MLB to begin crackdown on doctored baseballs

Jun 5, 2021; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Home plate umpire James Hoye (92) talks with fellow umpires Sean Barber (29) and Cory Blaser (middle) and Brian Gorman (right) during the game between the Miami Marlins and the Pittsburgh Pirates in the fourth inning at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

MLB is about to order umpires to enforce its rules against doctoring baseballs, per a report from ESPN, with a memo about to be distributed to coaches and players of all teams to detail how the crackdown will be implemented.

MLB’s plan will call for umpires to begin enforcing rules violations in the neighborhood of a week after teams are given the memo.

Substances like pine tar, pastes and glues can affect a pitcher’s grip and, in turn, the spin rate of a ball, making for harder biting breaking pitches and increased movement on fastballs.

An initial report on the matter was released in March, detailing some of the same specifics on foreign substances and rising spin rates.

Per the latest report, the delay to enforce the existing foreign-substance rules is by design, to give pitchers an opportunity to self-correct their actions and avoid potential punishments that could include suspensions.

According to a source in the ESPN report, “Nobody wants to see suspensions. But it’s going to happen if somebody is found with something.”

–Field Level Media