If you are a true Baseball fan then you must be wondering while watching Major league Baseball (MLB) why Baseball players use Pine Tar. There is an adhesive brown substance on their helmets, hands, & hats sometimes. Pine Tar is mainly used for improving the grip on the bat while batting. Pine tar caused a lot of discussions & debates in the Baseball game about its usage.
Pine tar is very effective for the better griping of wooden bats. If you have a solid & strong grip on the bat then you will be able to control the factor where the bat’s barrel is heading. Ultimately, this allows you to swing the bat through the hitting zone with a higher speed.
Why Baseball Players use Pine Tar?
We get Pine Tar from the high carbonization of pine wood. The color of the Pine Tar is brownish-black and it is an exceptionally sticky material. You can often see it on the grip of light-colored bats of the hitters and also on the helmets. It helps the hitters to get a good grip on the Baseball bat. Hitters’ performance can be optimized with a comfortable grip. Pine tar on the wooden bats is allowed for the batters in Major League Baseball (MLB).
There are many hitters in Baseball that use batting gloves and Pine Tar so that they can reach the maximum level of efficiency. Limitations are there for the quantity of pine tar used by the batters. There are also some restrictions about how high up the Baseball bat this sticky material can go.
The most irritating thing for the batters while swinging the bat is poor quality grip. If there is even a little bit of discomfort for the batter on the grip then his performance will affect a lot. They need confidence while facing 95 miles fastballs and Pine tar gives them confidence and it ensures that they will have a comfortable grip on the bat.
Why Baseball players use Pine Tar on Helmet?
Many hitters use Pine tar in their batting helmets too. Usage of Pine Tar on the helmet does not provide extra protection. Between the pitches, they will touch their helmets and ensure that they have enough pine tar on their batting gloves.
Ultimately, this also provides a reliable source to hit the fastballs effectively with a better grip. Pine tar on the helmet can also be a cool-looking factor for some players, so they put it just for this reason.
Is the usage of Pine Tar legal or illegal?
Legality is the major concern when you are doing something out of the box, in Major League Baseball (MLB) Pine tar is legal with some restrictions. Players must have to follow the rule of 18-inch. This 18-inch rule states that players can spread the tar up to 18 inches to improve their grip. But make sure it should be not the closer to the barrel end of the bat as if someone does it, he will violate the MLB rules.
Usage of the pine tar for a pitcher is not allowed in Baseball. Some pitchers hide Pine tar in some hidden places and try to get the competitive edge and sometimes they get caught. There are incidents in the past where opposing team members or managers informed the umpire about the illegal use of Pine Tar by the pitchers.
In little league Baseball, usage of Pine Tar is not allowed at all for the players. The same is the case with amateur players. However, as far as high school & college level games are concerned, it is allowed to use Pine tar for the batters the same as it is allowed in MLB.
Does Pine Tar really work?
It is a common thought among people who have less knowledge of baseball that Why Baseball players use Pine Tar, they use it because it works especially to get a better grip. Pine tar really works as it provides a better grip not only to the batters but also to the pitchers. Although pitchers are not allowed to use Pine tar in Baseball. If some pitcher does this in the MLB, he will break the rules of MLB. This should be followed strictly as the better team should win the match for the betterment of the game. Utilization of the Pine tar for the batters is also restricted by the 18-inch rule.
It’s also pretty good for the safety of the people at the stadium. As Pine tar provides better grip to the batters, so they can hold the bat with good control. Otherwise, the poor grip can lead to the breaking of the bat and it can go anywhere in the stadium. When wooden bats break and barrel files during the game, anything can happen, so Pine tar provides safety in this regard to some extent.
Do pitchers hide Pine Tar?
Yes, some pitchers hide Pine tar, they hide it in their gloves or on their glove hand wrist. Sometimes if they use a less amount they get away with it. There are quite some incidents in the past where batters thought that there is something unlawful, so they informed the umpire and umpires went to the pitchers to check whether there is Pine Tar or not.
