While the most well-known forms of cheating in MLB history are steroids and sign-stealing, Spider Tack has become one of baseball's stickiest issues. While doctoring baseballs has always been a part of the game, the introduction of the sticky foreign substance known as Spider Tack has been an issue that the MLB has tried to crack down on in recent years.
"Spider Tack Gerrit Coke was really generational holy shit" - TyTroll
Originally developed to help bodybuilders in certain events, namely Atlas Stone lifts, the resin-based substance has become popular in wheelchair sports such as wheelchair rugby and wheelchair racing. Considered a "pine tar on steroids," Spider Tack eventually made its way into professional baseball.
In an investigation by The Athletic, the report showed that in comparison to sunscreen and rosin, a baseball gained upwards of 500 rotations per minute when thrown using Spider Tack. The result? More movement on off-speed pitches such as the slider or curveball, and added velocity to the fastball.
Entering the 2022 season, the MLB enforced new rules on "sticky stuff," allowing umpires to not only check a pitcher's glove, hat and belt but also their hands and fingers. The umpires were free to do a random inspection at any point in the game if they felt it necessary.
"Mariners pitcher Hector Santiago is the first player to get ejected for a foreign-substance violation since MLB's crackdown. (via @NBCSWhiteSox)" - SportsCenter
If a pitcher is determined to possess or have applied a foreign substance, they will immediately be ejected from the game and face suspension from the MLB. As a result of the changes implemented by the rule change, the league found a noticeable dip in spin rate league-wide.
The most notorious abuser of the foreign substance is New York Yankees pitcher Gerrit Cole, who has been called out by several different players for his use of the product. Josh Donaldson and Alek Manoah have gone on record to accuse Cole of cheating on several occasions.
"Alek Manoah is forever GOATed for this." - Jared Carrabis
How has the spin rate changed since the Spider Tack crackdown?
In an investigation by the New York Times following the new foreign substance ban, they concluded that out of the 131 players analyzed, only 29 of them did not see a decline in their fastball spin rate. League-wide, there was a decline in strikeouts, as well as an increase in walks and on-base percentage immediately following the implementation of the new rules.
"MLB's new foreign substance policy has added some extra drama to baseball" - FanDuel