Major League Baseball will be experimenting with new baseballs at the Triple-A level during the final week of the 2021 season, according to Kyle Glaser of Baseball America. The new ball will be "pre-tacked," which means that a substance to improve a pitcher's grip has already been applied to the ball.
During Friday's installment of "Nothing Personal with David Samson," David Samson revealed that he agrees with the league's decision to test out these pre-tacked baseballs. However, he believes that they should be testing out these new balls in spring training at the MLB level rather than Triple-A.
"What baseball misses the mark on is testing the sticky ball with the minor league pitchers isn't what we need," Samson said. "We need to test it with major league pitchers. We need to give it to the pitchers to hold, to throw bullpens with, and to use during spring training against big-league hitters. The next step for these sticky balls may be to use them during spring training in 2022. But then, they have to be ready to implement that and have enough balls for the regular season. Major League Baseball can't go into next season without a new rule on foreign substances."
Back in June, Major League Baseball instituted a new level in which pitchers couldn't use foreign substances of any kind to doctor baseballs. Throughout the season, pitchers have had their gloves and uniform checked by umpires in an effort to make sure that they aren't using foreign substances.
These pre-tacked balls were used in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, so several MLB and minor league players do have a little bit of experience with these new balls. In addition, Japan's Nippon Professional Baseball League already has begun using pre-tacked balls.