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According to the MLB Rules, 3.02(c):

The bat handle, for not more than 18 inches from its end, may be covered or treated with any material or substance to improve the grip. Any such material or substance that extends past the 18- inch limitation shall cause the bat to be removed from the game.

Now, during tonight's World Series game, LA Dodgers player Turner was using the bat below. Clearly, you can see a shiny substance on the bat, which looks consistent with pine tar. Would this not be an illegal bat according to the rules?

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If it is pine tar, then he put it on the wrong end of the bat. Pine tar is used for the specific purpose of improving grip. In order to serve that purpose, it must be put on the handle end of the bat and not the barrel. So, he basically just rendered the pine tar completely useless. I don't think any professional baseball player is that ignorant about what pine tar is for. By that argument, I'd say it isn't pine tar at all, rather something else. Maybe it's a coloration mistake from the bat's manufacture. It could also be leftover goo from when the tree was cut down, but that's unlikely given the high standards MLB bats are held to. To answer your primary question, if it is pine tar, I'd say it's not legal because that is definitely beyond the 18-inch acceptable zone.

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