We’ve seen chatter about pre-tacked baseballs for a while now, what with them having success in Japan and in the Olympics, but it seems MLB is finally taking an affirmative step toward changing the surface of its sometimes-too-slick ball.
The news from Kyle Glaser:
NEWS: Major League Baseball is experimenting in Triple-A with a new, prototype baseball that has a different substance applied to it for grip purposes.https://t.co/Ph2FNyiiI9
— Kyle Glaser (@KyleAGlaser) September 23, 2021
You will recall that MLB went to great lengths this year to finally enforce its already-existing ban on sticky substances applied to baseball. And while it was successful in rooting out the worst stuff, there remain questions about whether the baseball can be optimally gripped using only rosin. It would be nice if the baseball, itself, were just a little more tacky.
To that end, as Glaser reports, some of the remaining games at Triple-A will feature these prototype baseballs for feedback purposes. It’s probably the first step in seeing about making a change in advance of Spring Training 2022, and I suspect that MLB must already feel pretty optimistic about the outcome if these balls are getting such a limited run for experimental purposes.
In recent years, the baseball sure has changed a lot. From juicing to de-juicing to juicing to de-juicing again (remember all that? remember how the biggest de-juicing was supposed to have taken place before this season?), and now reworking the surface. I’m actually good with it, but it does make for a funky story to follow when such a fundamental part of the sport is changing this often.