For one night only, pitchers will not be inspected for sticky stuff — and it will be on a grand stage.
MLB has decided it will not check pitchers for illegal sticky substances at the All-Star Game, according to a source at the league office.
MLB views the July 13 Mid-Summer Classic as an exhibition game and, therefore, why subject pitchers to inspection in that forum? It also would clearly create further conversation around a hot-button issue when MLB will want attention focused on the biggest stars in the game, such as Ronald Acuna Jr., Shohei Ohtani and Fernando Tatis Jr.
Concerned that greater spin created by illegal sticky substances was a central contributor to the offensive decline in the sport, MLB first stepped up monitoring of the sticky substances and then empowered umpires to do regular checks of every pitcher in a game. Batting average was at .236 and OPS at .707 when word surfaced from the owners meeting on June 3 that greater enforcement was coming. Since then and through Tuesday, it was .245/.731.
Offense usually improves with warmer weather. But the data shows that there has been a league-wide decline in spin this month. The greater the revolutions on a ball, generally, the more gravity-defying ride it has on fastballs and bend on breaking balls.