New York Yankees Fan

MLB needs to get a grip. We’ve seen a few days of MLB’s “handling” of the sticky stuff fiasco, it’s time to begin assessing the situation. Naturally fans are misplacing their, mostly unjustified, anger on the pitchers. Taking a fully objective view, which doesn’t happen often here at Bleacher Brawls, I put the least amount of blame on the pitchers and completely understand why they would be using Spider Tack and other substances on the mound. 

First and foremost, the use of substances has been historically ignored in MLB. Doctoring balls and using substances has never been enforced unless the situation was absolutely blatant. 

You Idiot

Joe Niekro got caught with a file on the mound. It was a scandal for a few days but is laughed about now.

Gaylord Perry was known for throwing a spitter and doctoring balls. We look back at this as if it were a joke, no one considers it any kind of offense. Not only was it a joke, he was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1991 despite writing a book about doctoring balls and throwing a spitter while he was still playing.

I worked with a Red Sox fan who told me that Julian Tavarez would throw the ball of the final out into the stands rather than give it to the umpire in fear of getting caught for whatever he was doing. Didn’t Lester get caught once too? 

There’s a famous story of George Steinbrenner calling the dugout while Lou Pinella was managing to complain that the opposing pitcher was cheating. The Boss wanted Pinella to complain to the umpires. Sweet Lou responded telling The Boss that he couldn’t say anything because his guys were cheating too.

To suddenly, this season, start faulting the pitchers for a practice that has been largely ignored for over 100 years is ludicrous. This is what the game is and always has been for pitchers.

The blame really falls on MLB for creating this whole debacle. MLB makes their own balls. Any real baseball fans know MLB has been juicing the balls for the past few years. 

Home Runs were up year after year so Home Runs became stale. They deaden the balls and offense drops. Do we really think pitchers weren’t using sticky substances prior to 2021?

You Idiot

This isn’t anything new. Spider Tack didn’t just come into existence in the 2021 season. It’s been used for years but no one knew nor cared because balls were soaring into the stands. Spider Tack really isn’t the cause of the league-wide drop in batting average. The balls were one way for seasons, then suddenly changed. You want it to be one way, but it’s the other way.

I would respect Manfred and MLB if they just acknowledged they deaden the balls, made a mistake then moved on with it. If they really considered sticky substances an issue, it’s something that could have been addressed behind closed doors.

Which really posits the very good question, why not handle it behind closed doors? Does the struggling sport and it’s players look good right now? Has anything good come out of this?

MLB throwing players under the bus is a bad look. Searching pitchers on the mound in the middle of an inning is embarrassing. A few days ago, Joe Girardi saw Max Scherzer in a groove and continuously had him checked to break up his rhythm. We are really going to let opposing managers decide when to check pitchers? No one in the room thought this could potentially be a bad idea?

Why just pitchers? Why not check catchers too? Why not check the 3rd basemen after an around the horn? Where does it stop? Other than the chest protector, of course.

Let’s apply some common sense. Does that sound reasonable? How about just checking the ball? It’s quick and effective. If a pitcher is dealing, having a good night, let the umpire check the ball occasionally. If a ball lands 20 rows deep into the stands, it’s reasonable to think that even if there was spider tack on the ball, it didn’t really have much effect. Seems like the simplest solution.

Making pitchers the scapegoat in MLB’s latest “scandal” is a gutless move by Manfred and MLB. MLB needs to work with the Union to make a hard rule about what pitchers can use for grip, then enforce that rule by checking the ball.

By JMo

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