With MLB cracking down on the use of foreign substances by pitchers, many fans have mixed options about how the punishments should look.
This is a purely subjective debate, as not everyone feels the same way about the use of foreign substances by pitchers.
Some fans take issue with it while others do not.
The league announced Tuesday how it plans to enforce its new policy:
This will go into effect with games beginning June 21 https://t.co/vT4W3YrgEZ
— Jen McCaffrey (@jcmccaffrey) June 15, 2021
In the same memo, MLB detailed its punishment plan.
In brief, a player caught with a foreign substance will be ejected from the game and subsequently suspended.
Further, teams will not be allowed to replace a suspended player on the roster.
That’s the decision the league came to, but is it the right one?
Here are three alternative ideas for punishments for MLB players caught with foreign substances.
Note: All of these punishments would go along with an ejection from the game.
3. Free Run
Some readers might not be crazy about this idea, but the thought of giving opposing teams a free run would send quite the message to pitchers who use foreign substances.
With this idea, a pitcher could cost his team a close game if he’s caught cheating.
Think about how big of a deterrent this would be for pitchers working in high-leverage spots.
On the basis of fear alone, it would be a good bet that many pitchers would stop using foreign substances because of this rule, not to mention the implications that a free run would have on a pitcher’s all-important ERA.
2. Free Runner
If you didn’t like the “free run” concept, maybe this one will appeal to you.
The league is no stranger to dishing out free runners (i.e. the extra-innings rule), so why not apply the same idea here?
A pitcher getting caught with a foreign substance could result in the opposing team being gifted a free runner on second.
The most interesting aspect of MLB's sudden policing of foreign substances, to me, is that it won't even attempt to parse the hazy line between the more conventional use (pine tar, sunscreen) and the more extreme substances (Spider Tack, Firm Grip). …
— Alden González (@Alden_Gonzalez) June 15, 2021
The pitcher would get tossed, then a different arm would have to come into the game and clean up the mess.
Seems safe to assume that no one in the locker room would be happy with the ejected pitcher after something like this.
1. Ineligible For End-Of-Season Awards
Look, MLB and the people who surround the game have made it perfectly clear where they stand on players who cheat.
Barry Bonds, who was arguably the greatest hitter of his generation, remains outside the Hall of Fame today due to his use of performance-enhancing drugs.
Pete Rose, who was arguably the greatest hitter of his generation, is still banned from baseball for life due to his gambling scandal.
If that’s the precedent (even if it is not right), let’s be consistent.
There’s no need to blackball a player’s entire career over something as minor as a foreign substance on a glove, but if a pitcher is caught cheating, why not make them ineligible for awards that season?
After all, the reason baseball frowns upon a player who is caught doping is because there is no knowing how that player would have performed without taking PEDs.
Couldn’t the same be said for a player that uses a foreign substance to gain an advantage?
If a player’s season is tainted, perhaps he shouldn’t be considered for end-of-the-year honors.