The greenish substance inside the glove of Boston Game 1 starter Jon Lester has become the source of next-day controversy and conjecture. What was it and was he “cheating?” But there was no controversy during the game, a key point regarding whether the substance impacted the game or whether there will be repercussions.
“There were no complaints from the Cardinals or observations from the umpires about the baseball doing anything funny or irregular,” MLB vice president Joe Torre said. “We will ask around, but without any complaint I don’t know what else you can say.”
Though rules prohibit pitchers from using foreign substances, they routinely use a mixture of substances such as pine tar, sun lotion, resin and water to improve their grip on the baseball. The practice is especially common in cold weather, when baseballs are more slick to the touch. The temperature last night at Fenway Park was 49 degrees for the first pitch. Players accept the practice as part of the game as long as the pitcher is discreet with his substances and that the substances don’t cause the baseball to move abnormally.
Said one former player, “I would rather have a pitcher have a grip on the baseball than have it slip out of his hand at my head.”
Improved camera technology and the internet have caused on old practice to get new examination. Other pitchers to come under public scrutiny for the practice without coming under any discipline from MLB include Kenny Rogers in the 2006 World Series and Clay Buchholz and Mariano Rivera this year.