Sunday, October 29, 2017

"Pitchers and coaches from both the Dodgers and Astros complained Saturday night about the World Series baseballs"

SI:

They say there is a new problem: the baseballs used in the World Series are slicker than the ones used in the regular season because of a difference in the grain of the leather. The slicker World Series balls particularly make it hard to throw a good slider, they claim.

...

Astros pitching coach Brent Strom said after Los Angeles won Game 4, 6-2. “I’m not taking anything away from the players. I just want to know why? Why in the world would the baseballs in the World Series be different? Because you can see the difference. You can feel it. I don’t understand it at all.”

...

Peter Woodfork, senior vice president, baseball operations, of Major League Baseball, said World Series balls are tested at the time of manufacturing and are made from the same materials and to the same standards as regular season baseballs. “The only difference is the gold stamping on the baseballs,” he said, a switch from the blue ink used during the regular season.

...

Strom showed SI two baseballs side by side: a baseball used in World Series Game 4 and a regular season baseball. The regular season ball had not been prepared for a game with the specialty mud that umpires or their attendants rub into baseballs to reduce the shine and slickness. Even accounting for that difference, the leather grain of the World Series ball looked and felt noticeably different. It was slicker to the touch.

...

“Lance McCullers took the blindfold test in the bullpen,” said Charlie Morton, Houston’s Game 4 starter, referring to another Astros pitcher. “He could tell which ball was which with his eyes closed. It’s that different.”

Said Houston pitcher Justin Verlander, “The World Series ball is slicker. No doubt. I’m telling you, we’re in here signing [World Series] balls before the game, and it’s hard to get the ink on the ball sometimes.