If you have ever watched baseball, you might have noticed that sometimes the player’s helmets can look burned. This can be odd, especially if you don’t know why on earth that is. This is visible in the MLB, and there is a perfectly good explanation.
So, why do baseball helmets look burned? Baseball batting helmets can sometimes look burned because of pine tar. Baseball players add pine-tar to their baseball bats to increase grip when they hold from it. Thus, when they adjust their helmets, the pine-tar gets stuck, making them look burned.
Alternatively, the pine tar can be added straight to the helmet, where the players get a supply of pine tar and rub it on their bat’s. Both ways are really in use; it depends on how you have been trained with it, where you have learned that information, and the area you live in.
That being said, it makes more sense now why their helmets look “burnt” even though burning got’s nothing to do with it.
Nowadays, however, proper pair of batting gloves will do the same trick as using pine tar, although you can get even more traction with it. At that point, it starts being too much as your gloves/hands could get stuck on the bat, which isn’t good, especially when trying to move to first base.
Is Pine Tar Illegal In Baseball?
If you were in the assumption that any alterations for baseball equipment are illegal, you would be mostly right. Nearly every alteration for a baseball bat, “doctoring the ball,” and other modifications are illegal.
What about pine tar? Is it illegal in baseball?
According to official baseball rule 3.02(c), “The bat handle, for not more than 18 inches from its end, can be covered or treated with any material or substance to improve the grip. Any such material or substance that extends past the 18-inch limitation shall cause the bat to be removed from the game.”
So no, using pine tar in baseball isn’t illegal. If it were, many MLB players wouldn’t be using it on national tv with millions of eyes on them at all times. However, it can’t reach the barrel of the bat, or otherwise, it would be removed, which on the other hand, is illegal.
It is illegal for the pine tar to get on the barrel because it would get on the ball as well. As the pine tar is sticky, it would make contact with the ball slightly longer, allowing much more spin, which isn’t a natural course of the ball and would be considered illegal.
If you haven’t used pine tar before and are struggling with the grip on your bat, I highly suggest trying it out, as the grip will be unbelievable.
What Kind of Pine Tar Do Baseball Players Use?
As pine tar is so popular amongst certain players, which kind of pine tar do they use? If you want to use pine tar for your baseball bat, it’s important to know which is a good one to be used.
Generally, baseball players use pine tar in the form of a stick that you can apply straight from the stick on the handle of your bat. Also, pine tar inside a tube, jar, or container is a popular choice, often applied to the handle with a rag.
Pine tar can be used in all materials of bats, including wood, composite, and aluminum. All bat material handles can get slick and slippery so that pine tar can be used in all bat materials.
My personal preference by far is to use a pine tar stick as you don’t need any inconvenient rags with you. With the stick, you can remove the wrapper and add it from there, and where you are done, cover the stick with the wrap once again. There are pine tar sticks with a cap as well.
How To Use Pine Tar On a Bat?
Now that you know why baseball helmets look burned, and it’s because of pine tar, you should know how to apply pine tar on your bat to get the benefits from it.
I’ll explain both methods; Pine Tar Stick and Pine Tar Tube & Rag.
1. How to Apply Pine Tar On a Bat With a Stick
Clean Your Bat’s Surface: Before applying pine tar on your bat, you need to wipe its surface off debris, turf, dirt, dust, and so on. If any of these things were to remain, the stickiness could be worse, and the appearance of the bat would be horrible.
Expose the Pine Tar Stick: Depending on whether you have a pine tar stick with a cap or wrapper, expose an inch of it, so it’s ready to be used.
Apply Pine Tar on the Bat: Start applying the desired amount of pine tar on the bat handle. Keep in mind the 18-inch rule that any of it won’t go to the barrel. Rotate the bat along your applying process to get an even coating. If you feel that it wasn’t enough, apply a second coating.
Add Grittiness With a Rosin Bag: Pine tar will be sticky as intended; however, it will be a little slick as well. For that reason, pat the bat’s area where you added pine tar with a rosin bag to add grittiness to your grip. Keep in mind that applying too much can make it too gritty, so pat only slightly at the time.
