So about this pine tar … what exactly is this stuff?

Hello, pine tar. Tell us, what is your major motivation?

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The hubbub over New York Yankees pitcher Michael Pineda’s pine tar ejection Wednesday night was far-reaching and opinionated:

• Did Boston Red Sox manager John Farrell break baseball’s unwritten code by complaining to umpires about Pineda?

• Was Yankees skipper Joe Girardi skirting blame for Pineda getting caught?

But all this attention around pine tar begs the question: What the heck is this stuff and why do big leaguers use it?

Per Wikipedia:

In baseball, pitchers are frowned upon, and sometimes punished, for using foreign substances on a baseball. However, there is some level of accepted usage within the game — for example, during cold-weather games it’s generally understood that pitchers will blow on their hands (obvious) and use a little pine tar (hidden) to simply help ensure their 90-plus mph fastballs go where they want. Most hitters would agree that is a good thing too, for their own safety.

Several anonymous MLB pitchers shared exactly how they go about using foreign substances, exclusively to

Major League Baseball has certain rules about pine tar and other foreign substances and its use on the field. Officially, Rule 8.02 prohibits the application of any foreign substance to a ball — other than rubbing mud, which is applied by the umpires.

Hitters are known mainly to use pine tar on the handles of their bats to help improve grip while swinging, to avoid incidents like this . . .

Specifically regarding hitters, Rule 1.10(c) states that no bat is supposed to be allowed/used with pine tar or any other substance extending past 18 inches from the knob.

Most famous pine tar incident occurred in a 1983 game between the Yankees and Kansas City Royals, when Royals Hall of Fame third baseman George Brett hit an apparent go-ahead home run off New York’s Hall of Fame closer Goose Gossage. After the homer, the Yankees complained Brett had too much pine tar on his bat, and the umpiring crew called him out — setting off this classic reaction . . .