The party line is that MLB deadened the baseball in 2021 to cut down on home runs but that some of the older, livelier balls somehow ended up being used in 2021. Back in July, MLB commish Rob Manfred blamed that situation on supply-chain issues but insisted that all balls being used in 2022 were the newer, deader baseballs.
An explosive new Insider report essentially calls Manfred a liar. Drawing upon data and analysis from respected astrophysicist and baseball fan Dr. Meredith Wills (you may know her on Twitter as @Bbl_Astrophyscs), the report alleges that there were actually three different baseballs used in the big leagues in 2022: the older, livelier ball (which Manfred claimed had been completely removed from in-game use in ’22); the newer, deader ball; and a heretofore unknown in-between or “Goldilocks” ball that strikes a middle ground in liveliness.
Interestingly, this “Goldilocks” ball — which is somewhat livelier than the ball Manfred claims was used during all 2022 games, although not as lively as the pre-2021 ball — appears to have been used in four types of situations:
- Postseason games
- Games in which the balls were stamped with a commemorative logo, like a team-anniversary mark
- The All-Star Game and Home Run Derby
- Yankees games
That last item is the real eyebrow-raiser, of course, because Aaron Judge hit 62 dingers this past season.
MLB denied all of the article’s allegations and conclusions.
There’s more — a lot more — in the Insider article. It’s long, fascinating, and extremely well reported. I urge you to check out here.