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Baseball’s sticky situation

Major and Minor League players dealing with MLB new enforcement
Published: Jul. 1, 2021 at 1:53 AM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Get ready for some fireworks this weekend as the Smokies will be here for the July 4 holiday, but the fireworks throughout Major League and minor league baseball has been about doctoring up the baseball, using some sticky stuff to maybe add some spin to that ball.

Regarding this hot topic, Tennessee Smokies pitcher Wyatt Short told WVLT Sports, “I used to use it, I feel like most people used to use it before they started cracking down on everything. I like the grip on days like today where it’s 91 degrees with 75% humidity, and sweat just pouring onto your hand,”

Smokies pitching coach and former big league pitcher Jamie Vermilyea adds, “If the sun’s out, you’re still allowed to use sunscreen and rosin so I mean there’s still a certain way, but I think there should be like a universal stick whether it’s something on the back of the mound or something that they can hand out to teams where guys can just gain that control,”

A bit of a different take from newly acquired Tennessee pitcher Brendon Little. On the subject he says, “I know a couple of guys are a little bit frustrated that they did it mid season but you know it is good to really level the playing field for everyone. I know a lot of guys they just want to have a better grip on the ball, but some people do really benefit from the added spin.”

Yes, getting a better grip on the baseball could work is an advantage for the pitcher, but not all pitchers and ballplayers look at it that way. Short adds, “We’d rather use it so we don’t hurt anybody, mostly. Very few people use it for the whole spin thing and to make their stuff sharper.”

Vermilyea agrees with Short saying, I think it’s mostly for grip and hit a guy in the head and then I mean, we all know what happens there but catchers try to use it so they can get a grip on the ball throw down to second and infielder’s so they can make a good throw across the field. I mean, it’s not just to gain spin it’s to gain control.”

Sticky baseball’s or not the Smokies are home for the July 4 weekend with fireworks planned for after the games on Friday, Saturday and Sunday in Kodak.

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