Have you ever seen a pitcher rub the ball up before he pitches? Do you know why they do that? There are a few reasons pitchers might choose to rub up the baseball.
In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at some of those reasons and discuss Why Do Pitchers Rub the Ball. So, let’s get started!
Why Do Pitchers Rub the Ball?
Pitchers Rub the Ball for a Variety of Reasons
There are numerous reasons why pitchers choose to rub up the baseball before pitching it.
- First, let’s talk about what rubbing up baseballs entails. Generally, pitchers rub the ball with a substance-covered glove to rough up its surface. This roughness can have several advantages, including creating more movement on the ball as it leaves the pitcher’s hand.
- Rubbing up balls can be an effective way for pitchers to control how breakable their pitches are. Slider pitchers will often choose to add more wax or rosin to the ball to make it more difficult for hitters to see the pitch’s movement and guide their swings. Because of this, they typically use a glove that has been treated with these substances in advance.
- When you hear announcers say that a pitcher is “getting a good grip” on the ball, they’re referring to the same thing. Pitchers can improve their grip and control by rubbing balls against their glove until it feels how they want it to feel in their hands.
- Pitchers might rub up balls because doing so helps them remove any dirt particles from the surface. By rubbing the ball with a glove, pitchers can remove anything that might have stuck to its pores or seams.
- Pitchers will sometimes “warm up” balls by rubbing them in the outfield before entering a game. This is particularly common on cold days when a pitcher needs more time to get the feel of a baseball from his hand.
- Pitchers can sometimes get too much grip on the ball, which makes it fly off their fingers in undesirable ways. Rubbing up balls can also help remove excess moisture or dirt that might make it difficult for them to hold onto the ball properly.
- Pitchers typically rub up baseballs when they’re throwing a bullpen session. This is because they need to be able to throw multiple pitches with the same ball without it breaking down too quickly.
When you see pitchers throwing in the outfield during batting practice, they typically won’t have a glove so they can pick up any balls that come their way.
Is It Illegal to Rub the Ball?
In MLB, it’s illegal to intentionally alter the physical properties of a baseball.
But what does this mean? If a pitcher were rubbing up a ball with sandpaper or some other similar tool, they would be breaking this rule! For pitchers and hitters alike, all they need is a simple glove to create the desired effects.
It is illegal for them to intentionally damage the baseball. This means that pitchers cannot scuff up the ball by dragging it against the ground.
Luckily for pitchers, one of these issues is easily avoided. It’s only illegal to scuff up a baseball with your fingernails or fingers, so in most cases, players will simply use pine tar or sunscreen to help them grip the baseballs more effectively!
Therefore, pitchers aren’t breaking any rules by rubbing balls with their gloves. They’re simply doing it to improve the way they grip and throw the ball.
What Are the Benefits of Rubbing the Ball?
Rubbing up balls can be helpful for pitchers in a variety of ways.
- It’s an easy way to create more movement on the ball as it leaves the pitcher’s hand. This is particularly useful for breaking ball pitchers like curveballs or sliders because their pitches typically feature lots of late breaks that hitters struggle to track.
- Pitchers might choose to add extra grip to the ball so it’s harder for hitters to see. By wearing down the ball’s outer layer, pitchers will often make their pitches more difficult to track. Lighter baseballs are also better for breaking pitches because they’re more difficult to hit with power.
- Rubbing balls can help pitchers release their pitches more easily. By creating a tacky surface on their glove, pitchers can get a strong grip and reduce the way the ball slips out of their hands.
- Pitchers will often warm up balls by rubbing them in the outfield before entering a game. This is because they need to be able to throw multiple types of pitches with the same ball.
- You might have noticed that pitchers will go through many baseballs during a bullpen session or a game. Rubbing up balls beforehand ensures they don’t have to waste time removing dirt from old balls when it’s more efficient to use new ones instead.
Are There Any Risks of Rubbing the Ball?
If a pitcher rubs up a ball incorrectly, it could lead to some pitching problems.
