Major League Baseball is heading down their stretch one with intriguing postseason races including the AL Wild Card, the NL West, the NL East and much more here in September. With the season being back to normal, it’s offered plenty more storylines this season than last.
The biggest? Sticky substances.
MLB cracked down on stick substances during the middle of the season, punishing pitchers if they are caught with the in-game checks. For one former pitcher, Dave Stieb talked about the substances and he doesn’t think things are much different. Here is what he said via Betway about the substances and the game today:
A big factor in this is the widespread use of illegal sticky substances, which help pitchers grip the ball better and spin the ball more.
Many of these substances, like Spider Tack, are modern inventions that were not available to Stieb when he played.
“All I ever used was the rosin bag,” he explains. “My fingers were almost black by the end of the game because I went to it a lot to give me that grip.
“We always heard about some of the old timers using hair gel so the ball would sink, or using sandpaper or nail file to scuff it up.
“But I was never aware of anyone who I played with, or against, using anything like that.”
The former pitcher is happy that they are cracking down on it but he does think there should be some different measures due to it not being fair for the batter in this situation.
“It makes sense to me to ban this stuff, because these are foreign substances,” he says.
“I do think they need to be checking pitchers when they come into the game, though. If I’m a batter and I strike out on a nasty pitch, but he gets busted for sticky stuff, I don’t get my pitch back. I struck out, but he cheated.
“They should be checking pitchers when they come in the game, not after. Because that’s beside the point. That’s after the fact.
With the season coming down to a close, Stieb is keeping an eye on the races, awards and certain pitchers. He mentioned Max Scherzer, Gerrit Cole, Jacob deGrom, Shane Bieber, Walker Buehler as pitchers he likes to watch, and three of them are in a legit race.
But for Stieb, he believes he would have won more games with the analytics in today’s game.
Despite being one of the best pitchers around for much of his career, Stieb never won a Cy Young Award. He came closest in 1982, when he finished fourth in the voting.
A lack of individual awards certainly didn’t help his Hall of Fame case, as Stieb was cast from the ballot in his first year of eligibility in 2004.
Had the current level of analytics and sabermetrics been around then, however, Stieb would surely have got the awards he deserved.
“I love analytics, because it would’ve made me look better!” he says. “When I played, it was all about wins and ERA. That’s it. That’s all anybody cared about.
For now, he’s just enjoying the game and the races down the stretch.
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