How Enforcement Will Work, Sizable Spin Drops Already, Big Names Implicated, and Other Sticky Bullets

Social Navigation

How Enforcement Will Work, Sizable Spin Drops Already, Big Names Implicated, and Other Sticky Bullets

Chicago Cubs

This is the week when concrete steps to crack down on the use of foreign, grip-enhancing substances will begin, which means there’s a bullets-level volume of stuff to touch on.

Among your sticky bullets …

⇒ Per multiple reports (ESPN, The Athletic) MLB will be communicating with teams and umpires this week about what the new structures and protocols are going to look like, with enforcement reportedly beginning around June 21, or one week from today. Those enforcement protocols will lean heavily on random checks for foreign substances through the game, with virtually all pitchers getting checked at least once (position players will get checked, too, to make sure they aren’t being used as a mule, so to speak).

⇒ You can speculate – correctly, in my view – that MLB has been slow-playing this rollout of enforcement precisely so that pitchers have a long period to adjust to their new reality, and thus no one has to actually get busted, live, during a game. That has meant significant spin rate drops for various pitchers over the past week, as we’ve seen lots of accounts noting on Twitter. Some big names, and some of my thoughts on that:

⇒ The drops in spin have been enough to register across the whole body of pitchers:

⇒ And the results on the hitting side might be showing immediately, too:

⇒ Remember Bubba Harkins? The former Angels clubhouse attendant who was very briefly “the bad guy” in this conversation is speaking out. It’s not that he didn’t do it – he supplied lots of pitchers, including big names, with custom-made sticky stuff – it’s just that he doesn’t understand why he’s the only guy who has been singled out:

⇒ I know we’re hearing only one side of the story there, but it sure sounds like Harkins got screwed, given the culture of the sport. And wow, the pitcher names who were purportedly reaching out to him for stuff. Stars among stars.

Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.