By Jared Sandler | @SandlerJ

Brewers reliever, Will Smith, was issued an eight-game suspension on Friday morning after getting ejected the previous night for applying a “foreign substance” to the baseball.

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It’s time for Major League Baseball to recognize a fault in the system and make a change.

What’s the issue? Well, after talking to several players, it is quite clear that the rule is frequently and consistently violated and, candidly, the purported victims of the rule–the hitters–actually prefer it that way.


Yes. The hitters prefer pitchers use these foreign substances because, in most cases, they are simply used to solidify a pitcher’s grip on the baseball. Hitters would rather pitches get thrown near the zone as opposed to near their dome.

But for now, the rules are the rules, so when Fredi Gonzalez requested that home plate umpire, Jim Joyce, inspect Will Smith’s arm, Joyce had no choice but to eject him. It just seems odd that Gonzalez would do that because, as I’m sure would be no surprise to him, based on what I’ve heard from several players, the chances are his players do the same darned thing.

The impetus of the rule is to prevent pitchers from using these foreign substances from impacting the movement of the baseball. Several pitchers used vaseline or pine tar or rosin or sunscreen mixed with something else or whatever wacky combination of things to make the ball move more back in the day. I’m definitely not in favor of pitchers gaining an advantage in this way.

From what I’ve learned talking to pitchers and being around the game, it is easy to discern how a pitcher is intending to use the substance(s) by the volume of that substance on their body, hat, or jersey. And if that is the case, why not just have pitchers approach umpires prior to their outing, show them what they are using and where they are using it, and allow the umpire to approve the substance and its volume.

To me, that makes the most sense. This way, pitchers can legally maintain a better grip while not noticeably enhancing their pitches and hitters can remain at ease that sweaty palms aren’t leading balls to pin them in the head. Everybody is happy.

Until then, it’s as if we’re suspending guys’ driver’s licenses for going 65 mph in a 55 mph zone.

Playing Pepper (Random Rangers thoughts)

*I’m really happy that Ron Washington is back in baseball. Wash made mistakes, but his shouldn’t be career-ending. You will be hard-pressed to find someone who knew Wash who didn’t love Wash.

*Delino DeShields’ ability to answer challenge after challenge is quite impressive. Monitoring twitter, I would guess that 90% of in-tune Rangers fans questioned his place on the roster. I’d be curious how those 90% feel now. He’s converted some, I’d have to imagine.

*Tomas Telis is hitting really well in Triple-A Roundrock (.319). I wonder if he’d get consideration as a backup catcher. As much fun as #CorpyDay is, Corporan isn’t giving the team so much that they couldn’t consider a young catcher. Just a thought…

*In the month of May, the Rangers lead Major League Baseball in hits, runs, slugging percentage, extra-base hits, and total bases. They rank second in home runs and on-base percentage. In the month of April, they ranked in Major League Baseball’s bottom five in all of those categories, including dead last in hits and on-base percentage.

*Good news for Derek Holland, who had another MRI on Friday and was cleared to begin his throwing program, taking the next step in his quest back to a Major League mound. Candidly, Holland desperately wants to get back on the mound and it kills him that he isn’t. I know the guy receives criticism for having a personality, but I’ll take that and his competitiveness on my team, any day.

*Amidst Joey Gallo’s recent HR flurry for Double-A Frisco, the Gallo-to-the-Majors questions have ramped back up. I don’t think there’s any reason to rush him to the Majors. He’s still striking out around one-third of the time and he hasn’t even touched Triple-A. Let him succeed for a bit longer in Frisco and then let him grow in Triple-A. Once that happens, then we can talk.

*Watch College Baseball while it gets some TV love in the next few weeks. It so much fun to watch the energy and passion with which they play before “unwritten rules” get in the way of things.

Quote of the Week

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“I thought he hit it pretty good. I would have concussed myself to catch that ball.”
-Delino DeShields on catching Dustin Pedroia’s ninth-inning fly ball against the left-field wall.

Stat of the Week

The Rangers have homered in 10 straight games (18 during the stretch) with 36 in the month of May. This is after they hit just 13 during the entire month of April.

Elsewhere In Baseball…

*ESPN recently did an E:60 on Ernie Johnson, talented sports broadcaster who does some baseball broadcaster for Turner Sports. I love E:60, but found this particular chapter to be tremendous and wanted to share.

Good Reads

*Star-Telegram’s Stefan Stevenson profiles the Globe Life Park autograph seekers.

*Ron Washington is joining the A’s as a special instructor, writes Evan Grant.

*10 bizarre old-school baseball rules.

*Delino DeShields joined the MLB Network crew in studio Here’s the transcript and video.

Good Listens

*Here’s the Hello, Win Column! podcast with former MLB’er Mike Bacsik and me. We discuss the Rangers’ bullpen, Adrian Beltre, and Dan Jennings as a Major League manager:

*Ben and Skin talked to Rangers reliever, Shawn Tolleson.

*Frisco’s Nate Lucas got to call a Joey Gallo inside-the-park HR

[milbvideo id=”122776383″ width=”600″ height=”336″ /]

*Here’s a montage of the Rangers’ 10-run 3rd inning in their Saturday win versus the Yankees.

*Prior to Sunday’s game, Eric Nadel, who grew up in New York, did our entire game preview segment in a New York accent.


(Your Love) Keeps Lifting Me Higher” by Jackie Wilson

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