TAMPA — MLB is trying to avoid a sticky mess in the future.
Chris Young, recently elevated by MLB to a senior VP to oversee on-field operations and umpire development, has been touring camps in Arizona and Florida to deliver the message that Rule 8.02 is going to be enforced this year, The Post has learned. That is the edict that deals with pitchers taking foreign substances to the mound and applying them to the ball.
Over the years a gentlemen’s agreement has evolved throughout MLB in which teams don’t challenge each other about sticky substances that pitchers deploy — such as pine tar or thick sunscreens — because so many pitchers are using something beyond the legal rosin bag. The stated reason is that the balls are slick, especially in cold weather or dry environments such as Coors Field, plus they are inconsistently rubbed down in the pre-game with approved mud designed to take the sheen off the balls. Even hitters are generally comfortable with the substances that pitchers use since they want especially the hard throwers to control their pitches to lessen the dangers in the batter’s box.
However, the analytics revolution has brought increased awareness…