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Pine tar

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There were actually two incidents in 1975.    One also involving the Yankees, where Munson was called out for having too much pine tar, but no protest was made.

Then, later that year, John Mayberry hit a home run with a tarred bat, the umpires refused to penalize him, the Angels protested and the same Les McPhail affirmed the umpire's decision.

https://web.archive.org/web/20130203005623/http://www.hardballtimes.com/main/printarticle/the-pine-tar-games/

 

On September 7...in Anaheim, Royals designated hitter John Mayberry swatted two home runs using a slathered bat...The umpire crew refused to penalize Mayberry for his tarry bat, so the Angels took that step that Bill Virdon never did, protesting the game to AL president Lee MacPhail.

MacPhail's first move was to examine, not Mayberry's bat, but the rule in question. The Playing Rules Committee had added the rule in 1955, with the purpose of preventing bat contact from discoloring baseballs. As MacPhail recalled in 2003, "The clubs were losing a lot of balls because the pine tar was getting on them, and they'd have to be thrown out in batting practice and everything else."

It was in this spirit that MacPhail denied California's protest. He dismissed the technical matter of how many inches of pine tar the bat had, calling instead on the original intent of the rule that didn't touch on competitive balance. For a protest to stand, the act in question must have adversely affected the protestor's chance of winning. MacPhail found no such adverse effect in a baseball being potentially discolored as it left the ballpark. Mayberry's home runs, and Kansas City's win, stood.

With that, the focus on the pine tar rule drifted away. The Rules Committee amended rule 1.10(b) the next year to specifically mention pine tar and to state that bats breaking this rule were to be removed from the game. That was virtually all the attention anybody paid the rule for years. MacPhail's decision held as the final word—a word he would end up having to repeat.

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The MLB rule book 

 

The bat handle, for not more than 18 inches from its end, may be covered or treated with any material or substance to improve the grip. Any such material or substance that extends past the 18-inch limitation shall cause the bat to be removed from the game.

NOTE: If the umpire discovers that the bat does not conform to (c) above until a time during or after which the bat has been used in play, it shall not be grounds for declaring the batter out, or ejected from the game.

Rule 1.10(c) Comment: If pine tar extends past the 18-inch limitation, then the umpire, on his own initiative or if alerted by the opposing team, shall order the batter to use a different bat. The batter may use the bat later in the game only if the excess substance is removed. If no objections are raised prior to a bat’s use, then a violation of Rule 1.10(c) on that play does not nullify any action or play on the field and no protests of such play shall be allowed.

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10 hours ago, Guest Broadview1 said:

Why are the Dodgers allowed to have pine tar so high up on their bats

It's part of the conspiracy to have the teams from each coast in the WS this year.

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3 hours ago, noumpere said:

It's part of the conspiracy to have the teams from each coast in the WS this year.

Ratings baby!

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8 minutes ago, Kevin_K said:

This is why...

 

Note the youthful Mr. McClelland...

Twas the correct call. Umps got tossed under the bus by the league.

 

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51 minutes ago, Rich Ives said:

Twas the correct call. Umps got tossed under the bus by the league.

 

Agreed... and it was a savvy move by Billy Martin to hold the info until it hurt the most.

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21 hours ago, Rich Ives said:

Twas the correct call. Umps got tossed under the bus by the league.

 

 

20 hours ago, BT_Blue said:

Agreed... and it was a savvy move by Billy Martin to hold the info until it hurt the most.

Kind of sort of - this rule had already once before, in 1975, been protested and ruled the same way by the same AL president (in the first case the league sided with the umpires, who let the home run stand) - so though the rule book hadn't been updated in that time, the precedent had been set. 

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Contrary to what was posted earlier, American League president Lee MacPhail did not throw the umpires involved in the “George Brett pine tar game” under the bus. Here are a couple quotes attributed to MacPhail from an article written by Shane Tourtellote in July 2012--

He took care to fix no blame on the umpires, citing instead the imprecision of the Official Playing Rules. Responsibility for that he laid with “those of us in administrative positions in baseball, including myself.”

"It is the position of this office that the umpires' interpretation, while technically defensible, is not in accord with the intent or the spirit of the rules and that the rules do not provide that a hitter be called out for excessive use of pine tar," MacPhail said at a press conference in New York yesterday.

"This was a very tough decision for me," MacPhail said. "Although the umpires are being overruled, it is not the fault of the umpires--rather it is the fault of the official playing rules."

"One of our troubles in baseball is that we have an awful lot of rules written in black and white in our little book. This is just one case--and I can mention others--where, unfortunately, even though the rules are there in black and white, interpretations of those rules are made which do no more than confuse the issue."

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On 10/21/2018 at 5:46 AM, noumpere said:

It's part of the conspiracy to have the teams from each coast in the WS this year.

No kidding. lol  Heard that so much during the league series.  Starbucks is anti Christmas this year.

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3 hours ago, umpstu said:

No kidding. lol  Heard that so much during the league series.  Starbucks is anti Christmas this year.

I'm all for this... however, I just reloaded my Starbucks card. Which will probably get me all the way through Christmas. So...yeh...

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