Rosenthal: With the ball once again a topic of debate, a preprocessed version can’t come soon enough

the ball. Every year is something with a wonderful ball.

The current season is only three weeks old, and the ball is already The subject of two discussions – Whether it is too dead and whether its surface is too inconsistent, resulting in its formation Frustration for shooters With their fists, especially in cold weather.

Almost four years ago, Major League Baseball Bought 25% of RawlingsBall manufacturer. Now you’d think, even with the interruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the issues would be sorted out. You think the league will use the ball with Ready adhesive surface Similar to the pre-fab versions used in Japan and Korea. But no, we haven’t gotten there yet.

At this point, the league may have to create a division focused exclusively on ball, under the direction of Lord of the Seams. It is clear that the league needs to communicate better with the players – stop me if you ever hear that – and to be completely transparent on all issues related to the ball.

I mean, I can’t imagine a commissioner enjoying seeing quotes like the one that came out of the Mets on a Tuesday night.

“MLB has a very big problem with baseballs,” mets jar Chris Bassett to reporters. “They’re bad. Everyone knows it. Every bowler in the league knows it. They’re bad. They don’t care. MLB doesn’t care about that. They don’t care. We tell them our problems are with them. They don’t care.”

Added Mets catcher James McCann: “My opinion is 2022. There’s enough technology to know about baseball. We want to talk about squashed balls, dead balls, smooth balls, sticky balls. It’s 2022. We must have an answer.”

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I did well! Except for one thing. Not all shooters agree that ball is a problem. Some believe the introduction of the official rosin bag this season helps alleviate grip concerns stemming from the crackdown on illegal adhesives that the league began last June. The 8-ounce Honduran pine sacks made by Pelican are subject to strict chain-of-custody protocols and are the responsibility of a designated club employee at each major league park.

“Love it. There is a noticeable tacky difference,” Phyllis right hand Kyle Gibson Tell the athleteGelb died. “Obviously I’m the out, it seems. A couple of guys, I don’t think they like it. They feel like they should have more moisture from something. But I’m amazed every time. I had (shooting instructor) Caleb (Kutham) sitting There’s, like, ‘Hey, check the referee’s hand now. Are they going to let me get away with this? You know?’

Also, two other seasoned shooters from teams in northern climates, speaking on the condition of anonymity, had no issues with the uniform rosin bag, with one describing it as a “fair settlement.” However, the Mets are particularly sensitive at the moment. Their hitters have hit the highest level in the Major League 19 times in just 20 games.


Phillies Kyle Gibson (Bill Streicher/USA Today Sports)

But is the problem the ball, the Mets opponents’ throw, or just a small sample size skew? No other club has been beaten more than 13 times. League average eight. During Tuesday’s game, the field hit rate on a similar number of impressions on the boards was the lowest since 2018, according to the MLB.

season %HBP

2022

1.14

2021

1.37

2022

1.32

2019

1.16

2018

1.1

Sources said that the league, during collective negotiations with the Players Union, presented multiple proposals regarding the automatic expulsion of hitting a hit in the head or neck with a fast ball, regardless of the intention. The guild rejected the idea that looked like one Used by the Korean Baseball Organization (KBO). It is doubtful that players would agree to take strict liability for pitches who might bump into a hitter by accident, without intent.

As part of those conversations, the league also suggested discussing additional discipline for cumulative strikes. Recently, league officials unceremoniously brought up the idea of ​​a hit-by-point system for bowlers, as well as an automatic ejection for an over-the-shoulder hit, to some players, sources said. The way the system will work, each hit after the other will count for a certain number of points against the bowler depending on the type of pitch and location. The slider of the hitter’s foot may be one point, and the fastball in the ribs may be three. Once the bowler crosses a set threshold, he will be suspended.

The idea seems impractical on multiple levels, and it’s the kind of response that often leads players to complain that the league’s office is out of reach. Players learn about hitting batsmen as part of the game. Hitters rarely complain about being hit below the waist. Imagine how ridiculous the league would be if it Max Scherzer He was sent off in the seventh inning of a crucial match in September for hitting his toe and reaching his points threshold.

Don’t worry; The points system doesn’t seem to have a pull. Indeed, it misses the point. The problem, as HBP rates indicate, is not hitting the batsmen. The problem, in the eyes of some shooters, is the ball. As Bassett said, “(The balls) are all different. The first half they are decent, the third half, they are bad, the fourth half, they are fine, and the fifth half they are bad. And we have different climates. Everything is different. There is no common ground with the balls. There is no Something similar to a walk.”

Some shooters say the discrepancy extends to the various referees and standards they apply to shooters trying to produce moisture on their hands so they can catch the ball in cold weather—by licking their fingers, for example. Which brings us back to the sticky stuff, the gray area that exists between the league’s crackdown on illegal substances and bowlers’ desire to control the ball in their hands.

Almost all those involved in sports believe that a campaign of some kind is justified. But as Mets manager Buck Showalter reporters Wednesday, “The question is whether we as an industry have gone too far in the opposite direction.” If the league’s primary concern is the high spin rates produced by certain materials, a shooter asks, why not baselines all shooters, allow them to use the concoctions of their choice, and then nail anyone whose spin jumps at an abnormally high rate?

EGADS, this will be another off-target conversation. The pre-installed ball will be the obvious, all-in-one solution, providing shooters with a consistent, uniform grip and eliminating the need for adhesives once and for all. At least that would be the idea.

league Have you tried such a ball? In select Triple-A matches during the closing days of the 2021 Minor League season and use them in the Double-A Texas League this season. The major leagues didn’t react well to a version of an improved grip ball the league tested at spring training camps in 2019. But up until this point, a source said, the Texas League ball has been well received.

MLB can’t adopt some form of it soon enough. We’re all tired of talking about the ball, right?

(Top image of Chris Bassett: Mary DeCicco/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

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