MLB To Experiment With Pre-Tacked Baseball During Triple-A Final Stretch
Major League Baseball is experimenting with the use of a different, pre-tacked baseball in select Triple-A games during the final days of the minor league season.
MLB executive vice president of baseball operations Morgan Sword told Baseball America on Thursday a “handful” of Triple-A teams will use the new baseball at some point during the final 10 games of the season, known as the “Final Stretch.”
“On a very limited basis, we are getting into games a couple of prototype baseballs that (have) a different substance applied to them for grip purposes,” Sword said. “It’s not all the way across Triple-A. We just don’t have enough of them. We’re just finding a couple of teams willing to help us out (and) get them into games. Trying to get some game action for these things before the end of the year.”
Many of the teams involved will use the prototype baseball for only one of their final 10 games, Sword said.
The decision to experiment with a pre-tacked baseball comes on the heels of MLB’s crackdown on the use of foreign substances by pitchers earlier this season. While acknowledging the foreign substances gave them an advantage by imparting extra spin on the ball, many pitchers also said they needed the substances to maintain their grip on the ball.
Baseballs in Japan are pre-tacked with a different substance, and pitchers who participated in the Tokyo Olympics this year reported being able to get a better grip on the ball and frequently said they preferred the ball to what was used in MLB.
Yahoo! Sports reported in August that MLB had begun disseminating prototypes of pre-tacked baseballs to solicit player feedback.