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Sunday, April 13, 2014

Deadspin: Hayhurst: A Major League Pitcher’s Guide To Doctoring A Baseball

When someone like Pineda cheats so obviously that it has to be acknowledged, it’s discussed in terms of a ludicrously weak explanation that all players seem to accept: Loading the ball is not about cheating; it’s about getting a grip.

Since it seems like everyone could stand to get a grip on this form of cheating in the majors, let’s talk some of the ways pitchers go about getting one. This is a strange thing, existing in a sort of no-man’s land. It’s not really illegal, since no one gets called out for openly doing it, and yet it’s not quite legal, given that no pitcher would ever just waltz out to the mound and set a towel full of pine tar down next to the rosin bag. Pitchers having to act like this is something they could get in trouble for leads to all sorts of chicanery, which at times reaches the level of fine art. To discuss it, we have to know how it’s done.

Since it’s a popular topic right now, we’ll start with pine tar.

bobm Posted: April 13, 2014 at 05:01 PM | 5 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: it aint cheating if you dont get caught, pine tar, rosin, vaseline

Reader Comments and Retorts

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   1. Jose Canusee Posted: April 13, 2014 at 06:23 PM (#4685599)
good read.
   2. Dan Posted: April 13, 2014 at 07:14 PM (#4685630)
It's a very good read, but Hayhurst looks pretty hypocritical for feeding into the frenzy that Morris stirred up last year about Buchholz when Hayhurst well knows that basically every pitcher in today's game is doing this.
   3. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: April 13, 2014 at 07:35 PM (#4685636)
It's a very good read, but Hayhurst looks pretty hypocritical for feeding into the frenzy that Morris stirred up last year about Buchholz when Hayhurst well knows that basically every pitcher in today's game is doing this.

Including Hayhurst himself when he was in the Bigs, by his own admission. But when it comes to confessions, Preacher Roe's 4th of July SI article way back in 1955 is still the most entertaining.

'the Outlawed Spitball Was My Money Pitch'

The retired Dodger hero admits he threw a "wet one" and tells how other players like Campanella, Reese and Hodges of his own team and Durocher, Maglie and Sewell of the enemy reacted to it

His lubricant of choice was Beech-Nut gum.

"I don't know why Beech-Nut was better. There seemed to be something in it that would make the ball slicker than any other gum. If this is a testimonial, then they can have it for free. I'm just telling the truth. I tried every kind of gum, and tried that slippery elm, too, but nothing worked for me like plain old Beech-Nut.

   4. Rough Carrigan Posted: April 13, 2014 at 10:50 PM (#4685714)
I remember when Pedro Martinez was on the Red Sox, a couple different times newspaper articles about why he was so great cited his very large hands as a big edge for him. Why? Because they enabled him to more easily grip the ball and impart more spin to his pitches when he wanted to. So, being able to get a better grip on the ball and impart more spin isn't just about some safety concern or some such thing. It's also about getting to make better pitches than you could normally.
   5. Rough Carrigan Posted: April 13, 2014 at 10:57 PM (#4685718)
There's one more that Hayhurst didn't list, namely soap. I remember Peter Gammons, 30+ years ago, repeating that the rumor was that Mike Norris, a briefly excellent starter for the A's of the early 80, would, before he put them on, have a clubhouse guy rub Ivory soap into the crotch of his uniform pants. Once the game started and Norris started sweating, he would be able to hitch at his crotch between pitches and get a little bit of soap suds on his fingertips with which to throw a good spitter using the suds instead of spit.

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