MLB Admits the Ball is Different This Year, But Some Players Don't Think It is An Accident

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MLB Admits the Ball is Different This Year, But Some Players Don’t Think It is An Accident

Chicago Cubs

As we already knew, the baseball is different once again. As was the case a few years ago, the baseball itself is different this year, and it’s contributing to a significant spike in home runs.

Thankfully, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred dispensed with any half-hearted denials this time around, and yesterday conceded on ESPN Radio that MLB does believe the unnatural spike in home runs this season is attributable, in part, to the reduced drag with the ball. (It’s actually several additional factors, too, but whatever. We’ll take an admission when we can get it.)

Manfred said MLB will continue to evaluate the manufacturing process to try to get it under better control (presumably for next year).

In the meantime, players are growing increasingly outspoken, and Justin Verlander even went so far as to suggest MLB was intentionally trying to make the baseball livelier:

I think you could debate whether MLB would want home run rates spiking to quite this extent, but you cannot deny there was a belief that increasing offense could be good for the sport.

Manfred, for his part, denies the change was intentional:

The question I have is whether increasing home runs is the way you want to go about increasing offense. Some charts from Jared Diamond to consider:

From my perspective, the risk in allowing home run rates to climb TOO much is that the excitement associated with home runs will not only flatline, but might decrease. Fans could go from “woo, another homer!” to “OK, fine, a home run is normal now” to “oh, good God, another homer …. “

Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.