The MLB’s crackdown on “sticky substances” has been one of the dominant storylines of the 2021 season.
Now, we’ve becomes almost immune to pitchers getting their mitts checked for any substances by umpires after an inning. If they are found to be guilty of using illegal substances, they’re ejected, and likely suspended.
This new crackdown has led to a lot of complaining from MLB pitchers who claim they can’t grip the baseballs properly anymore.
So the league is now trying a new idea: they’re going to pre-tack baseballs before letting teams use them.
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
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Some pitchers who have had experience playing with the “pre-tacked” balls have said that they prefer them over the regular baseball. Pitchers who used the ball during the Olympics earlier in the month said that they felt the experiment went well.
“It is, I can’t say enough, the best baseball I’ve ever touched,” Twins pitcher Joe Ryan, who played for Team USA, said of the balls being used at the Olympics. “We need this.”
The pre-tacking experiment will be used by a “handful” of Triple-A teams over the remaining ten games of the season.
If all goes well, we may be seeing the MLB use some pre-tacked balls in 2022 to try to keep both pitchers and hitters happy going forward.