According to multiple reports, including one from FOX Sports, Major League Baseball will wait until after the conclusion of the 2014 season to determine what role – if any – the use of pine tar will have in the game moving forward.
“When the year is over, we ought to look at all this,” Selig told the Associated Press Sports Editors on Friday.
The long debate regarding pitchers’ use of pine tar was reignited of late when New York Yankees’ right-hander Michael Pineda was suspected of having used the substance in a pair of starts against the Boston Red Sox. In the latter of the two starts, Red Sox skipper John Farrell sent the umpires to inspect Pineda, and it was quickly discovered he had pine tar on his neck, resulting in his ejection and ultimately, a ten-game suspension.
The use of pine tar by pitchers is something that appears to be common knowledge amongst the players themselves, with Pineda simply saying he was trying to get a better grip on the ball on a cool New England night. Regardless, several rules exist regarding “foreign substances” – including pine tar.
FOX Sports talked with MLB chief operating officer Rob Manfred about the matter in the article, and he offered these thoughts on the use of pine tar, specifically with reference to Pineda’s recent incident.
“I think the way that the rule has been enforced, as with lots of rules in baseball, is that when there’s a complaint, we do something about it,” MLB chief operating officer Rob Manfred said. “And that’s what happened here. I don’t think that this particular incident is all that different from other incidents that we’ve had in the past. We will like we do every offseason look at this issue, but remember, pine tar is one of a number of foreign substances, and you have to have a rule that fits for all of them. I don’t think there’s anything all that different about the Pineda.”
It’s near-universally accepted that both hitters and pitchers understand the need for pine tar in the game, but this seems to just be one of those rules that do not mesh well with most players’ attitudes.
Currently, Major League Baseball allows a rosin bag to be left on the back of the pitcher’s mound and players are expected to use that if they need to get a better grip on the baseball.