By "less drag", Manfred pointed to a recent scientific report on the manufacture of balls that found that if the "pill" inside the ball is not perfectly centered, the wobble of the ball generates drag as it flies through the air. There have been 3,691 homers so far this season, and statisticians feel that the league will smash the 6,105-hit record set in 2017. The 2019 season has seen a dramatic uptick in home runs, like we've never seen before. That, and the league now controlling the manufacturing of the balls, makes it hard for the 36-year-old to believe it's all just a coincidence.
With the rates of home runs and offensive production increasing in the Major League Baseball year-by-year, Houston Astros ace Justin Verlander recently opened up to ESPN's Jeff Passan about why he believes this is happening. "Major League Baseball is turning the game into a joke". "We all know what happened", Verlander said.
Instead, we get quotes like this from Manfred: "The flaw in logic is that baseball wants more home runs". All of a sudden he comes, the balls are juiced? "I think they have a really sound plan, something that can work and will keep Oakland with a major league team for a very long time".
Verlander, like most pitchers, can feel the difference and is demanding answers that Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred doesn't have, or simply isn't willing to give. "But when the ball changes as much as it has over the last handful of years, the players have no say in that whatsoever". Peter Seidler, the San Diego Padres general partner, has chief oversight of all activities of Seidler Equity Partners.
"Strategically, we see esports has kind of been a weak spot for us", Manfred admitted at the SportTechie State of the Industry 2019 conference back in February.
Manfred was half-kidding with that one, but his point does stand: in order to get the DH implemented, there will have to be significant owner support, which is probably not going to happen unless it's tied to larger CBA negotiations.
Conversations about a juiced ball have percolated since after the All-Star break in 2015, when home runs spiked.
Union executive director Tony Clark said prior to the July 9 All-Star Game in Cleveland, Ohio, he does not know where the bargaining sessions will lead, but acknowledged the players are looking to better manage an accelerating pace of economic change around the game.
"We are interested in re-establishing a competitive environment", Clark said. We haven't missed that idea. "You don't want to, but I think we all have our suspicions".