If, as the pitchers say, dabbing pine tar and/or sunscreen on one’s arm or the bill of one’s cap and then applying it to a baseball is merely to get a better grip — and if, as hitters say, said better grip is helpful for hitters too — then it seems silly that players have to resort to stealth in order to obtain that better grip.
I sometimes wonder if it really is a better grip pitchers seek or a little somethin’ extra which well help them get batters out. And if, in turn, batters say they’re OK with it because their own pitchers are doing the same thing. But let’s take everyone at their word and agree that this is a sensible thing for pitchers to want. If so, why can’t they do it without having to risk suspension for being too obvious about it?
That’s something Red Sox manager John Farrell wants to know too. From WEEI:
“I would like to see an approved substance that pitchers can use . . . I think any time the game loses players for eight to 10 games, I think it makes us as an industry look within,” Farrell said. “If a number of pitchers are putting themselves at risk and the belief is a widespread number of pitchers are using it, why would we not look to improve the game? Nobody wants to see pitchers sidelined.”
Farrell added that the ball, as manufactured, is slippery and that something is needed for grip. Again, assuming pitchers aren’t really just trying to get extra movement on a ball Gaylord Perry-style, he’s got a great point.