Pine Tar

May 5, 2014

When a Yankee pitcher was recently caught with pine tar on his neck, it really was a chuckle!  Evidently, he is a slow learner because that is the second time he has been caught with pine tar.  At least in the old days pitchers would try to hide all their illegal pitching aids.  Joe Niekro always hid sandpaper somewhere in his uniform, and who knows all the locations his older brother, Phil, used to use.  Phil even used tobacco juice to make the ball dip.

It is now legal for a pitcher to wet his fingers to get a better grip on the baseball.  Rosin has always been legal.  Evidently, some pitchers feel that they can’t made the ball “dance” to the plate unless they use something illegal.  Sandpaper causes the ball to rotate differently because of the roughened surface.  I was never totally sure what some of these liquids and gels were supposed to do to the ball’s flight.  Obviously, it would allow the release from the pitcher’s hand to go differently than dry fingers.  What it did after that has always been debatable.

Too bad a pitcher today has to have a perfect baseball to throw.  If you want to scuff it, throw it in the dirt and then use that ball again.  As you know, the umpire always throws out a new ball when one hits the dirt.

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