MLB Hall of Fame catcher Johnny Bench on sticky baseball controversy: ‘A little pine tar never hurt’

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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, everybody has used pine tar since I was a rookie in 1967,” said the former Cincinnati Reds catcher.

“Don’t get excited, these are the things that the pitcher needs to do,” Bench said. “A little pine tar never hurt, come on. Hold on to it. Get that grip going, baby.”

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Bench added that the seam of the baseball has gotten smaller since his pitching days — using a sticky substance on the ball gives the pitcher something to grip on to, he said.

MLB officials are considering a crackdown, as Major League pitchers dominate more than ever. The league has seen six no-hitters already this season, on pace to shatter the record of eight, set in 1884.

Insiders say one problem could be what’s hidden on pitchers’ hands, like pine tar or a sticky glue called “Spider Tack.” Last week the league suspended four minor league pitchers for illegally using foreign substances on baseballs.  

Bench, however, pointed to subpar hitting during a Thursday evening interview on  “The News with Shepard Smith.” 

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