With strikeout rates increasing and batting averages decreasing in Major League Baseball, one major explanation has been the added importance of the home run. Another proposed reason is the shift (pun intended) in defensive philosophies across big-league dugouts.
But what about the pitchers that are getting credit for producing more outs on a regular basis? Don’t they have something to do with this trend? They must, and according to MLB Network insider Jon Heyman, their involvement could be against the rules.
Yep, that’s right — we’re talking about the notoriously vague presence and use of “foreign substances” by major league hurlers. Put some substance on your glove (likely a sticky substance) and rub it on the baseball before you pitch to achieve an alien-like grip, giving your curve ball an other-worldly spin.
This is an issue likely as old as baseball itself. With the pendulum swinging perhaps too far in the pitchers’ favor, however, expect Major League Baseball and commissioner Rob Manfred to do something about it, as Heyman suggests.
They’d be wise to. For the first time in baseball’s history, teams average more than one strikeout per inning, according to Sports Illustrated.
I’m curious what baseball officials an umpires will find. What’s the preferred substance nowadays? I have no clue. But luckily, it appears we’ll find out.
(Photo courtesy Flickr/slgkkgc)