Major League Baseball's quest to improve the game knows no bounds.
The latest idea (that's close to becoming a reality): New, stickier baseballs.
But unlike many of the rule change ideas in recent months, this actually has very practical force behind it--and likely won't impact the game much.
According to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports, baseball wants to produce sticker balls to help enforce foreign-substance rules.
MLB has commissioned Rawlings, its official manufacturer, to produce a ball with natural tack on the leather in hopes of eliminating the need for pine tar, sunscreen and rosin, or any other foreign substances whose use in recent years has blurred the legal-illegal line, sources familiar with the project told Yahoo Sports.
We can call this the Michael Pineda Rule. If baseball can eliminate the need (or at least attempt to) for pitchers to use foreign substances to gain the grip they need, rules will be less likely to be broken.
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The report states that test baseballs were tried out in the Arizona Fall League last year. The result? The stickiness wore off too quickly, something pitchers noticed and needs to be altered if the experiment will work.
MLB's desire to go forward with the new ball depends on Rawlings' ability to manufacture one with a stickiness that lasts. The biggest complaint about the Fall League balls was that the extra grip, which Rawlings sprayed on to the leather that wraps the ball, wore off too quickly.
Yahoo's report pegs 2018 as the earliest the new baseballs would be used in major league games.Yankees' Masahiro Tanaka pitches simulated game
Joe Giglio may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @JoeGiglioSports. Find NJ.com on Facebook.
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