- The MLB revealed a set of sweeping changes concerning how teams prepare and handle the baseballs used during games
- The announcement came shortly after a scary incident involving Justin Upton
- Michael Lorenzen blamed a slippery ball after accidentally hitting Upton in the head with a pitch last week
It’s been virtually impossible to ignore conversations about Major League Baseball returning to the Dead Ball Era thanks to the statistically-proven drop in exit velocity, distance, and other metrics we’ve witnessed this season,
Plenty of players have voiced their displeasure with the balls the league is currently using, and the list of people who’ve aired their grievances has also included some pitchers who have run into issues despite benefiting from the dip in offensive production they’re allegedly responsible for.
That includes Los Angeles Angels hurler Michael Lorenzen, who was understandably in the mood to vent after he inadvertently drilled Justin Upton in the head with a 91 MPH fastball during a game against the Mariners on Friday night.
Justin Upton is in the lineup the day after this. Pretty badass pic.twitter.com/HXovcEP5dn
— Jomboy Media (@JomboyMedia) June 18, 2022
Lorenzen blamed the “slick” baseball he was handed during his outing for the lack of control while speaking to reporters after the game and made it very clear he placed the bulk of the responsibility on the league for the incident.
Here are more of Lorenzen's comments: pic.twitter.com/P6Md28R4Xj
— Jeff Fletcher (@JeffFletcherOCR) June 18, 2022
It didn’t take long for the MLB to respond, as ESPN reports the league has unveiled a new set of regulations for its baseballs in the hopes of addressing the problem (which are reportedly the result of months of conversations with players and teams).
Lorenzen alluded to one of the primary points of focus during his postgame comments, as all of its baseballs are supposed to be rubbed with a specific type of mud from the Delaware River (which it buys from the secretive family operation that’s had a monopoly on the market for decades) to cut down on their out-of-the-box slickness prior to being used in a game.
The MLB was previously content to allow teams to dictate how the mud should be applied to baseballs, but they will now be forced to abide by a strict set of regulations concerning the length and specific motions of the rubbing method. The league also introduced some more minor tweaks, including a clause that mandates all muddied-up baseballs must chill for at least two weeks in the humidors that weren’t universally harnessed across ballparks until this year.
Only time will tell if this will be a sufficient fix, but based on the complaints we’ve heard so far, it’s hard to imagine it can make things much worse.