Pitchers Are Cheaters By Keegan Thompson
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Major League Baseball has finally decided that it’s time to learn more about what their professionals are using in order to make them grip the baseball better. The new rules will be set in place that each pitcher who enters the game will be inspected for any foregin substance on their person, with violators receiving an automatic 10-game suspension. These new protocols mean that every starting pitcher will be inspected at least twice a game, and relief pitchers will be inspected at least once per game by the umpiring crew. It is also stated the position players may be inspected as well. It is to the umpires’ understanding that they will have clear guidance to enforce the prohibition of all illegal substances and that no particular pitcher will be inspected more than another pitcher.
This will definitely be a big change for the sport for not only the players, but for the fans too by watching the umpires inspect the pitchers every inning. A possible solution to this problem of cheating would be to allow foreign substances so that everyone is on a fair playing field. This may seem like a great solution, especially if you are Dodgers starting pitcher, Trevor Bauer. Bauer has been very vocal on the matter of illegal substances being used to help grip the baseball better. All of his thoughts and feelings can be found on his YouTube channel (right here).
An issue that most pitchers in the league seem to be having is the timeliness in which this rule was issued. Pitchers such as Tyler Glasnow of the Tampa Bay Rays and Trevor Bauer of the Los Angeles Dodgers have expressed their disdain for implementing the rule halfway into the MLB season. They are especially annoyed with this because the MLB notified the players that nothing would change in terms of rules when asking to inspect the baseballs that pitchers were using and how pitchers were able to grip the baseball.
Glasnow recently suffered a torn UCL and a strained flexor tendon, two injuries that would likely signal Tommy John surgery. In a recent interview discussing his injury and his thoughts and feelings about the MLB handling the problem with sticky substances, Glasnow claims that his injury is a result of not being able to use his preferred substance. (Find that interview here.) Glasnow goes on to say that he has to grip the ball unusually hard and adjust his arm angle when pitching. By gripping the ball harder and compensating for the lack of sticky substance, he has to use different muscles in the arm that would otherwise be inactive when using said sticky substance. It seemed to be a case of muscle memory when using sticky substances and by not using them, a pitcher must use different muscles in the arm that might not be trained to handle movements that go into an MLB pitch, thus resulting in a possible season-ending injury.
What will the impact of this new rule be on America’s Favorite Pastime? A less exciting spectating experience for the fans, more injuries to the players, both the pitchers and those being hit by potential out-of-control pitches, more boo-ing of the men in black as they enforce the league’s new protocols? I guess we’ll soon find out what this sticky situation will mean for baseball.