2. How to Apply Pine Tar On a Bat With a Rag
Wipe Your Bat from Debris: Similarly, wipe your bat with a dry rag to remove any debris and dirt. Pine tar mixing with dirt isn’t something you would want on your bat.
Apply Pine Tar to Your Rag: If you have a pine tar jar, tube, or something that isn’t a stick, you need to apply it to a rag. Open your pine tar container and take out a decent amount of pine tar in the middle of a clean rag. Spread the pine tar evenly on the rag, leaving a thick layer of it for the size of your hand. If you have gloves for the applying process, I highly recommend using them.
Spread Pine Tar on the Bat: Take hold of your bat and the towel covered in pine tar. Take the pine tar towel on your palm and wrap it around the handle. Start rolling the bat while applying the pine tar evenly on the handle. Be careful not to apply it too high as it would make it illegal.
Finish With a Rosing Bag: Finish the application by batting the pine tar area with a rosin bag. Rosin will add some needed grit on the handle to make the pine tar less slick. Bat lightly before adding more.
Alternatively, you can apply pine tar straight to your helmet as well. When running out of pine tar, you can rub your helmet and gain some more from the “reserves.” That gives your helmet a badass burned look as well.
What Is the Pine Tar Incident?
If you are familiar with both pine tar and baseball topics, you might have heard about the pine tar incident… If not, it’s something I think everyone should hear, especially those interested in using pine tar in baseball.
What is the pine tar incident? The pine tar incident is about the home run made by George Brett with two outs in the ninth inning which gave the Kansas City Royals a one-run lead over the New York Yankees on July 24, 1983. The home run was canceled as pine tar was in the bat’s barrel, causing Brett to charge from the dugout.
When the umpires were finished discussing whether the bat was illegal and decided, George Brett was charged from the dugout in a rampage. At this point, someone took the bat and started running off with it, causing one of the umpires and the Yankees security to chase him.
Yankees won the game in their home stadium at this point, but the Royals protested, and the bottom half of the ninth inning was played again a few weeks later. Kansas City Royals won the re-match of the ninth inning, making them officially win the game 5-4. To this day, the Royals and Yankees are baseball rivals because of this.
Looking at the video below, you can see that the pine tar, the brown stuff on the barrel, is above the trademark. As the rules state, you can’t have any substance above the trademark on the barrel.
The pine tar incident is one of the most famous incidents in baseball history. Would Brett make the home run without adding that much pine tar on the bat? Probably yes. But as the rules state about the 18-inch rule and substances on the bat, the out was legitimate if you as me from the rule standpoint.
My Favorite Baseball Equipment
Thanks for reading this article. I hope it brought you great value that you can implement into your own life! Below you can find my favorite baseball bat, baseballs, and a glove that I think will take your game to the next level!
- Bat: My favorite baseball bat is the Easton Project 3 Fuze. This bat has a composite end cap, reduced post-impact vibrations, balanced swing weight for the fastest swing speed, and a carbon core that makes this bat perform very well! As I’m not a professional baseball player, I like to use alloy bats as you can swing faster and hit further.
- Baseballs: Rawlings Competition Grade Practice Balls are my choice for something to hit. I love these balls because they fit all levels of play, so regardless of who you are playing with, you can use them. They come in a 6 or 12 balls box, and you can choose between raised or flat seams! I prefer flat seams as the balls tend to fly further!
- Glove: When it comes to the glove, my choice is the Rawlings Sandlot Glove. This glove is available for both lefties and righties. The same glove is also available for infielders, outfielders, pitchers, catchers, and 1B mitt. This glove has a nice vintage look, and it’s made from oiled leather. It has palm pads that protect your hand from impact, and it is pre-broken-in, so you are good to go as soon as you have it! A glove I’m proud to recommend.
- Fan Equipment: If you’re a fan more than a player, you don’t want to miss Fan Equipment by Fanatics. You can find items from various sports that bear your favorite team’s logo, such as jerseys, gift ideas, or other surprising things.