Today is the one year anniversary of MLB’s ban on adhesives. During that time we’ve seen a sharp drop in spin rates, several suspensionsplus one strip dance or two from Max Scherzer and company. Even most the fans seem to like the change. Yes, sir, everything is going according to plan of Rob Manfred and company. They twirled their mustaches and stroked their goats with evil intentions as their plan unfolded. Now, in 2022, an unintended consequence of banning adhesives has come to the fore.
Three days ago, Los Angeles Angels pitcher Michael Lorenzen stabbed his former teammate Justin Upton in the head with a 91 mph submersible. Obviously it wasn’t intentional. Lorenzen feels guilty after Upton is forced to leave the game. However, Lorenzen doesn’t blame himself as much as he does blame MLB’s “slippery” baseballs. Lorenzen isn’t the only one who is fed up with them.
Angels interim manager Phil Nevin voiced the same complaint after the game, “[Lorenzen] had trouble gripping the balls when they weren’t being rubbed like that. You can only do so much when you have the ball on the mound. “
Among those who have voiced similar complaints are Lorenzen teammate Ryan Tepera, Toronto Blue Jays ace Kevin Gausman, Jays reliever Yimi Garcia, Mets starter Chris Bassitt, and AL Award winner Cy Young 2021, Robbie Ray, whose displeasure comes in the same series as Lorenzen’s. After leading his Mariners to a victory and bringing in a hitter into the seventh inning, Ray said that balls earlier in the game are easier to hold than balls later in the game.
“I don’t know if they’ve run out of rub balls and they’re scrambling for more rubbing, but it looks like the balls later in the game are more slippery,” he said. He went on to explain that the Seattle balls are some of the best he’s come across this season.
It is normal for the ball to feel different in the hands of players in different stadiums. After all, every ball is dug up by someone in the pipe before reaching the field. Not every jumbled ball will be exactly the same, and although there are certain standards that the shuffle game needs to meet before the game’s requirements can be met, it is nearly impossible to have two balls. Which feels exactly the same. It’s snowflakes, thumbprints, or drunken texts sent to your ex at 3 a.m., similar but not quite the same. That said, some pitchers claim that some balls feel so terribly wrong in the middle of the game that something is going on behind closed doors.
Ryan Fitzgerald was a minor league quarterback during the career of the Boston Red Sox. Although not a pitcher, Fitzgerald noticed something odd in the process match against Toledo Mud Hens on June 16. Minor League Baseball used two different ball styles throughout the game. Fitzgerald posted his discovery to his Instagram story, which is pick up by a number of baseball content creators on various social media platforms, but still end up being covered up.
The balls in the video above are obviously very different. Not only does the ball on the left appear to be more mislead – although that could be from more on-court time before being fouled out of play – but it also appears to have more seams ( if that’s the right word). There’s not much for a pitcher to hold onto the ball to the right.
This is not the first time MLB has done something like this. As recently as last year, the tournament was caught using different types of balls in some football fields, based on whether they want more or less runs home. But what are the benefits of having a less attractive ball in circulation this year?
Is it just to reinforce the adhesive ban? I mean, there’s a reason that given the frequency with which MLB players have tried to get around the rules in the past, they’re bound to have to do it again. After all, the tests were ramped up at the start of the season after it was revealed that use of adhesives increased at the end of last season when referee checks eased. If that’s the case, why not just rely on tests. If the lack of rigor puts players at serious risk, that should be the number one priority, right?
But is the lack of grip really a problem for pitchers? Walks down from 2021. In fact, pitchers are hitting fewer hitters per game than in any season since 2016. Goalballs are down to their lowest level since since 2018. The pitchers are at their lowest level since 2014. All these numbers for better control of pitchers, so why are pitchers saying it’s an epidemic that needs to be addressed? overcome?
MLB changed their ball after the 2021 season. In fact, MLB said in a memo that they would Only balls manufactured after 2021 in the 2022 season may be used due to production change. In a memo dated March 29, MLB wrote to all 30 clubs “Production issues [regarding deadened balls in 2021] has now been resolved and the 2022 season will only take place with balls manufactured after the 2021 production change. No production changes have been made for the 2022 season.”
While the feel of the ball may be different this season and may not be suitable for some pitchers, the stat of control has increased in 2022. While I believe pitchers should only throw when feel comfortable, because they would put the hitter at risk, but the hitter would not. Do you believe the epidemic will happen this year?
That being said, if MLB has gone behind the backs of the public (again, as usual unfortunately), then they need to address the issue. Feelings of inconsistency in the middle of a baseball game can adversely affect a pitcher’s control. So, if there were a few less-than-stellar balls mixed in with a normal set of balls before each game, that would lead to a series of unfortunate events as the season progresses. However, we cannot be sure that is the case. I want to believe the players. They tend to know something puzzling before anything even pulls their way, but we can’t prove it. All we can do is bring the matter to light and hope MLB decides to do something about it. It’s a pipe dream, isn’t it?