Beginning with the 2022 season, MLB required all 30 teams to store their baseballs in a humidor prior to games in an effort to control some of the inconsistencies between them.
Humidors work by bringing baseballs to an average humidity, which means in a dry park, they will become more humid and heavier. In humid parks, however, a humidor will dry out the baseballs and make them lighter.
The process hasn’t been smooth as numerous players have complained about the slickness of the baseballs after they are removed from the humidors, which comes one year after the league began cracking down on the use of sticky substances.
MLB is trying to find a solution and reportedly has mandated that teams store their baseballs in a humidor for at least two weeks before game use, via Ronald Blum of the Associated Press:
MLB is mandating a ball be stored in a humidor for at least 14 days before game use, and ball storage must be recorded by the home team’s gameday compliance monitor and then certified in a signed form by the clubhouse manager.
“All baseballs projected to be used in a specific game must be mudded within three hours of all other baseballs being used in that game, and must be mudded on the same day that they are going to be used,” the memo states. “Baseballs should not be out of the humidor for more than two hours at any point prior to first pitch, and if it will take club staff longer than two hours, the baseballs should be pulled out of the humidor in smaller batches.”
MLB is instructing that “each club staff member involved in the process should apply mud in a uniform manner ensuring the same mud-to-water ratio is applied to each ball. Rubbing mud should be applied to each baseball for at least 30 seconds, ensuring that mud is rubbed thoroughly and consistently into the entire leather surface of the ball.”
After the same mud-to-water ratio is used on each ball, MLB specifically wants club staff members to put them back in Rawlings boxes, with dividers between each.
The baseballs should then be returned to the humidors and taken out 15-30 minutes before first pitch. MLB wants no more than 96 balls to be removed at a time.
Roberts blamed baseballs & humidors for Dodgers’ early struggles
As several notable Los Angeles Dodgers players struggled to begin the season, manager Dave Roberts believed the new baseballs and humidors were to blame.
“I honestly think it’s a byproduct of the humidor and the balls. I really do,” Roberts said. “It is what it is, we can’t change it, everyone in baseball is going through it. Specifically to our guys, I can easily name a dozen homers for guys on our club that would’ve been homers.
“We’d be looking and saying our guys are not off to such a bad start. But when they result in an F7 or F8, the results aren’t there. But our guys aren’t making excuses, which I appreciate, and we’re still winning more than we lose. We’ve got to keep going.”
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