Sticky Baseballs: The Physics of Major League Baseball’s Latest Scandal

Close-up of a baseball mitt and ball

Cheating in baseball is as old as the game itself, and pitchers’ modifying the ball’s surface is part of that long history. Adding to the lore of cheating is a new scandal involving pitchers who may be applying sticky substances – what players refer to as “sticky stuff” – to baseballs.

Major League hitters are striking out this season nearly one in every four times they step to the plate, compared with one in six times in 2005.

As a sports physicist and longtime baseball fan, I’ve been intrigued by news reports that applying sticky substances to balls can make pitches spin faster. And if pitchers can throw their fastballs, curveballs and sliders with more spin than in previous years, their pitches will be tougher to hit. How does science explain all this?

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Judge Rejects Bid to Move MLB All Star Game Back to Georgia

A federal judge Friday ruled against a nonprofit that sued Major League Baseball for moving its All Star game from Atlanta to Denver. 

“U.S. District Judge Valerie E. Carponi ruled against a not-for-profit organization representing small businesses, saying a lawsuit had failed to provide proof that its members have suffered any injuries by the decision to move the game,” Associated Press reported. 

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MLB Sued for Moving All Star Game from Atlanta

A Texas nonprofit is suing Major League Baseball (MLB) after the league moved its 2021 All Star game from Atlanta to Denver, Colorado in protest over a recently-implemented voter ID law.

“A 21-page lawsuit by conservative small-business advocacy organization Job Creators Network, filed Monday in federal court in New York, demands the immediate return of the game to Atlanta and $100 million in damages to local and state small businesses,” The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. “The suit also seeks $1 billion in punitive damages.”

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Barry Loudermilk Says Major League Baseball’s Sudden Decision to Move All-Star Game Has Left Atlanta Business Owners Bewildered

U.S. Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R-GA-11) said this month that many Atlanta business owners realized controversy surrounded Georgia’s voter integrity law Senate Bill 202, but Major League Baseball’s ultimate reaction to it still astonished them. MLB officials pulled their scheduled All-Star Game out of Atlanta.

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National GOP Targets Black-Owned Georgia Media, Describes How Major League Baseball Decision Hurt the State

Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel this month said her organization will hold U.S. President Joe Biden and other Democrats accountable putting out false narratives about Georgia’s voter integrity law. McDaniel, in a press release, said Democrats’ distortions cost Georgia business from Major League Baseball and, subsequently, millions of dollars.

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New Greater Georgia Billboard Blames Democrats and Major League Baseball for ‘Costly Misinformation’

Greater Georgia members have launched a digital billboard campaign highlighting Major League Baseball’s decision to move the All-Star game out of Georgia, “driven by Democrats’ falsehoods about Georgia’s Election Integrity Act.” Greater Georgia members announced the campaign Monday.

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MLB Moves All-Star Game to State that Requires Voter ID

After ditching Atlanta in protest over a new voter integrity law which requires voters to present identification if they wish to vote absentee, Major League Baseball decided to move its All-Star game to Colorado, a state that also requires voter ID. 

In order to register to vote in Colorado, voters are required by law to present some form of government issued identification. The only exception to that rule is a current “utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck, or other government document that shows the name and address of the elector,” with “current” defined as issued within the previous 60 days before registering to vote. 

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Donald Trump Says Georgia’s Voter Integrity Law Didn’t Go Far Enough, Faults Brian Kemp and Geoff Duncan

Former U.S. President Donald Trump criticized Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp and Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan this week and suggested Democrats in the state got the better of them. “Too bad the desperately needed election reforms in Georgia didn’t go further, as their originally approved bill did, but the governor and lieutenant governor would not go for it. The watered-down version, that was just passed and signed by Governor Kemp, while better than before, doesn’t have signature matching and many other safety measures, which were sadly left out. This bill should have been passed before the 2020 Presidential Election, not after,” Trump said in a written statement.

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‘Reeks Of Hypocrisy’: Rubio Calls Out MLB over Deal with Chinese Media Conglomerate

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio accused Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred of hypocrisy on Monday over the league’s relationship with a Chinese media conglomerate that has backed Beijing’s opposition to pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong.

“Since Major League Baseball now appears eager to use its ‘platform’ to demonstrate ‘unwavering support’ for fundamental human rights, will you cease your relationship with the Chinese Government?” Rubio wrote in a letter on Monday to Manfred.

The Republican accused Manfred of “woke corporate virtue signaling” for pulling this year’s All-Star game out of Atlanta in protest over a Georgia voting bill passed last month.

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Georgia’s Cobb County Says it Will Lose $100 Million From MLB Moving All Star Game

Braves baseball stadium

The Cobb County Travel and Tourism Bureau said that it estimates it will miss out on $100 million in revenue, after Major League Baseball (MLB) was brow-beaten by political activists into moving its 2021 All-Star game from Atlanta. 

“This event would have directly impacted our county and the state, as visitors spend their dollars on local accommodations, transportation, entertainment and recreation, food and retail throughout the county,” the bureau said. “This would have been a big boost to Cobb businesses and help with recovery after the COVID-19 pandemic.”

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Brian Kemp, Others, Tell Corporate America They Will Not Retreat on Georgia’s Voter Integrity Law

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp on Saturday told Major League Baseball officials and executives at Coca-Cola and Delta Airlines that he will not buckle under to their pressure. Kemp, flanked by several supporters at the Georgia State Capitol, said he will not do away with the state’s new voter integrity law, Senate Bill 202. The governor also told state residents that Democrat and former gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams is lying about the new law and fundraising off of her lies.

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S.C. Representative Moves to Strip MLB of Antitrust Exemption After Stance on Georgia Voting Law

South Carolina Rep. Jeff Duncan announced on Friday his intent to propose legislation that would strip the Major League Baseball association of its antitrust exemption, claiming the league’s aggressive stance against Georgia’s recent election reform bill has rendered it open to more federal oversight.

The MLB announced on Friday its intent to move the 2021 All-Star game out of Georgia over that state’s recent package of election reforms that included voter I.D. requirements and other security measures.

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Trump Blasts Major League Baseball for Pulling All-Star Game from Georgia, Calls for Boycott

Former President Donald Trump has released a statement Friday night about the latest action of Major League Baseball through his Save America PAC, which he formed shortly after leaving office in January.

“Baseball is already losing tremendous numbers of fans, and now they leave Atlanta with their All-Star Game because they are afraid of the Radical Left Democrats who do not want voter I.D., which is desperately needed, to have anything to do with our elections,” the statement reads. “Boycott baseball and all of the woke companies that are interfering with Free and Fair Elections. Are you listening Coke, Delta, and all!”

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Gov. Brian Kemp Blasts Major League Baseball ‘Cancel Culture’ Decision to Pull All-Star Game Out of Georgia

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp on Friday evening said Major League Baseball officials caved “to fear, political opportunism, and liberal lies.” This, after MLB officials announced earlier in the day that they will relocate the 2021 All-Star Game and MLB Draft, originally scheduled for Atlanta, to another location. They specifically cited Georgia’s new voter integrity law, Senate Bill 202.

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Hollywood, Major League Baseball, and PGA Could Try to Punish Georgia for its New Voter Integrity Law

A new Georgia voter integrity law that requires, among other things, voter ID on absentee ballots, has prompted talk that Major League Baseball and the Professional Golfers’ Association might cancel major events in the Peach State. And at least one major Hollywood director said he now wants nothing to do with Georgia.

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