April 05, 2011
When the Colorado Rockies installed a room-sized humidor designed to preserve regulation baseballs in 2002, I'm sure quite a few people questioned the integrity of the system.
Nevertheless, for eight years Major League Baseball trusted Colorado to run a clean show. The policy put in place initially remained unchanged despite the occasional grumbling from opponents and fans after a tough loss in Denver.
That changed last September when the San Francisco Giants filed a formal complaint to the commissioner's office. It was decided it would in the best interest of the game if the umpires were directly involved in the transportation of baseballs taken from the humidor to the field.
Now comes word of further changes to the procedure.
All 30 teams received a memo regarding the new procedures, which are as follows: An authenticator employed by MLB meets the umpire-room attendant at the humidor before the game, watching as the baseballs are removed. The authenticator follows the attendant to the umpire's room, where the baseballs are rubbed down. He then accompanies the attendant as the baseballs are placed in the Rockies' dugout.
During the game, the authenticator sits in the photo well just to the right of the Rockies' dugout with the ball bag in sight. Because the authenticator cannot leave his post, an MLB-contracted security officer meets the umpire-room attendant at the humidor if more baseballs are required during the course of the game.
I think I could meet them halfway on a couple of those.
Anyway, while it appears several Rockies fans are offended by MLB's actions, I only see this as a favor. Instead of always having that cloud of doubt over their heads, everybody will know what happens on the field, as ridiculous as it often is, is legit. If something is exposed as fraudulent from this point forward, that falls in the lap of Bud Selig. It's his responsibility now, and that's how it should be.