Why Do Pitchers Put Vaseline on the Ball?

The art of pitching a baseball is an incredibly complex one, and many pitchers use a variety of techniques to gain an extra edge over their opponents. One of the most mysterious techniques is the use of Vaseline on the ball, which is a practice that has been around for decades. While there is no definitive answer as to why pitchers put Vaseline on the ball, there are a few theories that might explain the phenomenon.

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What is Vaseline?

Vaseline is a petroleum-based product that has been used by people for over 100 years. It is widely used to soothe and protect skin, but it is also used in a variety of other ways. In baseball, Vaseline is often used to make the ball more slippery, which can give the pitcher an advantage.

How Does Vaseline Affect the Ball?

Vaseline applied to a baseball can make the ball more slippery, which can affect the way it moves through the air. If the ball is particularly slippery, it can cause it to move faster and with more spin, making it difficult for batters to hit it. Additionally, Vaseline can help a pitcher gain better control over the ball, allowing them to change its trajectory and make it difficult for batters to anticipate.

Why Do Pitchers Use Vaseline?

The main reason pitchers use Vaseline is to gain an advantage over their opponents. The slippery surface of the ball can cause it to move faster and with more spin, making it difficult for batters to hit. Additionally, the Vaseline can help a pitcher gain better control over the ball, allowing them to change its trajectory and make it difficult for batters to anticipate.

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Is Vaseline Legal in Baseball?

Although Vaseline can be used to gain an advantage, it is not considered illegal in baseball. In fact, Major League Baseball rules only prohibit the use of foreign substances that might alter the ball’s flight or spin. As long as the Vaseline does not significantly alter the flight or spin of the ball, it is considered legal.

Are There Any Drawbacks to Using Vaseline?

Using Vaseline on the ball can have some drawbacks. For one, it can cause the ball to become slick, which can lead to the pitcher losing control over it. Additionally, Vaseline can make the ball more difficult to grip, which can cause the pitcher to lose velocity on their pitches.

Conclusion

Pitchers have been using Vaseline on the ball for decades, and while the exact reason why they do it is still unknown, it is likely that they are looking for an edge over their opponents. While Vaseline can help a pitcher gain better control over the ball and make it more difficult for batters to hit, it can also cause the ball to become slippery, making it difficult to grip and throw accurately. Despite this, Vaseline is still considered legal in major league baseball, as long as it does not significantly alter the flight or spin of the ball.