Major League Baseball (MLB) has introduced a new (questionable) policy that bans the use of sunscreen - even on scorching days.
The policy took action from June 15 with the league encouraging umpires to frequently check pitchers throughout the games to ensure they are not wearing any ‘sticky substances.’ If a player is caught with anything of the kind, it could result in harsh penalties such as suspension.
It’s to deal with accusations of pitchers altering balls with substances to make it easier to throw, something that’s come into sharp focus over recent weeks.
Former professional baseball pitcher, Roger Clemens - nicknamed ‘Rocket’ for his impressively fast pitches - isn’t a fan of the ban. He highlighted the increased danger of getting skin cancer from sun exposure and believes that at least one player will end up getting skin cancer.
“If you can’t use sunblock and rosin, I think down the road you’re going to hear a couple things. You’re going to hear some major league guy getting sun cancer on the back of his ears or something, and then you’re going to have a massive lawsuit”, he said to Insider.
While the ban has already affected the performance of players, there are more serious concerns about long-term healthGetty Images
Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in America. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, more than two people die of skin cancer every hour in the U.S and one in five Americans will develop skin cancer by the age of 70.
Historically, pitchers have used rosin (a sticky powder made from pine tree sap) on their hands to aid a better grip on the baseball. This encourages a more thorough pitch and higher spin rate. Clemen, the first pitcher to win the Cy Young Awards seven times, admits to having used the rosin and sunscreen mixture during his career.
“When it got hot, I definitely put sunscreen on and rosin”,
“It’s a disservice to some guys. You need three things in pitching. You need to locate, you need movement, and last is velocity. But now it’s flipped around, and it seems like velocity is the only thing people look at it if you line up that radar gun”, he said.