Friday, August 09, 2019

Mud Is Mud

Mud is mud.  But, obviously, mud isn't mud.  We've had chemists look at it.  We've had engineers look at it.  We've had scientists study it.  When you hand Pitcher A the ball, he says, "I love it."  You hand Pitcher B the ball, he says, "Too tacky."  When you hand Pitcher C the ball, he says, "Not tacky enough."  How do you win?

-- Rawlings' chief marketing officer, Mike Thompson, on attempts to develop a substance to replace natural mud for rubbing up baseballs before use, Sports Illustrated, 29 July 2019

From Sports Illustrated:

Mud is a family business; it has been for more than half a century. For decades, baseball's official rule book has required that every ball be rubbed before being used in a game.  [Jim] Bintliff's mud is the only substance allowed.  Originally marketed as "magic," it's just a little thicker than chocolate pudding -- a tiny dab is enough to remove the factory gloss from a new ball without mucking up the seams or getting the cover too filthy.  Equipment managers rub it on before every game, allowing pitchers to get a dependable grip.  The mud is found only along a short stretch of that tributary of the Delaware, with the precise location kept secret from everyone, including MLB.

In 2019, a can goes for $100 -- in keeping with inflation, plus a little extra -- and every team orders four.

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