Major League Baseball started testing for performance enhancers in 2004 and the first punishments administered after a positive test a year later were for 10 days. This caused so much ridicule a first offense became a 50-game suspension a year later, and that eventually grew to the current half-season.
This established a pattern for the commissioner's office in which it dived in headfirst to address a problem, and offered an initial solution that was more embarrassing than the problem itself.
Giants catcher Buster Posey was run over at the plate by Miami's Scott Cousins in May 2011, suffered a broken leg, and a star for the defending champions was lost for the season.
This started the conversation that led to the 2014 rule declaring catchers could not the block the plate and runners could not collide with them. Several umpires demonstrated the absurdity of the letter of that law by calling safe runners who were out by 15 feet because the catcher was loitering with a foot on the side of the plate.
Logic intervened after a while, moderate blockage was allowed and now disputes are infrequent and can be settled by replay review.
The collision controversy moved to second base in the fall of 2015, when Chase Utley, a Dodgers second baseman experienced at being taken out on a double play, body-rolled into Mets shortstop Ruben Tejada during the NLCS. The result was a broken leg for Tejada and a rule change in 2016.
Again, there seemed to be over-the-top enthusiasm for calling out runners for any hard slide — even if it wasn't high, late or indirect toward the bag.
That hard slide into second is basically extinct now for two reasons: Umpires are going to err in favor of the fielders, and the defensive shifts have greatly reduced the frequency of the traditional double-play pivot.
On Wednesday, we received another headfirst dive into a brewing controversy when MLB made this declaration:
A pitcher caught using a "sticky'' substance will be suspended for 10 games — with pay, apparently because management doesn't want to fight the battle of unleashing this punishment at midseason with the players association.
Enforcement will start Monday. There will be no differentiation between the sunscreen-and-resin combo used for a better grip, and Spider Tack, which increases the all-important "spin rate'' of a pitch, but also can have a pitcher's finger head toward the plate along with the baseball if he uses too much.
OK, slight exaggeration, but you can pick up a brick with the flat of your hand with this stuff.
"I had never heard of it until I read Jeff Passan's article at ESPN,'' said Glen Perkins, a three-time All-Star as a Twins reliever. "I tried to order some of it from Amazon, just to see what it is, but I couldn't get it. I wanted to talk about it on Bally [Sports Network] this weekend.''
Perkins will make his TV booth debut with Dick Bremer for this weekend's series at Texas, although it's a booth at Target Field, since MLB and media outlets are still saving money by not sending their TV and radio crews on the road under the guise of the pandemic.
That's my opinion, by the way. Perkins never mentioned it.
Tyler Glasnow, the Tampa Bay righthander with perhaps the best starter stuff in the American League, went off on the rule change Tuesday — blaming a partly torn ligament in his right elbow on trying to pitch in his last two starts without the sunscreen/resin assistance.
Today's baseball has flat seams, and pitchers claim there's a slipperiness that only can be managed with a tacky substance. Trying to get ready for the rule change, Glasnow said he pitched without the sunscreen/resin combo, was forced to change his grip by choking the ball more in his hand and, later, he felt unfamiliar pain in his forearm.
And now he's done, and if rehab doesn't work, he becomes another great pitcher waylaid by Tommy John surgery.
"I think he's full of it that this led to the injury,'' Perkins said. "I do agree with him that MLB probably has overreacted, by putting the Bullfrog-resin combo used for grip in the same category as Spider Tack and other exotic combinations to increase spin rate.
"When it's hot and your hands are sweaty, you need some help with the grip. On those summer days when we were outside, I used the Bullfrog and resin.
"I don't think there's a hitter in baseball who would complain about that. In fact, I think most of them would be in favor. They want the pitcher to have a good grip on a baseball, rather than a pitch getting away from us and have it coming toward their head.''
Perkins paused and said: "I do agree with Glasnow that MLB could have waited until next season. This is a big, big change to make in the middle of a season.
"Pitchers don't need Spider Tack, whatever it is, but there are hot summer days when we do need our Bullfrog.''