Happy Wednesday, Athletics Nation!
Over the past year, MLB has been cracking down on pitchers’ use of foreign substances on baseballs for a better grip. In a complementary move, the league is now issuing new rules on “muddying” baseballs to improve their grip—a decades old practice—in order to give them a more consistent feel from game to game.
The league issued a memo to all 30 teams yesterday per Jesse Rogers at ESPN, and the new guidelines requiring all teams to use exactly the same muddying technique take effect today. The league gathered feedback from players over the past two months prior to issuing the new guidelines.
The memo specifies that a very precise “painting” technique that takes 30-40 seconds must be used on each ball. In addition to prescribing this uniform muddying technique, the league will now require the balls to be prepared on game day only; in the past, clubhouse attendants would generally muddy balls days before each game with canned Delaware River mud.
The memo also instructs teams to handle and store balls in a uniform manner:
- All baseballs for a given game must be muddied within a three hour window.
- After muddying, the balls must be placed back in their Rawlings box and put in the humidor.
- No more than eight dozen game balls may be placed in a ball bag, which must be cleaned thoroughly before each use.
- All game balls must be stored in humidors for at least 14 days before muddying.
Despite stricter enforcement of the prohibition on grip-enhancing substances like Spider Tack, substantially fewer home runs have been hit in the big leagues so far in 2022 compared to recent years. This has been attributed to the completed phase-in of a less lively ball as well as more widespread humidor use. But as the summer wears on and the weather heats up, we may see a shift in this trend.
Time will tell just how impactful the league’s tinkering with baseballs and how they are stored and treated will prove to be in the longer run.
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Best of Twitter:
- Good news for Dany Jiménez.
Kotsay said MRI showed no structural damage for Dany Jiménez but they’ll be cautious and make sure he’s 100% before returning. They’ll go with matchups to close out games. A.J. Puk and Zach Jackson mentioned as options to fill that role in Jiménez’s absence.— Martín Gallegos (@MartinJGallegos) June 21, 2022
By this measure, the best!
Paul Blackburn is really good. https://t.co/gzdFnTVxu7— Martín Gallegos (@MartinJGallegos) June 21, 2022
Jonah Bride hitting as advertised.
Jonah Bride has at least one hit in each of his last six games.— Martín Gallegos (@MartinJGallegos) June 22, 2022
I’d call this a snub on Blackburn!
First round of All-Star voting has been released. No A’s in the top 10 at any position. pic.twitter.com/FbrJXv4sQq— Martín Gallegos (@MartinJGallegos) June 21, 2022
A well earned return to the bigs for Nick Allen—who hit his first home run for the A’s last night!
Nick Allen has been swinging it well. Slashing .365/.500/.538 for the month of June with a homer, six doubles and 11 RBIs, 14 walks in 16 games.— Martín Gallegos (@MartinJGallegos) June 21, 2022
Schaaf on Manfred.
Mayor Libby Schaaf describes meeting with MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred https://t.co/yQTymvCSK4— Brodie Brazil (@BrodieNBCS) June 22, 2022
I certainly do prefer the stadium mock-ups to this image.
Responding to a DM that asked “Why shouldn’t Howard Terminal remain industrial?” In words: cleaner air & water, open space & parks, investment in climate change remediation, public use of waterfront, cleaner/safer jobs for workers. pic.twitter.com/GDQsMkunbZ— Michael Colbruno ☮️ (@MikeOpera) June 21, 2022
Good on Ramón Laureano for making a young fan’s day.
Big shout out to Ramón for taking the time out of his pre-game routine to stop by and make this kid the happiest on earth! They say the heart of a player lies within his glove. Humbled and grateful for 22! pic.twitter.com/wpfeHbXP1Y— Bryan (@SandLot408) June 22, 2022