Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Trevor Bauer, the reigning National League Cy Young award winner, expressed his thoughts on Major League Baseball’s new guidance threatening suspensions for players who are caught with foreign substances while playing.
"Only one of the MASSIVE problems with what @MLB is doing. They’ve knowingly swept this under the rug for 4 years. Now they implement a knee jerk reaction to shifting public perception. Hard to hear them talk about ‘competitive integrity’ when they have no integrity to begin with," Bauer wrote.
Bauer said he thought the memo was fine but didn’t appear to appreciate it coming out in the middle of the season. He also took issue with the guise of baseball trying to protect the integrity of the game.
"Actively encouraged players to continue playing how that [sic] have in the past, that’s a lie. There’s no integrity in that. So save it with the competitive integrity bulls—t @mlb. All you care about is the bottom line of the business, and public perception negatively affecting it."
One of the new guidances being implemented is giving umpires the authority to do random spot checks of pitchers in the game. Umpires receive the broader ability to question whether a ball looks doctored and can inspect balls for sticky substances. Umpires can also inspect pitchers if they appear to be reaching into their glove for what the umpire suspects would be a foreign substance.
"While we’re at it, @mlb please tell us how umpires who have never been trained to know what a ‘sticky’ substance is or isn’t are supposed to automatically enforce that uniformly? What is the standard for what is ‘sticky’ and what’s not? Might want to clarify that, ya know, for the ‘competitive integrity’ of the game. It would be really unfair to have one crew think sticky is one thing and another crew to think it’s another thing. Rules are supposed to be uniformly enforced right? Almost like you should’ve used an off season to define that," he added.
Bauer said umpires were the "big winners" in the guidance.
MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said the new guidance was an effort to "level the playing field."
"After an extensive process of repeated warnings without effect, gathering information from current and former players and others across the sport, two months of comprehensive data collection, listening to our fans and thoughtful deliberation, I have determined that new enforcement of foreign substances is needed to level the playing field," he said.
"I understand there’s a history of foreign substances being used on the ball, but what we are seeing today is objectively far different, with much tackier substances being used more frequently than ever before. It has become clear that the use of foreign substance has generally morphed from trying to get a better grip on the ball into something else – an unfair competitive advantage that is creating a lack of action and an uneven playing field. This is not about any individual player or Club, or placing blame, it is about a collective shift that has changed the game and needs to be addressed. We have a responsibility to our fans and the generational talent competing on the field to eliminate these substances and improve the game."