With so much attention and controversy surrounding the problem of illegal substances, there have already been indications that this pressure could have an impact on the ground. (To cite two high profile examples, Trevor Bauer and Gerrit Cole have had recent drops in their turnover rates.) It’s safe to assume that the MLB would rather avoid the spectacle of suspending multiple pitchers or even a pitcher for tampering with baseballs, although the league is also considering taking over. closes in case of violation of the rules. As another source tells Olney, “ No one wants to see suspensions. But it’s gonna happen if someone is found with something. »
The most visible application of the rule will be in the form of field checks, as the referees will perform around 8-10 checks per game for foreign substances – essentially anything that can be applied to a baseball, to except rosin. – both on pitchers and position players, with the idea that a position player could secretly sneak something to their teammate on the mound. As to how ‘visible’ these checks will be to fans who are not present at the stadium, the referees will likely perform their checks between sets, when there is already a natural pause in the action.
Olney’s article also contains the interesting (and perhaps disturbing) detail that MLB and the Players Union have not had much direct communication about the foreign substances situation. “Kind of like separated spouses speaking through a mutual friend,” Olney notes as the league and MLBPA discussed the issue using the umpires union as an intermediary. Following last year’s disagreements over the shortened season and the lack of agreement on a universal DH in the last offseason, this is the latest note of contention between the league and the players, which certainly does not bode well ahead of collective bargaining deal talks this winter.