With offense sinking to historic lows this season, MLB has started enforcing rules against the use of foreign substances going forward.
The decision has not gone over well with some players, who believe such drastic changes can only lead to more harm than good. Several pitchers opined that any new rules should have went into effect next season to reduce the chance of injuries occurring.
Others spoke to not being able to grip the ball as best as they can without the use of foreign substances. Some fear this could lead to more hit by pitches, although MLB’s recent study determined that sticky substances don’t necessarily correlate with player safety.
The league has reportedly enacted further change by shortening the window for teams to apply mud to baseballs before games, per Bob Nightengale of USA Today:
MLB informed teams last week that the window to apply Delaware River mud to baseballs has been reduced from five days to just two days before games, and no later than 24 hours before the first pitch. The hope is that this will reduce the variations of the feel and appearance of baseballs used in games.
The individuals who apply the mud, which started in Monday’s games, also no longer are required to use gloves, which was mandated during the 2020 season and the first 2½ months of this year because of COVID-19.
MLB hopes that by shortening the window in which mud can be applied to baseballs, pitchers find more consistency with the texture.
It remains to be seen how much of an effect — if any — there will be with individuals no longer having to wear gloves when applying mud to baseballs. At the very least, it is a return to the pre-pandemic normalcy.
Bauer proposes method to replace foreign substances
One of the more outspoken players against MLB enforcing rules against the use of foreign substances is Los Angeles Dodgers starter Trevor Bauer.
He recently proposed to replace foreign substances with one that is approved by the league that gets sprayed on baseballs every inning to give them a consistent feel.
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