Friday, June 19, 2009

Lena Blackburne Baseball Rubbing Mud


Hours before a game, beneath major league baseball's newest stadium, one of the sport's oldest rituals is under way. Two Washington Nationals batboys are rubbing brown "gunk"on dozens of new balls, toweling them off once the wet dirt cakes. Only when they're done can the umpire yell, "Play ball!"

Lena Blackburne Baseball Rubbing Mud has been helping pitchers get a grip for 70 years. After a wild pitch killed a batter in 1920, a tacky substance was sought. Shoe polish and tobacco juice didn't stick. What did was the feldspar-rich clay found in a NEW JERSEY swamp by player and coach R.A. "Lena" Blackburne. In 1938 it became a big-league staple, and in 1968 it made it to the Hall of Fame.

The company reaps six harvests a year from two holes in secret spots, filters out debris, and adds a "magic" ingredient for extra grip. Aged for 6 weeks, two three-pound vats are sent to each team-a season's worth of joy from Mudville. -Jeremy Berlin National Geographic

Well, there you have it! Last year when this article came out, I immediately headed down to the Owlz office to see where I could get my hand son this "dirty" little mud wonder. Enter Brett Crane, official "I'm the guy you go to" for the Orem Owlz. He had just sent back the remainder of the minor leagues' mud to the League offices. So, basically I have been waiting for A YEAR to finally get to see, and smell the official mud that will start the Minor League baseball season.

I swang by the office this afternoon to pick up our season tickets when there it was, the little bucket from heaven...uh...New Jersey, or was it Mississippi...uh, Delaware? Oh okay, the dirt is from New Jersey! This season will be one to be remembered, and if I play my cards right, I hope to have my hands right in the middle of the whole muddy tradition. (If you know what I mean)..Come on Brett, hook a sister up! Thank you to the entire Orem Owlz staff and especially that great "go to guy" for giving me a little mud, and sharing in the BIG adventure in the Pioneer League.
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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I really like that story. We used to use regular mud, but nothing would ever work as good as that stuff.