Across Major League Baseball, pitchers have been using sticky substances to try to increase their spin rates and give them extra grip. Now, MLB is making an effort to prevent pitchers from using foreign substances as offense across the sport is at an all-time low.
It’s a swift change from MLB having turned a blind eye to the practice despite rules clearly banning the use of substances to manipulate the baseball. “I think that cheating is more of when rules are imposed or in place, and you break them,” Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts recently said.
“But I think we’re getting to that point. As I do understand it, players that do get caught using a foreign substance that’s not allowed by Major League Baseball will be deemed cheaters. But up to this point, I think the line is kind of blurred and players are going to use whatever advantage they can when things are blurred.”
Roberts went on to add players have been trying to gain a competitive advantage in every era, so it has become more of an art and form of gamesmanship.
“It’s not just baseball. It’s sports and life in general. If there’s not distinct rules and consequences, people push limits. That’s just the way the world and life works,” Roberts said.
“I do appreciate that Major League Baseball is trying to enforce the rules and consequences or penalties. I am concerned of it being in place during the middle of a season. I just don’t want pitchers getting hurt potentially, so we’ll see. Again, when things are in place and imposed, we will adhere.”
Furthermore, as injuries are up this season, Roberts has concern what the sudden change will amount to for pitchers. “Certain guys are used to a different feeling of the baseball. Anytime you change the consistency of a baseball at any point in time, it changes the feel and stress of an arm,” Roberts said.
“Again, I’m no scientist. Like I’ve said many times before, things that are in place in the middle of a season are an adjustment.”
Roberts nevertheless added the Dodgers would of course comply with MLB’s rules.
How MLB change affects Dodgers
Roberts claimed to not be aware which Dodgers pitchers — if any — were utilizing banned substances. “We have not talked about this as a team,” he said.
“The guys I trust to go out there and get guys out, I’m going to continue to go to.”
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