Sunday, November 13, 2016

Arizona Fall League Experiments with Mud-less Baseball

Baseball used the 2016 Arizona Fall League to try out a new kind of baseball that doesn't require a pre-game mud-rub, which might come as a welcome sign for the progressively inclined, while signaling a departure from tradition for that which is considered "old school" with the nearly 75-year use of New Jersey's Lena Blackburn Baseball Rubbing Mud.

According to's Jim Callis, reporting from the AFL's Salt River Fields in Scottsdale, baseball selected several games at Salt River in which the League swapped out the traditional mud-treated balls with the new, "tackier," factory-treated model in a limited test of new technology.

In speaking with several AFL players, Callis drew the following observations:
> Comparable in performance, including StatCast spin rate and similar measurements, to current ball;
> Untreated ball is slippery, but pitchers say that applying rosin to the ball is enough to neutralize this.
> Seams are less prominent than on the ball currently used in Major and Minor League Baseball.

Benefit for Pitchers:
> Ball appeared to give more life to sinkers, cutters, and breaking ball action.

Benefit for Hitters:
> Ball appeared brighter due to lack of mud, increasing visibility at home plate;


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