116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS – Keep in mind that Brian Dinkelman was a position guy in his playing career.
The Cedar Rapids Kernels manager knows firsthand how difficult it is to hit a baseball, especially at the professional level. He sees batting averages plummeting, offense decreasing.
Thus he has no issue with Major League Baseball’s sudden new crackdown on pitchers using banned foreign substances.
“I think it’s good for the game (to) try and level out the playing field a little bit,” said Dinkelman, whose club beat Lansing, 5-2, Thursday night at Veterans Memorial Stadium for its eighth straight win. “Especially if guys are really cheating with some of the stuff they are using.”
MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said last week that after extensive study and talks with current and former players, he determined it was time to put the hammer down on pitchers “cheating.”
Pitchers always have used rosin and sunscreen to get a better grip on baseballs, but new substances such as Spider Tack have helped increase velocity and movement. Umpires, including at the minor-league level, are being required now to check the hat and glove of each pitcher before he throws, with 10-game suspensions coming to any offenders.
“A quick check, glove and hat, get off the mound, keep the game moving along,” Dinkelman said. “As long as it doesn’t delay the game while they do it, I don’t have a problem with it.”
“I think it’s good, but I think maybe the timing (of it) isn’t great: midseason,” said winning Kernels pitcher Ben Gross. “I think maybe this is something that could have been done after the season or maybe even before the season, because the foreign substance issue is not new. This is something that has been considered an issue for the last year or two. But hindsight is always 20-20. It’s good that we’re getting this out of the way at some point.”
Dinkelman certainly also has no problem with the way his team is playing right now. The Kernels (25-20) won their eighth straight game behind a pair of opposite-field two-run home runs in the fourth inning by Seth Gray and Trey Cabbage.
Cabbage also hit a solo shot in the eighth. Gross, Derek Molina and Zach Featherstone did the rest, with starter Gross giving up just two unearned runs in five innings to get the win.
Those runs ended Cedar Rapids’ scoreless pitching streak of 21 straight innings, though the streak of not giving up an earned run has increased to 28 consecutive innings. The teams play again Friday night at 6:35.
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