What Does Pine Tar Do to a Pitch?

Pine tar is a sticky, dark brown substance used in baseball as a method of enhancing the grip on a baseball or softball. It is also used to modify the action of pitches, making them move differently and thus more difficult for a batter to hit. In this article, we’ll explore what pine tar does to a pitch and why it’s such a valuable tool when it comes to playing the game.

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What Is Pine Tar?

Pine tar, also known as Stockholm tar or wood tar, is a thick, dark brown substance that has been used for centuries in various applications, such as boat building and roofing. In baseball, it is used to improve the grip on a baseball or softball, as well as to modify the action of a pitch. Pine tar is made by heating wood in an oxygen-deprived environment. This process produces a sticky, viscous liquid that has a strong, pungent smell.

How Does Pine Tar Affect a Pitch?

Pine tar can affect a pitch in two different ways. First, it can increase the grip a pitcher has on the ball, allowing them to throw with more speed and control. Second, it can modify the action of a pitch, making it move differently and thus harder for a batter to hit.

The Grip

The primary benefit of pine tar is its ability to increase a pitcher’s grip on the baseball or softball. This is achieved by the sticky substance adhering to the ball and making it easier to hold, which in turn allows a pitcher to throw with more speed and accuracy.

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Modifying the Action

Pine tar can also be used to modify the action of a pitch, making it move differently and thus more difficult for a batter to hit. This can be achieved by applying the tar in various areas on the ball. For example, a pitcher can apply it to the seams of the ball, which will cause it to move in different directions. Similarly, tar can be applied to the surface of the ball, creating an uneven texture and thus making it more unpredictable for a batter to hit.

The Use of Pine Tar in Baseball

The use of pine tar in baseball is widespread, and is often seen as a necessary tool for pitchers in order to gain a competitive advantage. However, there are rules that dictate how much pine tar can be used, as well as how it can be used. According to the MLB rulebook, a pitcher is allowed to use pine tar to improve the grip, but cannot use it to create an unfair advantage by altering the action of the ball.

Conclusion

In conclusion, pine tar is an invaluable tool in baseball, as it allows pitchers to throw with more speed and accuracy due to increased grip, as well as modify the action of a pitch to make it harder for a batter to hit. While there are rules in place to prevent its overuse, pine tar is an essential part of the game and an important part of a pitcher’s arsenal.