MLB’s Foreign Substance Crackdown is a Circus

It’s 2021 and the MLB has decided on its latest crackdown – foreign substances used by pitchers. Last night, Seattle Mariners pitcher Hector Santiago was ejected from the game for a foreign substance found on his glove – he certainly won’t be the last.

Photo courtesy of The Boston Globe

New protocols just went into effect last week, stating that stating pitchers will be subjected to ejections and 10-game suspensions if caught using foreign substances. Penalties will rise for repeat offenders. This rule has actually been in place the whole time, and it has been enforced in the past, but now it’s a circus show. While many are applauding the crackdown and stating how great it is for the game and how much more fair the game is now because of this crackdown (guess who’s not thrilled about it – pitchers), I can’t help but roll my eyes at this entire thing. Wow what a time to be a baseball fan – we’re watching a guy who makes millions of dollars get his glove confiscated on live television.

Over the years, Major League Baseball has implemented a ton of changes. Some for the better, like the PED crackdown, and some that were just ridiculous and comically short lived, like when they tried to force batters to keep one foot in the box at all times. Some of these rules are for safety, like the home plate collisions – although I have opinions about that as well. Usually, the MLB harps on trying to quicken the game so that viewership remains high and ticket sales can continue to burn a $12-per-domestic-beer sized hole in spectators pockets. The only thing this is quickening is my reach to the remote control to switch to another channel (LOL I don’t have cable).

We already have instant replays to wait on. Sure, instant replays have played a huge role in the MLB since it was implemented but that can sometimes delay a game up to 10 minutes. Now we have to stop the game to watch umpires closely examine what may be a foreign substance on a pitchers glove? Yeesh. I’ve been watching baseball all my life. I know it’s a slow game and I know you can truly only appreciate it if you’re a certain type of person (I am) but even I’m here to say this is boring and unnecessary.

It’s all for “the good of the game”, yes, but you’re changing the way the game has been played since the beginning. A little bit of vaseline is not going to make a difference if you’re good enough to hit a ball or not. It certainly hasn’t stopped Mike Trout from hitting .333 so far this season. We’re taking the human element out of baseball with instant replays and now we’re micro-managing pitchers. Baseball has been massively micro-managed in recent years and honestly, it’s becoming such a bore.

If you want people to keep watching baseball, stop stopping the game. Who is worried about “tarnishing” the game’s image? Batters? Sports writers? The average baseball fan certainly isn’t losing sleep over it. We just want to watch our team win and not on-field exams. Watching umps fight with pitchers and managers is not a good look for the MLB.

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