It strikes me that, on occasion, MLB will tweak the NFL if the opportunity arises.
Nothing major. Nothing that could be perceived as harmful or piling on. But if the NFL has a P.R. issue that doesn’t involve life, death or serious matters, one gets the impression that MLB will at least smirk about for a bit. Not so much out of insecurity as out of institutional memory of the NFL making a big, big point of pointing at baseball’s problems back in the PED days and before. They won’t make a big thing out of it because, hey, tomorrow they may be the ones with the P.R. issue, but they pay attention to these things.
According to this story, Major League Baseball has been considering changing its ball-handling procedures for a while. But in the wake of yesterday’s Deflategate discipline and the subsequent criticism the NFL and the Patriots have taken as a result, stories like these may get that smirk machine going again:
Major League Baseball pumped up security for its game balls this season in the wake of the Tom Brady flap.
Starting this year, an MLB representative watches the baseballs while a clubhouse assistant carries them from the umpires’ room to the field.
And if the supply runs low during the game, an MLB security person is now sent to retrieve more from the umps’ room.
As C.J. Wilson notes in the article, there is only so much you can do to a baseball. Doctoring it is usually pretty obvious and such balls are thrown out immediately already. The non-cosmetic changes to baseballs that really affect their properties occur during fabrication, and that’s something the league itself would be behind, not any one club or player.
So, methinks this is probably not terribly necessary, even if changing the procedures are ultimately harmless. And me also thinks that some people in Major League Baseball might be chuckling a little bit about the NFL’s problems at the moment as they remind the world that, hey, at least we have our balls in order.