The Science Behind the Sticky Pitching Problem of Baseball

The Science Behind the Sticky Pitching Problem of Baseball

Major League Baseball has recently enforced the mostly-ignored rule in baseball games. The rule, which prohibits the use of any foreign substances by the pitchers, has been implemented more aggressively than ever. This rule has been in discussion for the last few seasons due to the increasing practice of using sticky adhesives among pitchers to grip the ball better. But on the other hand, experts speculate that enforcing this rule might lead to increased injuries among players.

The Reason Behind the Rule

Pitchers usually mix rosin with sunscreen to increase the friction between the ball and their fingers. This mixture helps them to control the ball, which is otherwise quite slippery. There is another popular sticky adhesive called Spider Tack. It has been found in almost every Major League game, enabling players to do extremely high-speed pitching, and making hitting the ball almost impossible! According to experts, pitching after using Spider Tack is equivalent to going at a speed of 90 mph. That’s why Sports Illustrated recently dubbed the use of these substances one of the biggest scandals in sports.

The Effects of the Rule

The Science Behind the Sticky Pitching Problem of Baseball

The new rule removes all foreign substances from pitching, from the simple sunscreen mix to the more problematic Spider Tack. The league is also encouraging the umpires to check the pitchers frequently, especially for anything sticky that might help the player grip the ball. If found violating the rules, the responsible players would be suspended. While this new rule may effectively reduce the spinning rate of the ball during pitching, making it easier to hit, it may also lead to a possible increase in injuries. According to experts, adapting to a new manual grip while maintaining the quality of pitching will create a reduction in friction. As the players have to change the motion and way of using muscles suddenly, it may cause an increase in arm, elbow, or ligament injuries among pitchers.