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Why Can Pitchers Soil the Ball With Impunity

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  • Why Can Pitchers Soil the Ball With Impunity

    First guy I remember getting away with it was Kimbrel. Some guys still get busted. But guys will spray their arms or hands with bug spray or whatever openly and the umpires do nothing. Trevor Bauer said he knew he could increase his spin rate a lot, like a whole lot, if he soiled the ball.
    "No matter how great you were once upon a time — the years go by, and men forget,” - W. A. Phelon in Baseball Magazine in 1915. “Ross Barnes, forty years ago, was as great as Cobb or Wagner ever dared to be. Had scores been kept then as now, he would have seemed incomparably marvelous.”

  • #2
    This problem dates back to the beginning of the ban of the spitball. At that point, there were only 2 umpires on the field. All coaches, managers, executives, owners and Judge Landis at a later point turned a blind eye to an insufficient number of umpires. A player was beaned and killed, and the tradition lived on.

    It isn't new, and yet it is new. Of course, we have four umpires now and better still we have cameras from 45,392 different angles when You Tube is included, as well as instant replay. The real answer is the same as the reason for refusing to enforce rules governing the pace of play. Gutless umpires and baseball executives will not enforce written rules. They have fewer excuses than having only one peer on the field as the case had been in 1920, so your guess is as good as mine or any to be found.
    Catfish Hunter, RIP. Mark Fidrych, RIP. Skip Caray, RIP. Tony Gwynn, #19, RIP

    A fanatic is someone who can't change his mind and won't change the subject. -- Winston Churchill. (Please take note that I've recently become aware of how this quote applies to a certain US president. This is a coincidence, and the quote was first added to this signature too far back to remember when).

    Experience is the hardest teacher. She gives the test first and the lesson later. -- Dan Quisenberry.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by bluesky5 View Post
      First guy I remember getting away with it was Kimbrel. Some guys still get busted. But guys will spray their arms or hands with bug spray or whatever openly and the umpires do nothing. Trevor Bauer said he knew he could increase his spin rate a lot, like a whole lot, if he soiled the ball.
      I was curious when did pitchers discover that increasing spin rate was important?
      Strikeouts are boring! Besides that, they're fascist. Throw some ground balls - it's more democratic.-Crash Davis

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      • #4
        Cuz for whatever reason - nobody has ever cared nor will ever care. I guess nobody has ever thought it has much of an actual impact on the results. If somebody could quantify the impact -maybe the perception would change. This always makes me think about how people weigh the ethics of cheating vs. the results of cheating.
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        • #5
          Originally posted by Honus Wagner Rules View Post

          I was curious when did pitchers discover that increasing spin rate was important?
          Always. The term spin rate came around something like what the last ten or twelve years with statcast.

          I would imagine the umpires have been instructed not to enforce this rule. Why else wouldn’t they? I mentioned Kimbrel earlier and he famously had the pine tar on the bill of his cap.
          "No matter how great you were once upon a time — the years go by, and men forget,” - W. A. Phelon in Baseball Magazine in 1915. “Ross Barnes, forty years ago, was as great as Cobb or Wagner ever dared to be. Had scores been kept then as now, he would have seemed incomparably marvelous.”

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          • #6
            Spin rate was known before, it was called movement, break (for breaking balls) or lift/ride (for four seamers), the physics just wasn't really known or at least quantified.

            btw for spin rate you need sticky substances and a tighter grip, slippery substances decrease spin and don't really help unless you add a massive amount that makes the ball tumble.
            I now have my own non commercial blog about training for batspeed and power using my training experience in baseball and track and field.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by bluesky5 View Post
              First guy I remember getting away with it was Kimbrel. Some guys still get busted. But guys will spray their arms or hands with bug spray or whatever openly and the umpires do nothing. Trevor Bauer said he knew he could increase his spin rate a lot, like a whole lot, if he soiled the ball.
              Yet another argument in favor of the "robo-ump" strike zone. Frees up a human being to pay closer attention to this kind of thing.
              "It is a simple matter to erect a Hall of Fame, but difficult to select the tenants." -- Ken Smith
              "I am led to suspect that some of the electorate is very dumb." -- Henry P. Edwards
              "You have a Hall of Fame to put people in, not keep people out." -- Brian Kenny
              "There's no such thing as a perfect ballot." -- Jay Jaffe

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