The 2017 MLB season saw the most home runs hit in history, causing many players and fans to speculate that the baseballs had been doctored or compromised.
After months of denying that the baseballs were the source of the problem, it appears that commissioner Rob Manfred has taken the next step to curbing the league’s home run dilemma.
According to Tom Verducci of Sports Illustrated, Manfred is requiring all 30 teams to store baseballs in air-conditioned, enclosed rooms for the 2018 season:
For the first time, Major League Baseball is standardizing how its 30 clubs store baseballs, according to several sources familiar with the plan distributed to clubs. Baseballs must be stored in “an air conditioned and enclosed room” this season.
Major League Baseball will install climate sensors in each room to measure temperature and humidity throughout the 2018 season. That data will be used to determine whether a humidor is necessary in individual storage rooms for the 2019 season.
The 2017 World Series, in particular, brought national attention to the home run outburst. A record 25 home runs were hit between the Los Angeles Dodgers and Houston Astros.
The two clubs were split on whether the slick baseballs were causing such an epidemic. A pair of former Dodgers right-handers and current Chicago Cubs teammates had differentiating opinions.
Yu Darvish admitted that he had trouble gripping his pitches during the series, while Brandon Morrow believed he wasn’t affected by the purportedly altered baseballs.