Published: Fri, July 12, 2019
Sports | By Phillip Butler

Astros' Justin Verlander Accuses MLB of 'Juicing Baseballs' for More Offense

Astros' Justin Verlander Accuses MLB of 'Juicing Baseballs' for More Offense

Speaking ahead of the MLB All-Star Game, Manfred rejected criticism from Houston Astros pitcher Justin Verlander that the league had deliberately "juiced" balls to tilt the advantage in favor of big hitters. Major League Baseball is on pace to have 6,688 home runs this season, compared to 2017, when only 6,105 were produced. A month prior, the league released a study commissioned by commissioner Rob Manfred to investigate the baseballs, which concluded that while the balls were performing differently, they were not the reason for the increased home runs.

"Baseball has done nothing, given no direction for an adjustment to the baseball", said Manfred said. MLB still has not figured out why, and Manfred denied accusations by AL all-star starter Justin Verlander and other pitchers that baseballs deliberately had been altered, or "juiced".

"Major League Baseball's turning this game into a joke", Verlander told ESPN's Jeff Passan. "I don't know what he's thinking there, maybe that's a personal view as opposed to the MLBPA's view, I don't know, but we've never heard that from him". Three of the four times have come in the last three years.

If the MLB is juicing baseballs in order to provide more offense, it should knock it off.

"The ball suddenly changed and I don't know why", Clark said. "It's not coincidence. We're not idiots".

Shao Yinxin, director of marketing and media for MLB China, said: "By appealing to a younger demographic with games that they enjoy, this will help increase the penetration of baseball into their lives". "I don't think it's great - that the true outcomes of strikeouts of strikeouts, homers and walks is best for the game". That's on pace to surpass last year's mark (5,585 in 4,862 games) and the record of 6,105 set in 2017. The ball creates less drag, has thicker laces and is actually more round (I'll include links to the excellent work others have done on these subjects at the bottom of this article). He did say the only thing that has changed about the ball is that it has less drag, which has caused it to travel farther.

Clark and Verlander have questioned whether Major League Baseball has more input into the ball since Rawlings Sporting Goods Co. Peter Seidler is general partner of the San Diego Padres.

"We are interested in re-establishing a competitive environment", Clark said. Home runs and foul balls from this season can easily get compared to the baseballs from previous years.

"To address what has been an ongoing issue, I think the owners are prepared to live with the idea that they would operate in two markets", Manfred said.

"We just haven't made a decision on that", he said. "Changing the baseball is a mechanism by which you could manage the way the game is being played". "You don't want to, but I think we all have our suspicions".

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