Here’s an interesting wrinkle to the 2022 season: Every Major League ballpark will store their baseballs in a humidor this season, The Athletic’s Eno Sarris hears from Cubs’ announcer Jon Sciambi. Sarris adds thoughtful context to the news in a series of follow-up tweets, including the list of teams whose ballparks had already featured humidors (Rockies, Diamondbacks, Red Sox, Mariners, Mets, Astros, Marlins, Cardinals, Rangers, and Blue Jays). Colorado and Arizona were the first to explore using humidors to keep baseballs from dying out in their low humidity environments. While you might associate humidors with lessening the buoyancy of the baseball because of these examples, in high humidity environments, the humidors will dry out baseballs, thereby, theoretically, adding distance to their relative trajectories.
Sarris notes that San Francisco, San Diego, Tampa Bay, and Miami are some of the parks that might see a small jolt to the baseball because of the humidors. It’s hard to know the full effect at this time, but it will be one of many factors worth keeping an eye on as the season progresses. Here are a couple of other things to keep an eye on as the season nears…
- The Dodgers don’t have a dedicated closer right now, though Blake Treinen’s name would be at the top of the list for manager Dave Roberts if the season began today, per Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register (via Twitter). Treinen would certainly be capable, but the Dodgers may want to explore the benefits of not having a single, dedicated player locked into the ninth inning. Daniel Hudson can certainly manage the mental weight of closing games – he did lock down the final moments of a World Series win, after all. Brusdar Graterol might be another interesting arm to give some of those opportunities to, if he can get himself on track. On the whole, however, the Dodgers look to enter the season with a less experienced pen than in years past. Kenley Jansen, Joe Kelly, and Corey Knebel departed for the Braves, White Sox, and Phillies, respectively, leaving Treinen as the natural choice to close games.
- The Nationals won’t have quite the same spotlight as the Dodgers, but they, too, need to figure out who will be collecting saves. If manager Dave Martinez has his way, it will be Tanner Rainey, but the 29-year-old is going to have to earn it, per Mark Zuckerman of MASNsports.com. If Rainey can prove the consistency issues that have plagued him in the past are behind him, he should get his opportunity to close games. If he struggles, however, there’s suddenly a handful of distinguished vets to whom Martinez can turn, including his former closer, Sean Doolittle. Even beyond Doolittle, however, Steve Cishek, Tyler Clippard, Will Harris, and last year’s closer, Kyle Finnegan, would not be fazed by high-leverage opportunities.
I like the move to have humidors in all 30 parks. Theoretically, it should help with consistency in baseballs from park to park
That’s assuming the league sends the same ball to each team to put in said humidor.
Same, I like the consistency
does the info from league specify all humidors will be set to exact same levels?
This certainly seems interesting but MLB could also manipulate this per ballpark, per team, per specific game or series.
Not fun the increasingly manipulative MLB has over the past 20yrs. Of course changing mound height has had big effect as well. That started back in, what, the 50s or 60s? I guess MLB has tinkered with the game pretty much forever. us fans might be happier not being aware of these invisible changes? heck. I dunno if it actually matters to me really? I’m a Dodger fan for over 55yrs and I’m ready feeling bored with how the current roster is being built. The 2020 season was dull as I could remember but right now I’m already just unsure the game we see today is worth our passion?
IF the humidors are going to add to the distance of baseballs, it’s another attempt of MLB to add offense at the expense of the pitchers. How do you think the teams, that just paid out $30m+ to some pitchers, are going to feel? Pitchers have a track record that is going to be absolutely useless. I understand stopping the spider-tack but if they are going to institute these humidors, they should at least change the baseballs to have some kind of tackiness. NOBODY wants to watch 4hour games because MLB wants more offense.
Wouldn’t the humidors ‘deaden’ the balls, per se? I’m not sure the exact effect a humidor has on a baseball, but the point of it being used in Colorado was to lessen the Coors effect and try and make it a little more neutral.
Ok so I did a little more research into it. Yes, it would technically ‘deaden’ the baseball. A humidor adds more humidity to the ball, leading it to have a lower exit velocity and shorter distance. Coors Field’s humidor is kept at 70 degrees F with 50% humidity, compared to the average 30% humidity in Denver. As per the Hard Ball Times: “The balls stored in the humidor thus have a higher water content than they would if they were stored in the dugout, making the balls “mushier” and slightly heavier. As a result of these changes, the balls will come off the bat with smaller exit velocities and, therefore, won’t travel as far. Home run production in the mountain air of Colorado did indeed drop after the introduction of the humidor, and the Coors humidor remains in place to this day.”
