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‘They Know They Need It’: MLB Can’t Replace the Mud Man So Easily

When Jim Bintliff first heard that MLB wanted to standardize instructions for applying mud to its baseballs, two ideas came to mind.

The first was a little sad: He’s always appreciated that some clubhouse attendants have their own styles when it comes to preparing a baseball. These new instructions, Bintliff figured, would do away with those idiosyncrasies for good. Because a brand-new baseball has a shiny, factory gloss that can make it difficult to grip, it needs to be rubbed down before it can be used in a game, and for decades, MLB’s rules have dictated that process involve just one substance—mud.