Major-league baseball is incomparably dirty — and it’s almost comically bad at it

Somebody out there please help a man whose faith in the honor and uprightness of our national pastime is close to gone. If a fuel gauge measured trust in baseball, I’d be walking along the side of the highway, red gas can in hand.

What is there to believe in when it comes to the game, other than 30-plus years of exuberant cheating?

Hitting? Steroids poisoned baseball in the 1990s and 2000s, if not beyond.

Catchers’ signs? Stolen like catalytic converters by the Astros in a scandal that ruined the 2017 World Series.

And now … pitching? I thought there were a few rogue spitballers out there, perhaps a small group of dedicated glue-under-the-cap cheaters. What an innocent I was! Major League Baseball is now talking about cracking down on what some are calling an epidemic of pitchers doctoring baseballs. Not a few people coughing, but a plague. A recently retired pitcher told Sports Illustrated that “80 to 90%’’ of major-league pitchers are using sticky substances today.

They’re using it to increase the spin rate on their pitches. The greater the spin rate, the more movement on breaking balls. The more movement, the more hitters who look hopelessly lost. As of Friday, the big-league batting average was .236, which, if the season had ended that day, would be the lowest in history.

Baseball is the dirtiest major American sport. That’s not to say the others are the picture of virtue.…

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