Baseball has yet another problem that is right on the edge of getting out of control. Players around MLB have talked about pitchers using illegal grip-enhancement substances, and it’s becoming more and more public. Most recently, a Los Angeles Angels ex-employee revealed that he had mixed substances for a few stars around the league, though no Dodgers players were named.
Fans and experts go back and forth on the issue, and each side has its own argument. Some argue that it should be illegal and enforced, while others believe that the rule is ignored for a reason. Some hitters even insist that they would rather the pitcher be able to grip the ball than risk getting drilled with a 100 mph heater. As it turns out, former Dodgers legend Eric Gagné might agree with that angle.
We caught up with Gagné this week and talked all things Dodgers. We also asked him about the recent report linking stars to a foreign substance scandal. Gagné said that he was in favor of helping pitchers keep the ball conditions consistent.
As long as it’s done for the safety and for the greater of the game, that’s all I care about. Does it give an advantage? Yeah, but do you want to get hit in the head in Colorado and then go to Florida, it’s a totally different ball. So if they give me the consistency of the ball, I know exactly what I’m getting in Colorado or what I’m getting in Flroida.
The cold weather is often a reason why pitchers use grip enhancements in MLB. The cold weather dries out hands and makes the ball slicker, often resulting in pitchers not being able to control nearly as well as they should. For instance, a Dodgers pitcher who throws in LA on Monday and then New York later in the week is going to have very different experiences with grip.
The consensus around the league seems to be ‘just make a rule and get it figured out’. The gray area that pitchers operate in right now is just too complicated and looks incredibly shady to the average fan. Dodgers fans have not had to hear much about it in recent history, but it is an issue around the league.
What do you think? Should pitchers be allowed to use grip-enhancers the same way an MLB hitter does? Or should it just be a sweeping ban across the league? Let us know in the comments below!
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