The purpose of the exercise is to give the balls slightly better grip - coming out of the box, they can be a tad slick, and difficult for the pitchers to grasp.
Chris Van Zant from the Braves clubhouse gave us a step-by-step look at the process.
First, you need baseballs. Official Rawlings, fresh out of the box. On average, we'll go through 6-7 dozen balls a game, so we'll need a lot to get started.
Next, mud. Specifically, Lena Blackburne Original Baseball Rubbing Mud. Every club uses the same mud, to create uniformity from ever Major League ballpark. Plus, everyone in #BravesCountry knows if we used our own mud, the baseballs would be bright red from the Georgia Red Clay.
After mixing the mud with water, we're ready to go...
Chris simply applies the mud and a little saliva, rubs the baseball for a good 8-10 seconds and repeats the process at least 70 more times. The mud must be applied to darken the ball to just the right tint. A ball that's too light will give the hitter an advantage (sharp contrast between the leather and the seems will help identify the spin), while a darker ball gives the pitcher an advantage.
The end result? Game-ready baseballs, set to be delivered to the umpire and put into game action.