We’re at the All-Star break and home runs are happening at a rate that would annihilate the previous record (1.26 are happening per game this season; the previous highest ever was 1.17 in 2000). There have been lots of explanations for this, ranging from sabermetrics valuing home runs and not being concerned with strikeouts as much as previous conventional wisdom, to the compelling case that the balls are juiced.
MLB Rob Manfred joined Chris “Mad Dog” Russo in Miami today, and vehemently denied that the latter is the case, at least intentionally. While Manfred acknowledged that the balls are handmade and there could be some variance by human error, he strenuously pushed back against the idea that they were strategically modified because chicks dig the long ball.
Said Manfred: “In the entire time I’ve been going to owners meetings, which dates back to 1988, not only has baseball never purposely altered the baseballs; I have never heard a conversation in which people have suggested we should purposely alter the baseball.”
You believe him?