Hall of Fame catcher Johnny Bench told CNBC that the headlines about pitchers using pine tar or other sticky substances on baseballs shouldn’t come as a surprise to fans.
“Yes, they use pine tar. Of course they use pine tar. Everyone uses pine tar since I was a rookie in 1967,” said the former Cincinnati Reds catcher.
“Don’t get excited, these are the things the pitcher has to do,” Bench said. ‘A little pine tar never hurt anyone, come on. Hold on to it. Get a grip, baby.’
Bench added that baseball’s seam has gotten smaller since his pitching days — using a sticky substance on the ball gives the pitcher something to hold onto, he said.
MLB officials consider crackdown as Major League pitchers dominate more than ever. The league has already seen six no-hitters this season, on pace to break the record of eight set in 1884.
Insiders say a problem could be what’s hidden on pitchers’ hands, such as pine tar or a tacky glue called “Spider Tack.” Last week’s competition four minor league pitchers suspended for illegally using foreign substances on baseballs.
Bench, however, pointed to under-passes during a Thursday night interview on “The News with Shepard Smith.”