Major League Baseball issued a memo last week to every club about the enforcement of their rules regarding the use of foreign substances on baseballs that began Monday.
While MLB is reportedly hoping to avoid levying punishment by letting public pressure force pitchers to stop, the league is willing to suspend players who don’t follow the mid-season rule change.
The pressure on MLB has continued to build as players across the league, including Trevor Bauer and Mike Trout, have called on the league to enforce a fair playing field. Justin Turner also joined those voices with a hope for consistency in every aspect.
“I think at the end of the day all we want is a fair playing field across the board for everyone and everyone to have the same opportunities, I guess is the best way to put it,” Turner said.
“So whatever the league had to do, as long as it’s fair and is across the board and is the same for everyone, I think that’s the main goal here.”
One argument players have made in favor of the use of sticky substances is that pitchers will be more inaccurate and increase the risk of hitting a batter. However, according to MLB’s research, the use of sticky substances has not led to a decrease in hit-by-pitches this season.
Despite MLB’s conclusion that banned substances don’t increase safety, Turner called on the league to been transparent in their process so both pitchers and hitters can be safe while playing the game.
“I certainly think they need to be able to feel the ball and there needs to be some level of tackiness for them to be comfortable. I don’t think anyone wants to see balls slipping out of hands and flying all over the place,” he said.
“I’m not too involved in this whole process because it doesn’t really affect me directly since I’m not a pitcher. I just hope the process is kind of an open door process and it’s not set in stone, and we kind of work together and figure out something that works for everyone.”
Turner also called on consistency from MLB in regarding the manufacturing process of baseballs. MLB has been consistently changing the process for how baseballs are made, which has been affecting the game on both sides of the ball.
“Whether it’s the sticky stuff or the baseballs and how they’re making the baseballs. Again, just consistency, I think, is all anyone can ask for. Make all the balls the same, make whatever substance pitchers can use the same, and let everyone have the same playing field so it’s a fair game across the board and it’s not favoring any one group, I think is the goal,” Turner reiterated.
“I don’t like that you see studies coming out that the balls are varying one year to the next year and whatnot. Let’s pick a ball and let’s stick with it and not change it up. Again, with the substance for the pitchers to get a grip, I don’t want it to be a closed-door and just say they’re not allowed to use anything.
“I hope some smart people can get together and figure out something where pitchers can be comfortable gripping the baseball but also doesn’t take it too far.”
Bauer finds flaw in MLB’s plan
Bauer recently posted a video on Twitter asking fans to vote whether a baseball that was sticking to his hand was because of an illegal substance.
After the voting, Bauer revealed the ball stuck to his hand as a result of rosin — MLB’s approved substance — and sweat.
With umpires having full power to determine if a pitcher is cheating and players having no appeal process, MLB is creating a situation where players could get suspended for following the rules.
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