In a move that takes effect for the 2018 season, Major League Baseball is reportedly issuing a new mandate on baseball storage standards.
Starting with the upcoming season, MLB will require that its teams store game-day baseballs in air conditioned and enclosed rooms. As part of this process, the league will install climate censors in all of the rooms, with the censors gathering data that could help MLB determine which storage rooms could require humidors for 2019.
Given the high number of home runs hit last season, and some complaints from pitchers about the quality of the baseballs, baseball storage has been a topic of discussion. In fact, the Arizona Diamondbacks are reportedly installing a humidor at Chase Field–a ballpark with a hitter-friendly reputation–for this coming season. More from SI.com:
MLB teams go through more than 260,000 baseballs in regular season games, or about nine to 10 dozen each game. Pallets of baseballs, boxed by the dozen, are shipped to clubs at various times of the year. They sometimes sit for months before usage, when they are unboxed and prepped before games with rubbing mud to reduce the shine and slickness. Until now, the baseballs were stored at the discretion of the club, leading to variances in temperature and humidity, which affect the flight of the ball.
The move to standardize the storage of baseballs comes after a season in which MLB shattered its all-time home run record, pitchers complained of low seams and tightly wound balls, and the slickness and uniformity of baseballs used in the World Series came into question.
Commissioner Rob Manfred said Tuesday that MLB commissioned a research project after last season to study the composition, storage and handling of the baseballs. He said that investigation is not yet completed. “I’m not at the point to jump that gun right now,” he said about the findings.
Once it is installed, the humidor at Chase Field will be the second in MLB. The first was installed by the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field in 2002.
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