The main storyline of the 2021 MLB season has been pitchers allegedly cheating by doctoring the ball with foreign substances. The MLB has been collecting balls recently to get a feel for how many pitchers are coating the ball with foreign substances in order to gain an advantage. That information has led the league to detail specific punishments for cheating pitchers.
ESPN MLB insider Jeff Passan reported the news via Twitter on Tuesday afternoon.
The foreign-substance memo is out, as detailed on @espn last night, and here are the two parts of the league’s release that stand out: pitchers are responsible even if their teammates load up balls, and teams can’t replace suspended players, which makes a 10-game penalty harsher. pic.twitter.com/qnYdhpG4zR
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) June 15, 2021
The bullet points include a mandatory 10-day suspension for any pitcher who is caught doctoring the ball. This extends to catchers, who could, in theory, doctor the ball before returning it to the pitcher. Both players would be suspended for 10 days in the latter case.
Even more interesting is the decision to bar teams from replacing said suspended player(s). This new ruling, apparently, would force teams to perform with less-than-full rosters. There may be loopholes surrounding this part of the punishment, though. They will remain to be seen until a manager exploits them.
Concerning doctoring the balls, many players have all but admitted to using a combination of substances to increase the spin rate of pitches. A higher spin rate translates to a harder ball to hit, due to more movement, especially on off-speed pitches.
This method of cheating has been deemed a problem as strikeouts skyrocket and league average plummets. Batters are putting the ball in play less and less, leading to a frustrated fan base and dominate pitching talent. The MLB has clearly found evidence that some players are indeed cheating, if they felt so strongly as to enact this punishment system. Fans will have to wait and see if it makes a difference in the pace and excitement of the offensive portion of the game.
Featured Image courtesy of Rob Tringali/Getty Images
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