The MLB slightly deadened its baseballs before the start of the season, amid a years-long surge in home runs, and the league now confirms there are humidors at nine ballparks.
A humidor — or a temperature and humidity-controlled room used for baseball storage — keeps balls at nine of the league’s ballparks at the MLB-recommended 70 degrees and 50% humidity to regulate conditions before entering games, Yahoo Sports reports.
The league batting average is just .237, tied for the lowest ever, and it seems baseball is making changes to rebalance the sport.
MLB minds have had discussions about how to reduce the constant uptick in pitch velocity, how to induce more contact, and how to stop pitchers’ longstanding practice of using sticky substances to get ever more devastating, bat-eluding spin on pitches, the article states.
Humidors were previously installed in Colorado and Arizona, but three new teams — the Boston Red Sox, Seattle Mariners and New York Mets — began employing humidors in their home parks in 2020. In April, a Chicago Cubs broadcast revealed the more comprehensive list of teams using humidors, provided by broadcaster Boog Sciambi.
The MLB provided Yahoo Sports a list of nine teams currently using humidors last week — the previously known Rockies, Diamondbacks, Red Sox, Mariners and Mets have been joined by the Houston Astros, Miami Marlins, St. Louis Cardinals and Texas Rangers.
The Toronto Blue Jays — who Sciambi also identified as the 10th humidor team — are planning to utilize one when they return to Toronto, but have so far played home games at their Florida spring training site and now in Buffalo, Yahoo Sports reports.
“The full accounting of the new humidors represents a potentially significant piece of the puzzle that has been a source of mystery or uncertainty for even close observers, and a key factor to study and untangle as the sport races to gain an accurate understanding of the state of play,” the article states.
As the MLB embraces sports betting for the first time through a partnership with BetMGM, details about the ball and its reaction to conditions at individual parks are vital to betting on run totals and the home run race, and to forecasting team performance, Yahoo Sports reports.
Grasping the reality of what players are doing and what their environment is doing to them affects every aspect of the game — most notably, decisions about how to adjust the game to allow for more action.
Yahoo Sports reports that humidors could be a steadying force in the game, as a panel commissioned over the home run surge recommended studying the idea of putting one in every park.