Former White Sox Doesn’t Think Baseball Has A Sticky Stuff Problem
One of our all-time favorite guests, Greg Pryor, joined the show to talk about the biggest story in baseball right now.
Major League Baseball is in a bit of a pickle. Pretty much everyone in the game was aware that pitchers have been using foreign substances on the ball for decades to get a better grip on the ball. It has always been against the rules but everyone, players, managers, and umpires, has let it slide for a few reasons. The main reason seems to be "it's been going on for decades, why stop it now?" That at least seemed to be the umpire's stance. Hitters had another, very reasonable, explanation why. They felt that if a pitcher has control of the ball, he has control of where it gets thrown. They didn't want guys throwing 100 MPH to lose control up and into their faces.
That was how baseball operated for basically the last 50 years. Pitchers would use some pine tar or other sticky substance to improve their grip and no one really cared. The most popular way to improve your grip was to just mix some rosin from the rosin bag on your arm with sunscreen and you created a substance that would significantly improve your grip. All was good.
Then some dorks introduced some science to analyzing pitches and realized that getting more spin on your pitches was more important than even throwing a few extra miles per hour. How do you get more spin on the ball? Make things even stickier. That culminated into an "arms" race to find the stickiest substances they could bring out to the mound.
That's when they turned to the world of Strongman competitions. A substance called Spider Tack was created to help the giant men carry enormous stone boulders without dropping them. Spider Tack found its way into an MLB locker room and the rest is history. Word spread quickly about the super sticky substance and soon it was everywhere and guys were not being discreet about it at all.
That's an amazing video that breaks it all down.
Well, now that these pitchers have made the game of baseball more boring than it already was by striking out every 4th batter, baseball wants to do something about it. And in unsurprising fashion, they have made pretty much everyone mad by the way they handled it.
Instead of addressing it during the last offseason or waiting until next year, they said "you have to stop using it by Monday." This isn't enough time for pitchers to adjust to a newly enforced rule. Injuries have already happened and more are probably on the way.
Greg Pryor played in the big leagues for 10 years with the White Sox and the Royals. He actually took over at 3rd base after George Brett was ejected for pine tar, so this isn't the first time he's been asked about sticky stuff on the diamond.
Greg has some interesting takes on the situation. He's not quite convinced that baseball should do anything about it all. Even after the season. Cheating has been going on as long as the game has been played. Greg recounts the numerous ways he saw guys cheat 40 years ago and it's all part of the game.
Greg has more stories than we will ever have time for, so we'll definitely have him back on soon.
He's also very excited about the success of the White Sox this year, and his advisory, friend, hardest manager he's ever played for, and author of the forward to Greg's book, Tony LaRussa, seemingly win over this young team.
You can get a signed copy of Greg's book, The Day The Yankees Made Me Shave from his website here.