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Major League Baseball has released a memo to create a more constant process to ‘muddy’ baseballs, according to an ESPN report. Mudding a baseball is a technique utilized to remove gloss from the ball, thus providing increased grip to pitchers and fielders.
It’s unclear how a sports league worth billions of dollars didn’t have a one-size-fits-all approach to game equipment in 2022, but we learn something new everyday.
News at ESPN: The league has updated its baseball storage and handling guidelines for teams, requiring them all to ‘muddy’ balls in the same manner, beginning on Wednesday. There’s more in a memo that went out to teams today. Story here: https://t.co/ml1GR6lN1W
— Jesse Rogers (@JesseRogersESPN) June 21, 2022
In the past, MLB would allow all clubs to handle the muddying process by way of clubhouse attendants a couple days before game time using a substance called Delaware River Mud. Now, they want all 30 teams to take care of the baseballs the same day of use.
They’re trying to enforce a rule that would help manage the current hysteria of baseball fans over the inconsistant flight of the baseballs. The “tackiness” of baseballs, according to MLB, has aided in that discrepancy. But perhaps the league should take this duty out the hands of individual clubs and take care of the process themselves? They had a World Series champion team back in 2017 utilize electronics to steal signs, and yet they still trust every team to prepare game equipment? Sounds like a system destined for failure, or at the very least, set up for undetectable cheating.
The new process is called “painting,” which requires the handler to cover each ball with mud using two finger tips and then spreading for 30-40 seconds in the palms.
Here’s the full process
- All baseball used in a game must be finished mudding within three hours of game time
- Once the muddying process is complete, each ball shall be placed back in a Rawlings box to then be stored in a humidor
- When removed from the humidor, only eight dozen balls shall be removed and placed into a bag for game use. Players were supposedly complaining baseballs at the bottom of the bag felt “chalky.” This limitation of inventory should, in theory, eliminate this completely
- All 30 teams will be provided with a poster of a properly mudded ball
- All baseballs must be placed in a humidor for 14 days before entering into the “muddying” process
Overall it’s a positive sign that baseball is getting out front of their equipment issues, although it shouldn’t exist in the first place. Commissioner Rob Manfred looked like the villain last year when he did something similar by banning Spider Tack mid-season, but in hindsight it seems to have improved the game’s product. Transparency is Manfred’s friend going forward. Happy to see it.