For starters, if they add too much grip, then it’s harder for them to control their pitches. Over-gripping the baseball might also cause more balls to fly off the fingers in the wrong way.
On the other hand, if they don’t add enough grip then it might be too difficult for them to create movement with their pitches. Even worse, hitters will have an easier time hitting balls that are coming straight toward them!
Therefore, pitchers need to know exactly how much grip is required for their pitching style and type of ball.
So, now you know the risks of rubbing the ball!
How Do Pitchers Rub the Ball?
To create more movement on the ball, most pitchers will simply grip it with their glove. If they want lighter baseballs that are easier to break then they’ll typically hold the ball near the stitching with their fingers.
On the other hand, if they require more grip then they’ll hold it between their thumb and fingers.
However, some pitchers will experiment with adding extra ingredients to their gloves. Some examples include pine tar or sunscreen which are typically applied to the palm.
Meanwhile, scuffing up baseballs is another common practice for creating more movement on the ball as it leaves the pitcher’s hand. Pitchers must follow the rules about how to rub up a baseball.
Rubbing balls is one of the simplest and most effective ways for pitchers to improve their performance during a game!
The History of Rubbing a Ball in Baseball
Rubbing up baseballs has been a common practice in baseball for many years.
Hall of Fame pitcher Gaylord Perry famously claimed that he used to doctor the balls. According to him, he would have done anything possible to gain an advantage over hitters!
Meanwhile, Don Sutton supposedly had a method for distorting the ball so that it would behave erratically during his pitching motion.
He also admitted to using pine tar and sunscreen on his glove to get a better grip when throwing sliders and curves!
Nevertheless, there is no doubt that most pitchers rub up baseballs to increase movement on their pitches.
Rubbing the Ball Is Still Being Practiced Today?
Yes, pitchers are still rubbing up baseballs.
Nowadays there are many different types of pitches that pitchers can throw, including cutters, curveballs, and changeups which all require different levels of grip. Therefore having a tacky glove is almost essential for major league pitchers to make their ball move!
Rubbing the ball in baseball is a great way for pitchers to increase their performance and help themselves win games!
In the end, it’s a simple answer. Pitchers rub their balls to make them slippery and difficult for batters to grip to throw off pitches. It’s not about superstition or anything else as many people believe, but rather a smart strategy that can be applied outside of baseball too. So next time you’re pitching an idea at work, try rubbing your ball before presenting.
Therefore, rubbing the ball in baseball is a common practice for pitchers to make their pitches more difficult to hit!
Q: In terms of creating lighter baseballs, what’s the best way for pitchers to hold the ball?
A: To create lighter baseballs for better movement, most pitchers will simply grip it with their glove. However, some pitchers will add extra ingredients such as pine tar or sunscreen to their gloves. If they want lighter baseballs that are easier to break then they’ll typically hold the ball near the stitching with their fingers. On the other hand, if they want more grip then they’ll hold it between their thumb and fingers.
Q: How do pitchers apply pine tar or sunscreen on their gloves?
A: Generally speaking, pitchers will place a dab of either substance in the palm of their pitching hand before rubbing up baseballs!
Q: What does throwing a spitball mean?
A: In baseball, a spitball refers to using saliva or another substance to alter the ball’s trajectory. The pitch is now illegal but that didn’t stop pitchers from using it in the past!
Q: What does a scuffed baseball mean?
A: In most cases, a scuffed ball has been treated with some sort of foreign substance to change its movement. Although it’s considered cheating, many pitchers have admitted to scuffing the baseball during their careers!
Q: How do you get a pitcher out?
A: In baseball, there are 3 ways to get a pitcher out. These include striking them out with pitches, catching the ball when it’s thrown back, and tagging them while they’re running bases!
Q: What is baseball rubbing mud?
A: Rubbing mud is a dark brown substance that’s ground up and used on the baseball to absorb extra moisture. Even though it’s not as popular as it once was, you can still find rubbing mud in some parts of the world!