The baseball season is barely a week old, but questions of cheating, a problem that has plagued the sport for the past few years, have already emerged. The athlete reported On Thursday, Major League Baseball is examining the baseball balls Trevor Bauer used in his start for the Los Angeles Dodgers against the Oakland Athletics on Wednesday. The article cited unnamed sources who said the bullets were sticky and had visible markings.
Bauer, the 2020 National League Cy Young Award winner, responded sarcastically to the report on his Twitter account. He also noted that many baseballs were collected from games about baseball, not just from himself.
Finding the balls is part of a new policy that MLB introduced this year Balls from each game are examined together with statistical data on the spin rates to determine whether pitchers use illegal substances on balls contrary to the rules of the game. Although the policy is in its early stages, the discovery of illegal substances may result in fines or suspensions for players and club employees, including officers who assisted with misconduct.
MLB did not comment on any of the reports. However, a memo was sent to all teams in March detailing how on-site staff and equipment authenticators would be used in clubhouses, tunnels and dugout areas during games to search for foreign matter and maintain a rigorous chain of evidence, difficult as it may be may have to be done. It was also said that for the first time it would use statcast spin rate data to determine unusual upticks for individual pitchers.
Manager Dave Roberts discussed the situation ahead of the Dodgers’ game against the Washington Nationals on Friday.
“My understanding is that umpires collect baseball from all pitchers and balls that were in play to collect samples,” said Roberts. “I just hope our player isn’t singled out. That’s the only thing I want to protect myself from. “
Then he was asked if Bauer had been singled out.
“At this point, yes,” said Roberts. “That’s the only name I heard floating around.”
For over 100 years because the Spitball and other so-called freak deliveries were banned in 1920Pitchers have used clandestine means to slide various sticky substances onto baseballs to improve their grip, throw the ball harder, and improve movement through increased spin. It is generally accepted that the more spin the better for pitchers, with both fastballs and breaking balls.
Many believe that the practice is still widespread in the game. Some insist that sticky substances are a safety issue to avoid slippery balls from getting out of hand and hitting clubs.
Another way to increase the spin rate is to cut the ball or release it at a slight angle.
Bauer has publicly condemned the use of illegal substances to increase spin rates. Three years ago, he said he took part in laboratory experiments that found that pine tar on the surface of a baseball can improve spin rates by 300 to 400 revolutions per minute. He said at the time that no matter how hard he tried, he had found no other methods to achieve this type of drastic increase.
In 2018, when Bauer was pitching for Cleveland, he caused a storm when he appeared to suggest on his Twitter account that the Houston Astros acquired pitchers and improved their performances by getting the balls handled, which the Astros denied. (This was before revelations that the Houston Batters had illegally stolen signs the previous year.)
Bauer has compared the use of foreign substances on baseballs to steroids, arguing that either all pitchers should be allowed to use the same substance on the ball or that the rules should be enforced.
“If you just look the other way and let some people do it, the people who chose not to do it are at a competitive disadvantage,” he said at the time.
There were times when Bauer seemed almost to be arguing in the field and proving his point by making strange increases in his own spin rate. According to FanGraphs, Bauer’s normal spin rate on his fastball is around 2,250 rpm, which is the league average. But in the first inning of his start on April 30, 2018 – the day before his Twitter post that appeared to be trolling the Astros – his spin rate rose 300rpm in the first inning and then returned to its normal rate.
According to FanGraphs, Bauer’s spin rate continued to rise in September 2019 Process continued until 2020.
After MLB explained its new policy, Bauer asked how it could be proven that a substance on the ball was coming directly from a pitcher and not someone else, including another player.