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Wednesday, September 14, 2022

Sarris: Across MLB, spin rates are back up near their peak. Is the sticky stuff here to stay? [$]

But it looks like pitchers have found something clear and wipeable that gives them more of a boost than sunscreen and rosin, because spin rate is back up in baseball. Almost back to where it was before enforcement started.

The highest and lowest points in league-average spin rate in the spin-rate tracking era are both on this graph, so it’s not a trick of the y-axis: spin took a huge drop after enforcement, and then it started to creep back to past levels almost immediately. Adjusting for velocity, because velocity and spin are interrelated, creates the same graph. This is a real effect.

“It’s really obvious,” said a hitting coach who then rattled off examples of pitchers who had come to town recently and used some sort of substance.

But pitchers aren’t back to the extreme days of Spider Tack. You have to go through 51 pitcher seasons before you get to this year’s highest four-seam spin rate, and then another 123 pitcher seasons before you get to this year’s second-highest spin rate. The very top spin rates have been eliminated, but pitchers seem to be finding something that’s almost as good.

A league source confirmed this is something they are monitoring closely, but there is an obvious question they have to debate as they consider the way forward. What more can they do? Consider this breakdown of perhaps the most detailed frisking of a pitcher in modern memory: James Karinchak has been accused of using something in his hair to gain spin, and his spin rates are up (almost back to pre-enforcement levels). The umpire literally touches his hair upon request of the opposing manager.


RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 14, 2022 at 01:47 PM | 8 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: foreign substances, sticky stuff

Reader Comments and Retorts

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   1. Walt Davis Posted: September 14, 2022 at 03:30 PM (#6096101)
What more can you do?

The umpire says to the catcher "give me that ball right now." The umpire holds the ball in his hand. The ball is sticky. He ejects the pitcher, the catcher, the manager immediately.

Randomly check THE BALL. Do it several times a game. It doesn't matter which of the pitcher or catcher is applying the stuff, eject them both.
   2. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 14, 2022 at 03:55 PM (#6096104)
There is one solution.

All nude baseball. Tastefully done.
   3. The Duke Posted: September 14, 2022 at 04:13 PM (#6096105)
If the issue is sweat + rosin works as sticky stuff. Why do we care ? Isn't this the state we wanted ? It's not clear to me how there could be equivalents of spider tack out there and it remains invisible to the umps. It would be on the ball, on their hands, etc . Anyone who has done any home improvement project knows this stuff is hard to get off and even harder to look invisible
   4. It's regretful that PASTE was able to get out Posted: September 14, 2022 at 05:59 PM (#6096128)
Sunscreen + rosin will make the ball hang off your fingertips. But you can't be as precise with it as you can with modern chemical adhesives.

Like the pace of play, this is an issue wherein MLB does not actually believe there is a problem; they merely want to be perceived as caring, they don't actually care.

If you don't want the ball moving as much, you can just lower the laces. "Hitters will get killed!" pitchers exclaim. Not with all that body armor they wear, they won't, and besides, a couple weeks of walking the world and pitchers will accept they can't spin the ball the same way anymore and adjust.
   5. Karl from NY Posted: September 15, 2022 at 03:04 PM (#6096295)
All nude baseball. Tastefully done.

Well, Bartolo Colon for example would still have plenty of places to hide sticky stuff...
   6. Ron J Posted: September 15, 2022 at 03:10 PM (#6096296)
#5 Full body inspections before each pitch would capture a certain market. (In conjunction with the suggestion in #2)
   7. Cris E Posted: September 15, 2022 at 04:57 PM (#6096314)
OTOH I'm not sure that most manager requests for umpires to run their hands through pitchers' hair would be honored anymore.
   8. base ball chick Posted: September 15, 2022 at 08:26 PM (#6096365)

6. Ron J Posted: September 15, 2022 at 03:10 PM (#6096296)
#5 Full body inspections before each pitch would capture a certain market. (In conjunction with the suggestion in #2)

- count me in as a volunteer

cmere boy, ima inspect ALL of you for, um, sticky stuff, yeh

ima take them to the showers to get him all soaped up and clean when i find, um, substance, yeh

increase my interest in baseball. pace be so slow won't nobody notice the lil bit of extra time between pitches. yeh

- no teams of nekkid men. UCK

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