Link to HBT article: https://tht.fangraphs.com/the-physics-of-cheating-baseballs-humidors/
mlb1225, you consistently strike me as one of the most informed posters on this site. I wish I could give you more than a thumbs up!
Like the story explains, humidors bring the balls stored in them to average humidity, so the effect depends on the ballpark. In places like Denver and Arizona that are less humid to start with, the added humidity does dampen and deaden the balls, relatively speaking. But as Eno pointed out in his tweets, the humidor-stored balls will be drier than before in humid locations like San Francisco and Tampa Bay, so they should travel farther there. https://twitter.com/enosarris/status/1507519793275936774
Thank you, I try lol
Makes sense. If they are attempting to bring the baseball as close to average humidity as possible and the average humidity is lower than the environment’s humidity (like SF and TB as you stated), that will have the effect of making them more hitter friendly.
Not sure about the impact at Tropicana Field as the stadium is climate-controlled. I also wonder what will happen to the ball during cold spring games when the temp is much cooler with lower (absolute) humidity. Will the ball be slicker in Detroit in April?
As it says in the article: the humidors remove humidity where too much exists and add humidity where there is too little..
cuban cigars at every ball park! yeah!
Baseballs need to be kept from DRYING out, not DYING out, in the low humidity environments of Colorado and Arizona. LOL.
Yeah I was worried about that too. Hard to play the game if baseballs become extinct.
Manfred will find a way. Maybe the batter just has to guess a number the pitcher is thinking of. The closer he gets without going over, the more bases he gets. Just imagine how much that would cut down on injuries. Except for the occasional migraine for some of these guys that struggled in math class.
Honestly, it is not much more stupid than a free runner in extras.
First of all, what’s the goal here? What are the owners trying to achieve?
Do they want more offense (which seems to be their usual agenda, believing that it increases interest and attendance; i.e., money in their pockets)?
Or do they want to achieve competitive balance between the pitching and the hitting?
If the latter, how about surveying past seasons and finding the year when the balance was most equitable, and then using the same kind of baseballs that were in use then?
The goal here is for Manfred to look like he’s doing something
They want the baseballs to be the same everywhere. I thought that was obvious from the article, but maybe there’s a conspiracy in this somewhere and everyone else has missed it. Keep digging!
The baseballs are the same everywhere now.
What’s different is the atmosphere in the various parks. That was equally obvious in the article.
What’s not obvious is how equalizing the effects of humidity on the baseballs (to the extent that’s even possible) will affect the game, and what effect the league is aiming for. Is there currently an imbalance between offense and defense that’s attributable to the balls? “It’s hard to know the full effect at this time, but it will be one of many factors worth keeping an eye on as the season progresses.”
Perhaps you’re new to the sport and haven’t heard past discussions about juiced balls that were intended to spike home run totals. It’s been widely discussed.
Baseballs are manufactured the same, but they become not the same when they are exposed to the local climatic conditions at the 30 ballparks. Trying to make them the same everywhere in game play is the complete point of what MLB will doing this season. Are you saying you don’t understand this, or is it just more satisfying to explain it as some sort of consipracy?
The only one talking about conspiracies is you. Why you’re confusing the concept of a policy with a conspiracy I won’t venture to guess. A conspiracy that’s publicly trumpeted, as this proposed policy is, is a poor excuse for a conspiracy.
The league wants to try to standardize the way balls perform by eliminating atmospheric effects. They can’t change the atmosphere in the various parks so they want to use humidors in an attempt to achieve some degree of standardization.
Every policy has a motive and a goal. This one is no different. What the motive and the goal are, isn’t entirely clear. Is this related to the Spider Tack issue? Is it related to the decline in home runs last year compared to the output with the allegedly juiced ball in 2019, when there were 832 more home runs?
That the league has, in the past, organized policy to promote long balls is beyond dispute. Bud Selig resisted instituting a credible PED testing program until Congress forced him to. Maybe you’ve never heard of “the home run race that saved baseball.” If so, go look it up. It should be an enlightening read for you.
