Kagan: The physics of cheating baseball’s humidors

From SABR member David Kagan at The Hardball Times on June 3, 2019:

The fabulous history of the National Pastime includes the disreputable efforts to find an edge often referred to as cheating. Cheating in baseball has taken myriad forms over the decades, some more sophisticated than others. Hitters have tried corking the bat and taking performance-enhancing drugs; pitchers have applied substances to the ball like spit, pine tar, and Vaseline, and sometimes even abused the ball with sandpaper, sharpened belt buckles, or thumbtacks. Teams have stolen signs with technology such as telescopes, video cameras, and even Apple watches.

Given any tool, substance or gadget offering the possibility of gaining a competitive advantage, the history of baseball shows players and teams will try it. As the use of humidors to control the properties of baseballs has spread over recent years in the major leagues, perhaps it’s time to consider the additional opportunities they may provide to the “black arts” of the game.

Read the full article here: https://tht.fangraphs.com/the-physics-of-cheating-baseballs-humidors/

Originally published: June 5, 2019. Last Updated: June 5, 2019.