Incidents of Pitchers using Pine Tar illegally
One famous incident is of George Brett in the 1980s, opposing team manager challenged that Brett has used the Pine tar illegally, the umpire investigate and the decision came in favor of the manager.
One recent incident is of Michel Pineda of New York Yankees, he was accused of placing Pine tar on his neck during the contest against Boston Red Sox. HD cameras caught him and the umpires’ decision was against Michel.
Some other ways of cheating by the Pitchers
Pitchers try to spin the ball through any means or any method. This extra movement of the ball even a little bit can give them a competitive edge in the game. Although it is illegal to adopt any method of using Pine tar, pitchers violate the rules sometimes. Some illegal methods used by the pitchers are listed below:
Illegal use of Sand Paper
A pitcher can hide sandpaper in his glove so that it can be used for scuffing the ball. This can be helpful in the extra movement of the baseball.
Illegal use of thumbtack
A pitcher in the 1980s was accused of using a thumbtack for scuffing the ball. Opposing team members pointed this out and the umpire removed him from the game.
Illegal use of emery board
This illegal method was used by the pitchers to change the baseball’s cover by removing a ball’s portion. The emery board or nail file is used for this purpose.
How to Use Pine Tar in Baseball effectively
Pine Tar is used by the batters usually on the bat and the helmet. We will see how it can be used on a bat and helmet to make it count.
How to Use Pine Tar on a Baseball bat effectively
The first step of Pine Tar’s usage on a Baseball bat is to properly clean the bat’s grip area. You clean it to ensure that even a coat of pine tar can be put down on the 18-inch allowed space near the bat’s handle.
Pine tar is taken from the canister and you rub it on the grip of the bat up and down with the Pine tar stick. This is done until you found a pretty nice flat layer of Pine tar.
Rag is used when you are dealing with liquid Pine Tar. First, clean the Baseball bat then put some Pine tar on the rag. Grip the handle of the bat end with this rag and by using twisted motion apply the Pine Tar onto the bat’s grip.
How to Use Pine Tar on a Baseball helmet effectively
Putting Pine Tar on the Baseball helmet is quite easier than putting it on the Baseball bat as there is no restriction of an 18-inch rule. You just have to take the Pine tar stick or a rag having Pine tar and rub it on the helmet’s front side where there is usually a logo. Also, apply the rag having Pine tar to the crown of the helmet.
Pine Tar on the Baseball helmet does not have a direct advantage for the batters but it can help them indirectly to make sure they have Pine Tar on their gloves when touching the helmet. It’s a good approach to apply the Pine tar to the above-mentioned areas of the Helmet as there is enough surface area. This ensures the hitters that if they touch this one of two areas of the helmet then they will be able to get the required Pine tar on their gloves during batting.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
How Pine tar can be removed from the Baseball helmet?
Isopropyl alcohol can be used for the removal of Pine Tar from the Baseball helmet. It should be applied to a rag and then wipe on the helmet. This will take time and also a lot of effort is required for it for complete removal of the Pine Tar from the surface of the helmet.
How Pine tar can be removed from the Baseball bat?
Rubbing alcohol should be used for the removal of Pine Tar from the Baseball bat. An old t-shirt or a rag can be the perfect source for this purpose. Wipe up & down the grip of the bat with the rubbing alcohol-coated rag until all Pine Tar is removed from the surface of the bat. You will find the brand new bat in front of you after almost 15 to 20 minutes of effort.
The answer to the query, ‘Why Baseball players use Pine Tar’ is mainly related to the better grip on the baseball bat. Pine Tar is pretty much good for the batters as it is a valuable tool used for the improvement of the grip. It should be used legally by the hitters. Better grip ultimately leads to a more effective swing that leads to good contact with the ball. Pitchers should not use it as per the rules of the game.
Usage of Pine tar should be according to the 18-inch rule as far as batters are concerned. Rules must be followed in this regard because it is good for the game of baseball that the better team should win the contest.
I am Harry La, CEO for BaseballHub.Net – a baseball website and I am also a Baseball Writer. I am responsible for the publication of such articles as game recaps and previews, player interviews, coaching updates, and in-depth previews of upcoming games or series.