Obviously there’s no air in theirs, but Major League Baseball is trying to make the handling of their balls a little more airtight.
According to the Associated Press, MLB has added layers of security for their game balls this year in the wake of the #DeflateGate flap that cost Patriots quarterback Tom Brady the first four games of the year.
This season, an MLB representative eyeballs the balls while a clubhouse attendant carries them from the umpires room to the field (presumably with no pit stops). And if they run low during a game, an MLB security representative is sent to get more from the umpires room, something team ball boys did in the past.
“We can’t deflate ’em,” Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia said. “It’s precautionary, I guess.”
The league said some of the the changes were discussed at last December’s winter meetings, before Brady was found “more probable than not” of tampering with balls in the AFC Championship Game. But MLB said they were aware of the Patriots situation when putting new rules into effect, which include storage (around 70 degrees, about 50 percent humidity) and chain of command.
Of course, MLB looks like the proactive one here, as many of the problems the NFL is dealing with now might have been avoided with the addition of one league staffer — a ball steward who takes footballs from the two teams and holds them for officials after pregame checks.
It’s an easy fix, and a position that ought to have been created already.