MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred Pleased With Early Results Of Foreign Substances Crackdown
MLB commissioner Rob Manfred
Rob Leiter/MLB

MLB’s plan to begin enforcing rules against the use of foreign substances came into effect this week, with pitchers now being subject to mandatory checks each game. Position players may also be inspected, but that’s yet to take place.

To this point, the process has gone smoothly, with no pitchers being ejected for applying banned substances to baseballs. However, that’s not to say everything has been smooth sailing.

An incident involving Philadelphia Phillies manager Joe Girardi and Washington Nationals ace Max Scherzer occurred on Tuesday, with the former asking umpires to check the latter during the middle of the fourth inning.

Scherzer didn’t take kindly to the request as he already had been cleared after the first and third innings. He nonetheless passed the examination and later exchanged words with Girardi, who was ejected after the inning.

While many believe the situation was a bad look for baseball, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred is looking past it and believes the early results of checking for foreign substances have been promising, via Brittany Ghiroli of The Athletic:

“My view is the first two days have gone very well. We’ve had no ejections (for foreign substances), players in general have been extremely cooperative, the inspections have taken place quickly and between innings. Frankly, the data suggests that we are making progress with respect to the issues (in spin rate) that caused us to undertake the effort in the first place. I understand the incident in Philadelphia was less than ideal, but that was one incident. And we expect that we will continue, as the vast majority of cases so far, without that kind of incident.”

As Manfred noted, the incident in Philadelphia appears to be an anomaly, as the majority of checks around the league have come without issue.

More importantly, MLB’s crackdown on the use of foreign substances seems to be working. Pitchers’ spin rates have dropped, and it has translated to offense being up across the sport.

Kelly agrees with MLB checking for foreign substances

While most pitchers have opposed MLB’s decision to check for foreign substances this season, Los Angeles Dodgers reliever Joe Kelly is of a different opinion. “I think it’s great,” he began.

“It’s one of those things that like if you were an NBA player, there’s no home court advantage anymore. Every single basketball court is the same. NFL, all the dimensions are the same. Baseball is still behind with all the fields not being the same dimensions; the only thing that’s the same is the mound.

“Now with everyone on the same playing field for the sticky stuff, it’s pretty much leveling the playing field for guys that don’t know how to use it or know how to use it, I think.”

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