The MLB has decided to crack down, yet again, on pitchers using a foreign substance to better grip the ball.

Brian Matusz Suspended

Recently, there have been two high-profile instances where pitchers were caught with a visible foreign substance — aka what looked like pine tar — on their arms: Baltimore Orioles’ Brian Matusz was ejected in the 12th inning against Miami and last week the Brewers’ Will Smith was tossed while playing the Braves.

And in both cases, the MLB handed down a harsh eight-game suspension to each pitcher. Now, both of these players did something illegal and therefore it is necessary to punish them. However, in the next offseason, the league office really needs to take a good hard look at this rule.

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First, is it fair to suspend these players, especially when half of the league does this: as last year’s high profile incident with the Yanks’ Michael Pineda showed, the rule is only enforced when it is extremely obvious.

And second, if pine tar helps pitchers, who throw upwards of 99 MPH, control the ball in cold weather, then why not allow it in the name of player safety.

Every year pitchers are caught doing this and after every incident baseball writers question the validity of the rule. Either change the rule completely or strictly enforce it throughout the league. But if the MLB was truly concerned with player safety, then it would do the former.

Both Will Smith and Brian Matusz plan to appeal their eight-game suspensions.

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