Before they end up in the pitcher's hand or umpire's...

STOPWATCH: HERE'S THE RUB

June 02, 1994|By ORIOLES

Before they end up in the pitcher's hand or umpire's pocket, the baseballs used in Orioles home games usually make their way to Camden Yards baseball steward Ernie Tyler. Tyler, who has supplied umpires with baseball in Baltimore since 1960, often is in charge of preparing five dozen new balls for use in an Orioles game. The process is intended to make the balls easier to see for hitters and less slippery for pitchers.

He rubs them up with a special kind of mud that is found in the Delaware River on the New Jersey side. All 28 teams use the same mud.

He places two fingers into the mud and dabs the ball in four different locations, then rubs. The process makes the ball less shiny and less slick.

Rubbing up a dozen baseballs takes Ernie Tyler: 5 minutes 10 seconds.

It takes 25:50 for the five dozen required for each game; an additional two dozen are kept in the clubhouse.

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