Baseball's newest scandal has come to light swiftly and is growing with each passing day. Over the course of the last month, it has been revealed that pitchers are using foreign substances to increase their spin rate across the league. It likely helps explain why there have been so many no-hitters already this season and the stunningly low batting average throughout baseball.
This issue has gotten to the point where Major League Baseball needs to do something about it, and they plan to do just that. Jeff Passan gave us insight into what actions the league will take to ensure no pitchers are using foreign substances as an illegal advantage: have umpires check pitchers, catchers, and infielders between innings.
Pitchers should obviously be checked, and catchers make sense, but infielders are a bit confusing. I rather doubt the second baseman is going to have Spider Tack somewhere on his person to grease the ball before tossing it back to the pitcher, if only because it comes with the slight risk that an increased spin rate makes an easy throw to first more difficult. It's also a bit elaborate of a scheme, even if the advantages in using such substances have become abundantly clear recently.
I find it difficult to discuss these matters without bringing up this scene in Major League, which has somehow become reality in the modern era.
Umpires are really MLB's only choice. I don't know if it'll be to the ump's discretion or if he'll get a call from league offices after analyzing broadcast tape and rpm or whatever, but there's no other way to enforce these rules. The question then becomes how the umpire proves foreign substances are in play and what happens if they catch someone in the act during the middle of a game.
All eyes are on baseball thanks to a rule-breaking epidemic again. It'll be quite interesting to see how they respond and what happens next.