SoSH Glossary: Doctoring the Ball

Baseball is filled with statistics, rules, and archaic terms that can often form what sounds like a foreign language. Sons of Sam Horn’s glossary provides a better understanding of these terms through straightforward definitions, clear explanations, and examples pulled straight from the baseball world. If there is anything you would like us to add to our glossary, please contact us.

Doctoring the Baseball

“Doctoring the ball” is an act by the pitcher while on the mound that attempts to damage, deface, and/or discolor the baseball in order to gain an advantage over the hitter. If a pitcher commits any of the following acts, then he will be immediately ejected from the game and suspended for ten games:

  1. Applies expectorate on the ball, glove, or either hand.
  2. Rubs the ball on his glove, his clothing, or any body part other than his hands.
  3. Applies a foreign substance to the ball.
  4. Defaces the ball.
  5. Possesses a foreign substance.
  6. Pitches an altered ball.

What Can the Pitcher Do on the Mound?

The pitcher may wipe his lips and/or mouth while on the mound; however, he must clearly wipe his hand dry before touching the ball. The only exception to this rule is that if it is cold and both managers agree before the game, then the pitcher is allowed to blow on his hand to keep it warm. The pitcher is not allowed to touch his lips or mouth when on the rubber. If the pitcher does not clearly wipe his hands dry before touching the baseball, or touches his lips/mouth while on the rubber, then the following penalties shall be levied:

  • On the first offense, a warning shall be given and the ball shall be taken out of play.
  • On the second offense, a ball shall be awarded to the batter and the ball shall be taken out of play.
  • If, however, the ball is put in play and all runners are safe, then the play is treated as if the violation did not occur.

Pete Hodges has written about the call up of a top prospect, an odd tradition, and Leo the Lip.

Follow Pete on Twitter @PeterWHodges.

LEAVE A REPLY