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Friday, July 29, 2022

He’s Baseball’s Only Mud Supplier. It’s a Job He May Soon Lose.

This particular mud, hauled in buckets by one man from a secret spot along a New Jersey riverbank, is singular in its ability to cut the slippery sheen of a new baseball and provide a firm grip for the pitcher hurling it at life-threatening speed toward another human standing just 60 feet and six inches away.

Tubs of the substance are found at every major league ballpark. It is rubbed into every one of the 144 to 180 balls used in every one of the 2,430 major league games played in a season, as well as those played in the postseason. The mudding of a “pearl” — a pristine ball right out of the box — has been baseball custom for most of the last century, ever since a journeyman named Lena Blackburne presented the mud as an alternative to tobacco spit and infield dirt, which tended to turn the ball into an overripe plum.

Glen Caplin, an M.L.B. spokesman, said that “pre-tack baseballs” are continuing to be tested in the minor leagues. But the reviews have been mixed.

“If you change one property of a baseball, you sacrifice something,” Caplin said. “The sound off the bat was different. The ball felt softer. The bar to change a ball is very high.”

Hank Gillette Posted: July 29, 2022 at 12:15 PM | 4 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: baseballs, mud

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Statements posted here are those of our readers and do not represent the BaseballThinkFactory. Names are provided by the poster and are not verified. We ask that posters follow our submission policy. Please report any inappropriate comments.

   1. TVerik - Dr. Velocity Posted: July 30, 2022 at 04:09 AM (#6088964)
linky no worky.

Why would he lose the job?
   2. cardsfanboy Posted: July 30, 2022 at 12:37 PM (#6088984)
   3. cardsfanboy Posted: July 30, 2022 at 12:44 PM (#6088985)
Good article. I'm not focused on the potential to lose his job, it's how little amount it feels like each team uses that is a surprise to me. 10 pounds for a whole year per team? $20,000 for roughly 300 pounds of mud that has gone through a special process isn't really expensive or cheap, almost feels about the right amount. You might have to wonder the legality of taking mud from what is either public or private property without some type of permission, but beyond that, seems a bit fair.
   4. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: July 30, 2022 at 07:03 PM (#6089021)
You might have to wonder the legality of taking mud from what is either public or private property without some type of permission, but beyond that, seems a bit fair.

The upside seems so low that the odds of legal action are also low.

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