KANSAS CITY -- All the hoopla over Sunday's Ozzie Guillen-Bryce Harper pine-tar encounter brought up the old question: Can having pine tar high on the barrel of the bat help a hitter?
Not likely, according to a small poll in the Royals' dugout.
"I don't know how that helps a hitter, gives a hitter an advantage or what it really has to do with anything," manager Ned Yost said.
Yost figured the original intent of the rule banning pine tar beyond 18 inches from the end of the bat was to avoid discoloring the baseball or possibly aiding the pitcher's grip.
"In those days, the balls would last like 11, 12, 13 pitches in a game, and if you put your pine tar up real high and fouled a ball off or hit a ball to one of the infielders, it would put pine tar on the ball and they'd have to throw it out," Yost said. "Now a ball lasts only about 1.2 pitches per game."
Hitting coach Kevin Seitzer said pine tar doesn't help hitters at all. He was a teammate of George Brett, although after the famous pine tar incident of July 24, 1983.
"You saw George's bats, and he was the best at going up the bat with it," Seitzer said. "But he was always touching the barrel and put the pine tar on there, it wasn't like he was rubbing the rag on it. And he didn't wear batting gloves."
Third baseman Mike Moustakas didn't know of any advantage to upper-barrel pine tar.
"The only way I can think is if you jammed, you get so much pine tar on the ball and it makes somebody make a bad throw," he said. "That's as far as I can see it."