Roger Clemens Expresses Skin Cancer Fears Over MLB Sunscreen Ban
- Roger Clemens claims that a pitcher will develop skin cancer under new guidelines set forth by the MLB banning pitchers from using sunscreen.
- This new directive allows pitchers to wear sunscreen, but prohibits them from mixing globs of lotion with rosin to get a better grip on the baseball.
- Skin cancer has long been an issue with MLB players, with Phillies great Mike Schmidt recently revealing her battled stage III melanoma.
The MLB released a memo to teams last month informing them that pitchers would now be routinely checked for foreign substances by umpires. This directive was the result of a months-long investigation by the league and the prevalence of “dark, amber-colored markings that are sticky to the touch” on many game balls.Read More
That did not sit well with Clemens.
“If you can’t use sunblock and rosin, I think down the road you’re going to hear a couple things. You’re going to hear some major league guy getting sun cancer on the back of his ears or something, and then you’re going to have a massive lawsuit,” Clemens said in an interview with Business Insider. “Because that’s all you need, a little sunblock and rosin, and you got enough tap between sweat and everything else.”
Clemens also said that he, like many pitchers, would use the combination of rosin and sunscreen to control the ball during his years on the mound.
“When it got hot, I definitely put sunscreen on and rosin,” said Clemens. “It’s a disservice to some guys. You need three things in pitching. You need to locate, you need movement, and last is velocity. But now it’s flipped around, and it seems like velocity is the only thing people look at it if you line up that radar gun.”
What Clemens described there is in fact banned under the new rules because it would involve taking a glob of sunscreen to work in with the rosin, but there is nothing in the memo that tells players not to apply sunscreen. Furthermore, the rules in place already state that a “pitcher must clearly wipe the fingers of his pitching hand dry before touching the ball or the pitcher’s plate.”
This memo is meant to reinforce two rules already in the books. Rule 3.01 bans pitchers from rubbing “soil, rosin, paraffin, licorice, sand-paper, emery-paper or other foreign substance” on the baseball.” Rule 6.02 (c) states that a pitcher may not “apply a foreign substance of any kind to the ball;” “deface the ball in any manner;” throw a shine ball, spit ball, mud ball, or emery ball; “have on his person, or in his possession, any foreign substance;” or “attach anything to his hand, any finger or either wrist (e.g., Band-Aid, tape, Super Glue, bracelet, etc.).”
The memo also accepts that players will be wearing sunscreen during day games, and makes a point of stating: “Pitchers have been advised not to apply sunscreen during night games after the sun has gone down or when playing in stadiums with closed roofs.”
Clemens’ decision to publicly speak out against MLB while admitting to a practice that has always been banned, could make his already dismal hopes of ever entering the Hall of Fame a bit more dim.
“The Rocket” was considered one of the greatest pitchers of all time, with seven Cy Young Awards, two 20 strikeout games, and 4,672 career strikeouts, pacing him third on the all-time list.
His storied career came crashing down however with reports that he has used anabolic steroids in the latter years of his pitching career, an allegation that has blocked him from entering the Hall of Fame for the past nine years.
Skin cancer is in fact a serious concern for MLB players. Philadelphia Phillies great Mike Schmidt is among those who have raised awareness inside the league in recent years.
The third baseman revealed his own battle with skin cancer in 2014, one year after he was diagnosed with stage III melanoma.
How To Check For Skin Cancer And Melanoma
Doing regular self-checks on your skin is important to find skin cancer early. If you’re high-risk, it’s especially vital. Dr. Larocca recommends looking at your skin once a month for anything suspicious–and using the acronym ABCDE as a checklist:
Asymmetrical moles: If you drew a line straight down the center of the mole, would the sides match?
Borders: Irregular, jagged, not smooth; can also stand for bleeding
Colors: Multiple distinct colors in the mole
Diameter: Larger than 6mm, about the size of a pencil head eraser
Evolution: This may be the most important, anything that is changing over time such as gaining color, losing color, painful, itching, hurting, changing shape.
Who Is At High Risk For Skin Cancer
There are a variety of hereditary risk factors that can determine your risk of skin cancer, and some people are at a higher risk than others.
Some people are more at risk for melanoma than others. If you are fair-skinned, have blond hair and blue eyes, a family history of skin cancer and/or have many moles all over your body, you are at higher risk than most. If any of this applies to you, it’s even more important that you see your dermatologist regularly as well as do your own skin checks. It can help you determine your risk level so you can take measures to reduce your non-hereditary risk.