB has inserted this rule it’s the timing of it. Hell, it took 20 years for them to come up with and implement a real drug testing policy after the steroid era. The mid-1980s through mid-2000s were a free-for-all with hitters in the game.
Of course, with “chicks digging the long ball” and the advertising dollars pouring in, MLB felt no need to rush in and create a new rule or force a real drug test on players. When the money is flowing in hand over fist, no one wants to get in the way of that. That would be blasphemous.
The bottom line here is Major League Baseball has dropped the ball, again. Hopefully, we don’t see many injuries to pitchers after this sudden rule change. Baseball is the most superstitious sport on earth. So, it won’t be surprising to see many of these pitchers get in their own heads and become rattled due to having to change their daily routine out of nowhere. Thanks a lot, MLB.