The Daily News reported today that pitching phenoms Dellin Betances and Manny Banuelos, who shined in spring training but were sent to AA Trenton to mature and improve, both developed blisters, supposedly due to the shift from MLB-quality balls in Florida to minor league quality!
This brought to mind what I observed one hot August night at a AAA Scranton game. Here’s what I wrote for Bullpen Diaries:
It struck me during this game that a scuffed baseball stays in the game longer in the minors, not surprisingly. The home plate ump regularly rolled balls over in his hand, keeping most of them in use.
It’s actually his job to dirty up the brand-new shiny batch of five or six dozen balls before each game. The same “secret” compound is used in both the majors and minors, secret in that the company that provides the dirt doesn’t reveal where in the nearby Delaware River the mud is from. In fact, the owner of Blackburne Baseball Rubbing Mud says if he sees someone lurking around the designated spot, he comes back the next day.