MLB sent a memo to all 30 of its clubs on Tuesday setting out one uniform rule on how balls, especially new ones, should be muddy and stored to help prevent them from getting too slippery, according to multiple reports.
“The baseballs should be the same,” baseball player Michael Lorenzen said before the team’s game against the Kansas City Royals on Tuesday night at Angel Stadium. “We can’t have a baseball and be surprised by how we feel. It shouldn’t be like that, and it seems like it happened a bit. I’m glad they’re doing something.
“For me, it is such a shame that it would take someone to hit in the head to come out with a note like that,” said the right holder after being told of the note without reading it himself.
During the fifth inning of the Angels’ game against the Mariners on Friday night, Lorenzen hit former Angel Justin Upton’s head with a ball that he said came out of his hand.
He wasn’t the only one frustrated. The night before, Angel loyalist Ryan Tebera stopped during his eighth inning appearance to check the baseball board referee David Aretta had gone through, throwing two to the side because he wasn’t comfortable with them.
“Obviously, there was a problem in Seattle with the balls and that’s unacceptable,” Tebera said after seeing the memo. “They were pearls. They were brand new balls out of a dozen. There was no mud at all.
“We, as pitchers, throw baseballs every day. So we know what a good ball looks like, and those balls were nowhere on an equal footing.”
Smooth baseballs pose an injury risk to hitters and bowlers—smooth baseballs mean the need for a tighter grip, Tebera said. Tebera remembers that the day after the walk, his forearm felt more pain than usual due to the smooth balls.
“It’s one of those things you don’t notice until you’re no good,” fellow bowler Patrick Sandoval said.
The MLB has been working on standard procedure for applying mud and storing baseballs outside of the humidors since last season’s adhesive campaign—which led to a surge in complaints about slick baseballs and pitchers struggling with grip—according to Associated Pins.
The memo states, according to Athletic, that the application of the special clay, which comes from the Delaware River, must: be done by hand “in a uniform manner to ensure the same ratio of clay to water is applied to each ball”; Take at least 30 seconds to apply each baseball to make sure it sticks to the skin; This is done on the same day as the balls will be used and within three hours of muddying the other balls in a match that day.
All stars in the making
It was no surprise on Tuesday when the preliminary All-Star Game vote count showed Mike Trout and Shuhei Ohtani in the top two of their pool.
Trout, based on these early votes, is on track for a 10th All-Star nod. As of Tuesday, he has received 1,295,854 votes, ranking second among Major League players to New York Yankees batsman Aaron Judge (1,512,368 votes).
Meanwhile, Otani chases down the lead voter among AL’s designated hitters, Jordan Alvarez of the Houston Astros (835,669), with 555,056 votes.
“I think the world would love to see these players play,” said Angel Interim Director Phil Nevin… The All-Star Game is an honor. “It is a great honor to go there every year, to be around your peers and to know that your peers have so much in the voting process. also.
“Ask Mike. Mike loves to go, and I’m sure he will be playing in the middle of the field in that match.”
Ohtani, AL’s most valuable player, received the All-Star nod last season, as well as his first invitation to the Home Run Derby.