MLB commissioner once again shoots down juiced ball theories
The topic of Major League Baseball being largely responsible for the record home run pace we have seen in 2019 came up again at the All-Star Game on Tuesday, and commissioner Rob Manfred doubled-down on his denial.
Manfred recently acknowledged that a difference in the way game balls are being manufactured may have contributed to the increase in home runs, but he says nothing was done at the directive of the league. Manfred also insisted that any talk of owners wanting to see the long ball more is inaccurate.
Rob Manfred on some players' belief that MLB intentionally juiced the baseball: “Baseball has done nothing, given no direction, for an alteration of the baseball.”
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) July 9, 2019
Manfred on idea MLB wants more HRs and thus directed a more HR-friendly ball: ‘That is not the sentiment among the owners…To the contrary, there’s concern.’
— Alex Speier (@alexspeier) July 9, 2019
Manfred added that there have been discussions about using humidors or more consistent storage to give pitchers a better feel for the balls.
There were 3,691 home runs hit before the All-Star break, which puts the league on pace for 6,668. That would be more than 500 homers over the record of 6,105, which was set in 2017. The fact that MLB bought Rawlings — the supplier of the league’s official ball — last year has raised suspicions even more.
Several players have urged MLB to simply admit that they changed the balls, and Justin Verlander absolutely ripped into the league over it this week. Either Manfred is telling the truth or he has no intention of backing down from the cover-up.