Pink-stitched baseballs will be used across the bigs for the first time Sunday as part of Major League Baseball’s attempt to increase breast cancer awareness on Mother’s Day.
So why is this important to bettors?
Well, there’s much speculation on whether the pink-stitched baseball will give an advantage to batters.
“I would only imagine the pink-stitched ball would be easier for hitters to pick up,” says Covers Expert Marc Lawrence. “The key is whether there will be value in the totals and if the linesmakers will adjust accordingly.”
So, we picked up the telephone and asked Steve Mikkelson, sportsbook manager at the Atlantis Casino in Reno, Nevada, about his take on the pink balls.
“I don’t think it will play a factor,” Mikkelson told Covers. “The MLB must have tested it and it wouldn’t allow it if it messed with the integrity of the game. We will set tomorrow’s lines as we would for any normal set of baseball games.”
As if the pink-ball debate isn’t intriguing enough, consider this: The over went 10-5 on Mother’s Day last year and the 15 games produced a total of 162 runs (10.8 per game).
"You have to be careful not to overreact," says Covers Expert Steve Merril. "Fifteen games is a very small sample and higher scoring could be just random variance on that given day. My advice to bettors would be to keep an eye on the early day games to see if the pink seams make a difference and this might present some value with the over/unders in the late-afternoon games and also the Sunday night game."
This isn't the first time Major League Baseball has seen a change in the color of the baseball. Covers Expert Bruce Marshall recalls when former Oakland Athletics owner Charles O. Finley introduced an orange ball in a 1973 exhibition game. Finley's contention that the ball would be easier for fans and batters to see did not prove to be the case.
Instead, batters complained that they could not as easily pick up the spin of the ball without being able to more clearly see the red seams, which stood out better on the white baseballs, and pitchers complained the orange balls were more slippery and harder to grip because of the added color coat.
Going pink on Mother’s Day has been a tradition in the MLB since 2006, when the league allowed players to use pink bats, batting gloves, and cleats.
Join the debate. Does the pink-stitched ball give batters an advantage? Or, will it be a non-factor?