KANSAS CITY -- After Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen got into it with Nationals rookie Bryce Harper on Sunday about how high the pine tar was extending on his bat, the question naturally arose: What advantage is there for a hitter putting the sticky stuff well beyond his hand grip?
Several Mariners hitters said Monday they don't see any benefit to the hitter in that situation.
"I don't know the science behind it, but I don't think it matters," said catcher John Jaso. "It's just for looks. Bryce looks like he's a dirt-and-grit kind of player, so I'm guessing he's going for that old-school look. It's just aesthetics, I think."
First baseman Justin Smoak noted that "usually if you hit a ball on the pine tar, your bat is breaking or something. It's not usually a good thing."
Reliever Lucas Luetge said that pine tar on a ball is potentially more beneficial to a pitcher. Smoak agreed with that assessment and said he gets fielded ground balls thrown to him at first that are still sticky at times.
"Sometimes, when you go to throw the ball around after an out, there's pine tar all over it," he said. "But normally, they just throw balls out of play right away anyway."
Manager Eric Wedge said he doesn't pay any attention to opposing batters' pine tar.
"It's part of the game," said Wedge. "I don't get caught up in that little stuff. If that's the difference between winning and losing, shame on me. I want to go out and kick somebody's [butt]. That's what I want to do. I don't nickel and dime the game like that. I just won't do it."