The baseball community, from fans to players and reporters, has now spent the better part of 24 hours dissecting a comprehensive memo distributed to all MLB teams outlining new, stricter punishments for use of illegal foreign substances including “Spider Tack” and combinations of rosin and sunscreen. Per the memo, players found applying any of these substances will, beginning June 21st, be subject to an automatic 10-day suspension with pay.
The memo was met with significant pushback from pitchers including Rays ace Tyler Glasnow, who raised a number of interesting points in a fascinating monologue delivered Tuesday. Among his many arguments, Glasnow lamented MLB’s decision to enact these changes midseason, forcing pitchers out of their routine and potentially contributing to an elbow injury he suffered pitching against the White Sox earlier this week. Others, such as former left-handed specialist Jerry Blevins, feel MLB made a mistake lumping in sunscreen and rosin—comparatively benign substances used for added grip—with more nefarious products associated with higher spin rates.
All are fair points and no doubt warrant further analysis, but come on—the punishment is a 10-day suspension WITH pay. For all the moaning from pitchers, frustrated at having to reacclimate after years of loading up balls with whatever they pleased, a 10-day ban with no financial repercussions is a slap on the wrist.
Between guaranteeing a Bucks victory in Game 5 (which, like most of Chuck’s “guarantees,” fell flat) and downing God knows how many Krispy Kremes, it was an eventful Tuesday night for longtime TNT personality Charles Barkley on Inside the NBA. Between bites of glazed donut, the Hall-of-Famer took a dig at MLB, mocking the laughably light punishments levied to players found in violation of the new foreign substance policy.
“I just want to give a shout-out to Major League Baseball. I saw the new thing where if you catch pitchers cheating, you’re going to suspend them for 10 days with pay. Way to stick it to those cheaters!” deadpanned Barkley, holding back laughter. “That is some harsh, damn punishment.”
In a sport where cutting corners comes with the territory (between the Steroid Era and Houston’s much-maligned sign-stealing scandal, you could argue cheating is part of baseball’s identity), will a 10-day timeout really discourage pitchers from doctoring balls? The embarrassment of being labeled a “cheater” could be a deterrent for some, but based on his dismissal Tuesday night, Chuck doesn’t sound too convinced.