Is the fight against spinning hopeless? Turnover rates around baseball are escalating again — almost back to where they were before baseball started enforcing foreign substance rules more actively in the middle of last season — perhaps due to the kind of evolution in sticky solutions that bowlers use to augment their stuff.
Indeed, this is only one of the ways that shooters are superior to their board counterparts at the moment, and some are increasingly frustrated about the situation.
“The pitchers have the ultimate advantage right now, with the sticky stuff, dead ball, and refreshments,” lamented one league hitter recently.
last June, The MLB has made a seemingly unprecedented decision to ramp up enforcement For a pre-existing rule about the use of foreign materials to process the ball. There was immediately a sharp drop in spin rates, but after just a couple of months, we started to see players acclimatizing to the execution method – mostly consisting of hat and belt checks – and restoring some old turn rates. About a fifth of the players who saw a significant drop mid-season They regained their role at the end of last year.
Therefore, baseball has boosted enforcement this season and is starting to touch the hands of shooters. Which of course led to some tension, at least with some shooters.
Madison Baumgarner fired right after a hand massage is funny pic.twitter.com/jDPbZV8iVL
– Welcome to the Ump Show (umpjob) May 4, 2022
The thinking is clear: stickier things lead to The largest increases in turnover (This, in turn, leads to the most dramatic increases in things) So a hand check should prevent someone from using a substance they can’t get rid of quickly. If you’ve ever touched pine tar or spider-tac – any Developed to help the powerful Catch the Atlas Stones during the World’s Strongest Man competitions – you know you can’t get rid of them easily. So, check the hands, and stop the crazy cheating. Logical.
But the shooters seem to have found something clear and erasable that gives them more of a boost than sunscreen and rosin, because turnover goes up in baseball. It’s almost back to where it was before the rollout began.
The highest and lowest point of average cyclic turnover in the turnover tracking era are both on this graph, so it’s not a y-axis trick: turnover took a huge dip after execution, and then started crawling back to previous levels almost immediately. Adjust the speed, because speed and rotation are interrelated, Creates the same graph. This is a real effect.
“It’s really obvious,” said the hitting coach who then brought up examples of bowlers who came to town recently and used some sort of substance.
But shooters didn’t go back to the extreme days of Spider-Tac. You have to go through 51 seasons before you reach the highest turnover of four stitches this year, then another 123 seasons before hitting the second-highest turnover of the year. The highest spins have been eliminated, but shooters seem to find almost a good thing.
A league source confirmed that this is something they are watching closely, but there is an obvious question they have to discuss as they consider moving forward. What can they do more? Consider this perhaps the most elaborate breakdown of a jug bed in recent memory: James Karenshak He was accused of using something in his hair to get spin, and his spin rates skyrocketed (almost to pre-enforcement levels). The referee literally touches his hair at the request of the opposing manager.
Jar accused of cheating through his hair, collapse pic.twitter.com/OlVx0Y1yUW
– Jomboy (@Jomboy_) September 13, 2022
“Of course it is,” said one of the league’s top hitters when providing evidence of the spin’s resurgence. “The referee’s checks are almost useless.”
But this check of judgment seems very accurate. If this was useless, what more could the Rulers do? This is basically the same type of abuse MMA Fighters get ahead of the fight, which is intimate and fairly comprehensive. However it does not seem to be working.
“I think they need to hire MLB “The officials who are sitting in the bunker or the command post and doing serious searches,” said one of the hitters.
Others think more eyes on the field can help.
“If anyone truly The bats coach said, noting that there are pitchers that have solutions on their pants that help dissolve sticky stuff before hand inspections.
The federation will not comment on any negotiations related to enforcement of the adhesives, and the league will not comment on any additional steps they may take to remedy the situation. Each potential additional solution has drawbacks as well.
There are already MLB officials going around the club keeping an eye on things like storing and rubbing baseballs, and also officials doing random scans of signal-stealing technology, but if they’re checking bowlers who have already gone down the hill, they’re unlikely to find much. This sounds very similar to what referees actually do.
Referee behind the pile who can step in and check the bowler between getting sticky things and throwing the ball might stop cold drills, but it would also be completely new to the sport. Baseball went to the quadruple referee system for all of its regular season games in 1952, at least, so it’s been a long time coming.
But before either party agrees to something more extreme, there’s another question to consider. Who cares enough to drive this kind of change?
The selective application of rules is not perfect in any context, but in a sport with unwritten rules there have always been slight differences between what is in the rulebook and what happens on the court. Baseball made a push to eliminate doping from the game, but doping produced different players and broke sacred numbers. Is the sticky stuff really in the same category?
Sport is trying to change the playing field and Increasing the balls in play at the expense of reducing the hits, so reducing rotation will help this effort. There is a correlation between turnover and results, but we’re talking about it one or two percentage points When we talk about removing the sticky stuff from the game, it has been proven by playing on the field. This is not a very effective way to reduce strike rates across the game.
Then there’s the initial interest in the whole thing. Although this story has already penetrated the national interest for a short time, it appears to have veered out of the spotlight lately, as this graph from Google Trends shows.
There is, of course, a group that still cares a lot: the big league hitters (and hit coaches), especially when it comes to the connection between turn rate and things and A more complex history of in-game pitch strikesAnd they’re not necessarily very happy to leave things as they are.
But in the face of the game’s limited usefulness, perhaps limited interest from fans, and difficult implementation decisions that are changing precedent, the path forward for baseball isn’t clear. Capping spin rates is probably well below the extremes we saw when Spider Tack reigned as good enough for the sport – if not for its hitter.
(Top photo of the judges examining Karenshak: Scott Galvin/USA Today)