The Anti-Fireballs

I’ve previously written about Major League Baseball’s fascination with the humidor and how the league may be contemplating expanded use of this device beyond the rarified air of Coors Field. The subject came up during the General Manager’s meetings but no decision was rendered. I thought perhaps we had finally put this thing to bed so that we could move on to more important matters but that was not the case. The Commissioner’s Office notified the teams that they will be monitoring the status of game baseballs during the season to ensure they comply with league standards for size and density. They stopped short of requiring the teams to install a humidor but the wording strongly suggested that its use would assist the teams in maintaining the necessary consistency. This is to be somewhat on the honor system except for the Colorado Rockies who must submit reports to the league offices to ensure this policy is being followed.

This is an interesting development. On one hand if you close one eye, stand on your left foot and squint just right you can see what they are trying to accomplish. They believe that consistent humidity and ball structure should eliminate much of the effects of altitude and other aspects that make balls carry in some stadiums. In my mind they are eliminating much of the home field advantage that some of these clubs possess. This decision also seems somewhat arbitrary since they never talk about the fact that some of the stadiums have pitching mounds slightly higher or lower than regulation nor do they say anything about the height of the infield grass. Take Wrigley Field for example, it is notorious for having long luscious grass in front of the plate that causes balls to just die there. Artificial surfaces such as those in Tampa Bay play like a billiard table making balls skip into the outfield quickly. Park dimensions vary dramatically in each park further eliminating the possibility of a consistent flow to the game. And having all balls in all parks conform to the same level of temperature and humidity does not account for the various differences in air density within the stadium. Will they next be asking teams to pump in heavier air so that all of the stadiums are the same? If Major League Baseball is interested in leveling the playing field so to speak they need to be consistent in all manners not just with the baseball itself.

The potential silver lining in this plan is that Bud Selig may just be able to get a discount on his own personal humidor if he promises to buy 31 at the same time. This may also be my golden opportunity to get a job in baseball. I wonder how much humidor operator pays and I wonder what kind of training you have to have?

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