What Are Rosin Bags Used In Baseball? (The Complete Guide)
Sports involving balls primarily rely on the grip of the player. Rosin bag is often called the pitcher’s secret recipe to retain the grip throughout the game. If you have ever got excited with a pitcher’s grip, you can confirm the existence of a rosin bag in it. So, what are rosin bags about?
A rosin bag is a small canvas/cotton bag containing a sticky substance called rosin powder that pitchers use to gain grip and dry hands from sweat, moisture, and dust exposure. This canvas bag lies on the pitcher’s mound, and a pitcher rubs over it.
This rosin bag has a comprehensive history that every baseball fan needs to know. In this article, we shall also throw light on the rules of using rosin bags on the ground.
Role Of A Rosin Bag In Baseball
A rosin bag contains rosin powder, made of sap from fir trees, that gives added grip to play the rest of the game. It controls slips and improves the spin rate of a pitcher.
When a pitcher gains the grip to hold the baseball for long, he can avoid slips and focus better. This substantially improves the spin rate and enables the pitcher to control the ball completely.
Rosin bags are highly recommended for minor and major league baseball games. Perhaps, rosin bags are the sole substance the league allows pitchers to use while playing a game. This demonstrates the significance of a rosin bag in baseball.
Contrarily, non-professional baseball leagues do not demand the usage of rosin bags. On the other hand, you can spot rosin bags right from college baseball games.
If you are entering college baseball, here are our top picks of rosin bags.
Pitchers also use baseball grip sprays, but rosin bags work exceptionally well, which is why they observe their widespread usage.
Rosin Bag History In Baseball
Rosin bag was used for the first time in 1887. As pitchers used other substances, it was banned during 1919 to 1925, after which the NL promoted its use in 1925.
Pitchers have used rosin powder in 1887 to improve their grip. However, several pitchers used it as a tactic to dirty their hands and reach the mound to use rosin powder. In this process, several pitchers got their hands dirty with slime, which was used to attack the opposition team.
Slimy substances were replaced by rosin powder, but the baseball authority took a stand prohibiting foreign substances. As a result, the ban continued for six years. The National League (NL) lifted the ban in 1925. After six years, American League (AL) also lifted the ban. However, a widespread lift of the ban happened in 1937 when all teams were allowed to carry rosin bags for their pitchers and store them at the back portion of the mound.
Today, the rosin bag plays an integral part in the field and acts as a mandatory vehicle to improve the grip of pitchers. It is also used in other games for similar reasons. In baseball, batters, and pitchers use them widely.
Rosin Bag Rules In Baseball
Rule 8.02(a)(2)-(6) insists pitchers apply rosin to dry hands and not dust the ball or their uniforms.
There are several contradictions about the use of rosin bags in baseball. It was considered illegal for some time. On the other hand, major and minor leagues legalized the use of rosin powder. All of these were then stabilized when MLB passed new rules on using rosin bags.
Until the pandemic outbreak, pitchers were encouraged to store a single rosin bag on the back of the mound or the deck circle. Owing to COVID-19 infections, every pitcher carried a rosin bag when he entered the mound and removed it when he left the location.
A shared rosin bag was in existence until this outbreak. This helped in regulating the use among pitchers and controlling misuse. Checks tightened as every pitcher had a rosin bag in their pockets.
Nevertheless, there are various rules influencing the use of rosin bags.
- Players are prohibited from applying rosin to their uniforms or balls.
- Players can store the rosin bag in the hip pocket according to the umpire’s instruction on wet days.
- Players are prohibited from stuffing a rosin bag within their gloves.
- The play continues even when a ball hits the rosin bag.
- The umpire holds the right to monitor the use of a rosin bag during the league.
When the time is called, a pitcher can go to the mound to use the rosin bag. Upon proper use, the pitcher then moves away from the rubber.
These are the standard rules followed across all leagues.
Are Rosin Bags Legal In Baseball?
Rosin, the sole foreign substance, is legal in college, minor, and significant baseball leagues for pitchers to gain grip and achieve better spin rates. When rosin is combined with other foreign substances, it is illegal, and the player is subjected to punishments.
There are several reasons to legalize rosin bags in baseball.
Firstly, it gives moderate stickiness to pitchers. Unlike other sticky substances that make hands too sticky and enable pitchers to achieve exorbitant spin rates, rosin bags are moderately sticky. They do not give an unfair advantage to pitchers.
Secondly, several foreign substances do not offer a complete grip to pitchers. As a result, pitchers were forced to combine different substances to achieve the desired grip. Although rosin bags are foreign substances, MLB legalized their use because these were sufficient to give the desired grip.
Thirdly, rosin bags were easy to regulate. As every pitcher needs to undergo umpire checks when they enter the field, umpires can easily detect the presence of any other substances with rosin powder in the bag.
There are several alternatives to rosin bags, but MLB still considers rosin the best owing to its features and advantages.
One renowned combination is rosin powder mixed with sunscreen for extra stickiness. In this case, the pitcher was punished for wrongful use of a foreign substance. Another illegal substance is Spiker Tak, which gives pitchers an unfair advantage with spin rates.
The idea is to gain the grip to control the ball and toughen the game for the batter. When this notion is not met or wrongly achieved, it leads to punishments. As of date, several baseball players engaged in scandals for the use of sticky substances.
Can MLB Pitchers Still Use Rosin Bags?
MLB pitchers can use rosin bags to control sweat but are limited to applying them on the wrist, forearm, and hands. MLB restricts using rosin bags on uniforms and balls.
When pitchers mix rosin powder with other substances like sunscreen, MLB considers it illegal, and the board holds the right to dismiss the pitcher from the game.
The 2021 sticky substance rule of MLB exposes players to harsh punishments when they use rosin bags with foreign substances. Umpire checks have now become mandatory to ensure that pitchers do not violate the rule of MLB.
How To Use Rosin Bag In Baseball?
Place the rosin bag on your hand and toss it to both hands until rosin powder removes moisture from your fingers, forearm, and wrist.
MLB Network has a dedicated video where Pedro Martinez showcases the proper use of rosin bags.
If your hands are wet and contain moisture, you can take out the rosin bag from your pocket and then toss it between your hands until enough rosin powder drops off to absorb the moisture.
As a renowned pitcher, Pedro Martinez also insists that rubbing the powder slightly on your palm can instantly absorb the stickiness.
Some players assume that rosin bags work only when the palm has adequate stickiness. However, that’s not the reality. The idea is to gain grip, which can happen with moisture absorption from your hands.
Why Do Batters Use Rosin Bags In Baseball?
Batters benefit from rosin bags as rosin develops grip on the bat and eliminates slips in all instances. Several batters call rosin their energy source when it comes to hard hits when bats can slip.
Similar to pitchers, many hitters use rosin bags in baseball. While pitchers deal with the ball, hitters handle bats and need to tackle the force of the ball reaching them.
Perhaps, as a hitter, you can use the rosin bag labeled for pitchers. But, the market has rosin bags dedicated for batters.
The rules for the batter are pretty similar as they are susceptible to misuse of rosin and can include other foreign substances to develop a better grip. Various professional leagues encourage pine tar over rosin for batters as the former is more appropriate, natural, and result-driven.
There are several foreign substances already in use in baseball. Hence, MLB has a strict rule about external substances hitters and pitchers use to develop their stability and performance in the game.
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My Favorite Baseball Equipment
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