You’re the one who suggested a hidden agenda of some sort when the purpose was clearly set out. So no need to venture any guesses. Ironically you came around to a theory for what is being done that just happens to be exactly the stated reason for why it’s being done. The motives and goals aren’t hidden, they are in plain sight.
What is the agenda? What is the purpose?
If the goal is merely to equalize competition from one venue to another, then they needed to do — nothing!
Baseball is a team sport in which two teams compete on the same playing field, alternating from offense to defense in each inning. Each team is allotted three outs per inning. Agreed?
The atmosphere within the ballpark is the same for both teams. Therefore any atmospheric effects on the ball affect both teams equally. This is the case whether they use a humidor or not.
Ergo, within each park, the condition of the baseball has no effect that would afford one team an advantage over the other, apart from (arguably) an advantage to the home team, whose pitchers would have more experience in compensating for any substantial atmospheric effects on the ball (e.g., a Rockies pitcher would have more experience with the extreme conditions of Coors Field). The balls, once struck, would travel the same way for hitters on both teams.
The Rockies introduced the humidor in 2003.
In 2002, their staff had a 5.21 ERA overall and a 5.47 ERA at home, and the Coors HR Park Factor was 1.600.
In 2003, they had a 5.49 ERA overall and a 5.10 ERA at home, and the Coors HR Park Factor was 1.369.
In 2004, they had a 5.94 ERA overall and a 6.27 ERA at home, and the Coors HR Park Factor was 1.235.
In all three years, the Rockies hit more home runs at home than on the road: 97 in 2002, 113 in 2003, and 111 in 2004.
Does that tell you anything definitive?
You keep saying (or at least strongly implying) that the purpose of having humidors at every park is obvious. Well, then — what is the purpose?
Already clearly stated twice. I could answer again and you probably would only ask again, so I think I will call it quits here.
No, you only repeated what the process is, which was already described in TC Zencka’s report above; i.e., neutralizing the effect of humidity on baseballs by putting them in humidors. Everyone understands that that’s what the league is proposing. You haven’t said why they want to do that.
And since you either don’t understand the distinction between the process and the purpose for the process as it pertains to the competition, or you’re ignoring the distinction because you can’t answer the question, I agree that you should call it quits.
Isn’t it wonderful that we could finally reach an agreement? Have a great week!
The goal is to add distance to humid places , like NYC in April. Keep it consistent all the time in every city.
Treinen is a fantastic fireman RP. Would rather use him in that role and stick Hudson at closer.
I predict closing by committee. The ninth will about matchups and availability.
I’d like to see Vesia get a shot. I assume he wears #51 because he idolizes Trevor Hoffman. I think he’s talented enough, and has the mindset.
If they go with committee closing, probably most of the relievers are in the conversation. Vesia for sure, and probably Bickford too. It will seem strange to have a rotating cast after so many years of a single role-player. I don’t have a problem with it, but I can hear the griping about Doc’s choices already.
Saves are overrated. What managers should do is save the best reliever for the heart of the order for the opposing team. It is often in the eighth inning. It just makes sense to have your best guy against the best bats. What’s the point of saving your best guy for the ninth inning when your setup guy gives up two or three runs and the lead? Kyle Finnegan was the closer in August and September. I only felt confident with him in there if he had at least a three run lead no matter who he was going to face.
Humidors…to keep baseballs from “dying out.” Does anyone proofread anymore?
Really wishing you’d have said “poofread” to drive home your point.
That Nats bullpen – yikes…
Reds fan here and Doolittle was brutal, not even nearly as good as his poor numbers.
RIP to baseballs that DIED due to lack of humidor.
Doolittle is trash.
Phil Bickford should be next in line for saves if Treinen falters.
It would seem to me, that it would be as wise for the team, with the highest payroll in baseball, to roll out without a dedicated closer AS it is for a team on the cusp (lacking production from 2nd baseman or right fielder for X years) to have 2 top of the line true closers. If only they could share a spring training location and find some mutually beneficial situation… let’s start some trade rumors
In fairness, Kyle Finnegan wasn’t “last year’s closer” for the Nationals. Brad Hand was the closer, until the deadline. Kyle did a pretty good job filling in though, for a guy that only had about 65 innings under his belt at the time. He was 11-15 in chances and had 13 holds.
So the Rays and Marlins realistically just need to leave the balls outside.