THE ANSWER. MLB rules forbid pitchers from applying any foreign substance directly to baseballs. Pitchers are allowed to put rosin, a sticky powder made from pine tree sap, on their hands to better grip the baseball, but aren’t allowed to put anything else on their hands because it could get on the baseball.
From BR Bullpen. A rosin bag is a small canvas bag filled with rosin powder (a sticky substance extracted from the sap of fir trees) used by pitchers to improve their grip on the baseball and keep their hands dry. The rules specifically allow the rosin bag to be kept on the field of play.
Rosin is legal in major and minor league baseball for pitchers to use. It is the only foreign substance that is legal for pitchers to apply to their hands to get a better grip on the ball. The primary purpose of rosin is to dry a pitcher’s hands to throw better via a better grip.
Pitchers will continue to be permitted to use a rosin bag on their hand, wrist and forearm to assist in managing sweat, but they are prohibited from applying it to their gloves and uniforms, nor are they allowed to combine rosin with any other substance, such as sunscreen.
Pitchers use the “sticky stuff”, like pine tar, to improve the grip and increase the ball rotation. With vaseline, it’s the other way around, the goal is to inhibit the rotation. Basically, it helps them throw one of the toughest pitches in baseball, the knuckleball.
Umpires check pitchers’ hands for illegal substances that could be used on the ball to gain an advantage during the game. In 2021 it was revealed that some MLB pitchers used a resin-based substance called Spider Tack during games.
Atop the mound is a white rubber slab, called the pitcher’s plate or pitcher’s rubber. It measures 6 inches (15 cm) front-to-back and 2 feet (61 cm) across, the front of which is exactly 60 feet 6 inches (18.44 m) from the rear point of home plate.
Rosin isn’t as sticky as some other substances that make it very easy to grip the ball. These sticky substances give the pitchers an unfair advantage by drastically increasing the spin rate of the pitch. The more spin a pitch has, the harder it is for a batter to make contact.
A pitcher rubs the baseball to increase tack and create friction, which gives pitchers more control over the baseball. Pitchers rub the baseball to scuff up a new ball’s cover in hopes of altering its weight or wind resistance.
Per MLB’s news release, it states that a pitcher may not “apply a foreign substance of any kind to the ball;” “deface the ball in any manner;” throw a shine ball, spit ball, mud ball, or emery ball; “have on his person, or in his possession, any foreign substance;” or “attach anything to his hand, any finger or either …
Rosin is used to keep pitchers’ hands dry and to improve hitters’ grip on the bat. Some pitchers use it irregularly on certain pitches; others use it constantly, as Pat Hentgen did.
What is rosin and how is it made? The base of rosin is tree resin that is collected from different types of pine trees throughout Europe, Asia, North America, and New Zealand. Tree resin is tapped in a very similar way to maple syrup. The trees are not harmed in this process and continue to live and grow as normal.
The memo, distributed to teams on Friday by MLB senior vice president of on-field operations Michael Hill, states that all pitchers should expect at least one inspection by umpires every time they appear in a game, either between innings or during pitching changes (starters will be subject to more).
First they used pine tar, which helped pitchers grip the ball harder and spin it faster. Later, they graduated to a combination of rosin (a sticky powder made from pine tree sap) and sunscreen, which produced a sticky layer on a pitcher’s fingers.
MLB rules deem pine tar illegal; Section 6.02(c)(4) of the rulebook states: “The pitcher shall not apply a foreign substance of any kind to the ball.” Section 6.02(c)(7) adds, “The pitcher shall not have on his person, or in his possession, any foreign substance.”
Skin cancer has been an overlooked danger for baseball players for years. Hall-of-Famers Johnny Bench and Mike Schmidt each had skin cancer, and now that MLB is enforcing its ban on sunscreen use among pitchers, skin cancer dangers may only worsen.
The spitball does not seem to have been outlawed in the Negro Leagues. Since Grimes’s retirement the spitball has been completely illegal in the majors, but some pitchers have been suspected of throwing it. Notable pitchers who admitted throwing the spitter include Preacher Roe, Don Drysdale, and Gaylord Perry.
An emery ball is an illegal pitch in baseball, in which the ball has been altered by scuffing it with a rough surface, such as an emery board or sandpaper. This technique alters the spin of the ball, causing it to move in an atypical manner, as more spin makes the ball rise, while less spin makes the ball drop.
It is the catcher’s job to stop any ball in the dirt from hitting the umpire. They appreciate it greatly and if you protect him, he will help you out with strike calls, or even borderline pitches when you are hitting.
Beginning in spring training games this weekend and throughout the season, umpires will inspect a pitcher’s hand, top and bottom, when conducting random between-innings inspections. Umpires can still examine a pitcher’s hat, belt and glove, as was done last season starting in June.
This area, known as the “three foot lane”, was created for the runner to run inside of on his way to first base, so he would not interfere with players fielding the ball. The only time the runner is allowed to go outside the three foot lane is to avoid interfering with the defense fielding the ball.
What was the answer? Move the pitchers back another five feet – to 60 feet, 6 inches. That’s what happened in 1893. The pitcher’s box was replaced with a 12-inch-by-4-inch slab, and, as with the back line of the box, the pitcher was required to place his back foot upon it.
Another name for the baseball field is the “diamond” because of the shape of the infield. The infield is the area from the grass line in to home plate. It includes all the bases and is where most of the action in the game of baseball takes place. The bases are perhaps the most important part of the baseball field.
Even during the hot summer months, pitchers do whatever they can to keep their arms warm between innings. You often see pitchers wrapping their arms in towels in the dugout to stay loose. And, of course, many wear jackets when running the bases.