Olson: 'Nothing we can do' about pitchers, foreign substances


The foreign substance situation is sticking to the top of the list of topics across MLB.

The latest crackdown across the league is shedding light on pitchers who are, or have been, using these substances to maintain grips on the ball which creates more spin rate, thus making it more difficult for hitters.

For Athletics slugger Matt Olson, whose hitting abilities haven’t gone unnoticed, he’s aware of the sticky situation itself, but isn’t sure how it will get handled. 

“Obviously that’s a hot topic in baseball right now, but, no matter what happens, we have to stand at the dish and hit it,” Olson said Wednesday on "The Jim Rome Show."

Rome asked Olson if he were in the box and the pitcher is using something to gain an edge, how much more movement could it truly have on the ball, and how much of an impact could it make?

“I don’t know, I don’t want to be throwing any shade out here,” Olson explained. “Obviously these guys are incredibly talented, and spin rate has been a huge focus for guys in the offseason. They’ve got Rapsodo and things that monitor their spin, so they’re working with it all offseason -- it’s obviously a direction that the game has gone where you’re maybe a little less from guys pitching, painting corners and more to throw it harder, spin it faster and your stuff is going to be better.”


At the time of this publication, the league batting average sits at .237, which is a historically bad rate.

“Obviously, a guy spinning it fast, throwing it hard is a tougher at-bat than the opposite,” Olson said. “You know, like I said, it’s nothing we can do about it. Obviously, it’s a hot topic, but I got to put the bat on the ball no matter what.”

A’s manager Bob Melvin also was asked recently about where the line could be drawn when it comes to determining these substances. Melvin, an old-school guy, knows there are situations where bodily fluids and other related substances could be a factor, but where do you draw the line?

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Olson agrees determining that could prove to be difficult. 

“I think that’s where everybody’s at,” Olson added. “Everybody’s kind of sitting around looking for that kind of answer. I don’t know if MLB’s going to get involved or shed a specific tack or rub the balls differently or whatever it may be, but I do think that’s where it’ll end up going -- some sort of universal rub or something like that.”