pine tar is a gooey, sticky blackish material produced by the charring of pine wood under high temperature conditions
however, most of us probably first heard of pine tar through baseball.
Reading: Why is pine tar illegal
For years, players have used it to improve their grip, often against the rules of the game.
The use of pine tar has frequently been a source of controversy in baseball, eventually forcing MLB to address it directly and in detail in its rule book.
still, even today, many fans don’t know that the proper answer to the question is that pine tar is illegal in baseball.
is pine tar illegal in baseball?
The question is that pine tar is illegal in baseball and it depends on who uses it.
Right now, hitters can use pine tar to a limited extent, while it is prohibited for pitchers.
pine tar rules for hitters
In the MLB, batters can use the pine tar to improve their grip on the bat. However, there are some restrictions.
rule 3.02(c) of the official baseball rules states, paraphrasing it, that the handle of the bat may be covered with a grip-enhancing substance no more than 18 inches from its end.
If the bat is found to have such a substance, pine tar, for example, beyond that 18 inches, that bat will be removed from the game.
The rule further explains that if the substance exceeds 18 inches, the umpire will order the batter to use a different bat.
If the excess pine tar is removed, the bat can be used later in the game.
There is a logical reasoning behind this rule. if there is pine tar in the barrel, then the bat will make contact with the ball for a little longer.
This results in extra spin of the ball, giving the batsman an unfair advantage.
When the well-hit ball has some extra recoil, it will travel farther and rise higher. additionally, more topspin shots down the line will cause them to fall to the ground.
pine tar rules for jars
Pitchers’ use of pine tar and similar substances is regulated by Rule 3.01 (3.02) of the Official Baseball Rules.
states unequivocally that no player may intentionally discolor or damage the baseball by rubbing it with any foreign substance.
handling of pine tar is also regulated by rule 8.02(b).
here, the league says the pitcher is prohibited from holding anything in the hand, wrist, or fingers.
This includes foreign substances, for example, pine tar.
the latest rule change regarding the use of pine tar
Prior to the start of the 2021 season, mlb decided to introduce even stricter rules regarding the use of foreign substances such as pine tar by pitchers.
As the illegal use of grip enhancers spreads throughout the league, MLB will step up enforcement of the current rules.
In the memo sent to all teams in June 2021, the league announced that any player caught using the illegal substance against the rules will be immediately ejected from the game.
The team will not be able to replace the player on the roster. in addition, said player will receive a 10-day suspension.
the pine tar incident
The use of pine tar has caused some controversy in the league over the years.
Perhaps the most famous incident occurred on July 24, 1983, during the game between the Royals and the Yankees.
the yankees were leading a run in the ninth inning when the royals’ george brett hit a go-ahead two-run home run.
billy martin, manager of the yankees at the time, demanded that the umpire inspect brett’s bat for excessive use of pine tar.
and, in fact, the umpire ruled the bat illegal with pine tar in excess of the 18-inch limit.
as a result, the home run no longer counted and brett was the last out of the game.
However, after outcry from the royals, the call was rescinded and the home run reinstated.
play finally resumed 25 days later in the top of the ninth inning with the royals winning 5-4.
This incident resulted in the rule change ensuring that challenges must be voiced before a play occurs.
benefits of pine tar for the batter and pitcher in baseball
last updated on 09-01-2022 10:55 / affiliate links / amazon product advertising api images
how pine tar benefits batters
To be comfortable handling lightning-fast pitches, a hitter must have a solid, steady grip on the bat.
Modern bats, made from aluminum or composites, often feature special grips on the end of the bat.
However, that is not the case with the wooden bats used in mlb, so hitters have to find another way to improve their grip.
Most of them accomplish this by applying pine tar to their bats.
The solid grip provided by pine tar makes the bat easier to handle and gives hitters more confidence at the plate.
plus, it increases the safety of everyone on the baseball field.
Sometimes, after a swing and a miss, the bat can slip from the batter’s hands and put everyone around him at risk.
This is especially important on hot summer days when everyone is sweaty and the bat can easily slip out of your hands.
how pine tar benefits pitchers
Although not allowed to use it, some pitchers still illegally apply pine tar to balls before pitching.
Balls manipulated in this way give pitchers more control and allow them to put extra spin on the ball.
as mlb changed the constitution of official balls, the use of pine tar and similar substances has become even more popular with pitchers.
The new balls are slipperier and have lower seams, making them more difficult to control, and some pitchers are happy to use whatever advantage they can find.
Ball manipulation even has a few fans among hitters.
They feel that when the shooter has better control of the ball, it also makes their own job easier.
This way they can get a better idea of where the ball is going.
also, when pitchers have a better grip, they are less likely to throw wild balls and hit hitters, which could cause serious injury.
Most gamers agree that pine tar is definitely helpful when it comes to producing optimal performance.
The legality of its use has changed over the years and we are likely to see some more changes in the future.
At the moment, beaters are the only ones that can use the sticky stuff.
However, there has been some talk of introducing a universal goo that would help pitchers with their grip.
there is a fine line between grip and performance improvement.
The league will have to dance along those lines to help players perform at their best while maintaining a level playing field for all.