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Report: Yankees Games May Have Had Juiced Balls in 2022

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.

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Comments (21)

    except the report doesn’t support that, and every other situation was a whole event/game situation. your conjecture would also be an outlier with an abundance of conspirators changing out balls. the report doesn’t claim that judge got the tweener, but everybody in yankees games got the tweener. I’m just sayin, why make stuff up, and expand the scope, when the truth already smells rotten?

    These allegations, if true, are a very serious blot on the integrity of the game and the Commissioner must address them fully.

    So you are saying an organization that was happy to look the other way as players used performance enhancing substances, drawing crowds to see home run chases, and then selectively condemned certain players for this, would also secretly alter the conditions of the game in varying circumstances to boost fan interest? Never…

    I’m somewhat confused by the graph in the report showing the weights of the balls. There is no Y-axis on it. How do we know which were the “dead” balls and which were “goldilocks?” The weights between those two group overlap quite a bit on the graph

    In the story it says that balls were assigned to the 3 categories based on date of manufacture.

    A little confused by the wording here:

    1st paragraph: “Rob Manfred […] insisted that all balls being used in 2022 were the newer, deader baseballs.”
    2nd paragraph: “the newer, deader ball (which Manfred claimed had been completely removed from in-game use in ’22)”

    Am I misreading something here, or are these statements contradictory? I thought it was the “the older, livelier ball” that Manfred claimed was removed in 2022.

    If the study included 10 goldilocks balls from Yankee Stadium among 204 overall, that would mean at least 5% of the sample came from the Bronx, which is considerably more than the 3.3% you’d expect if the same number of balls from each park was examined. Frankly, I fail to see how anything meaningful can be concluded from a sample that is both small and disproportionate.

    The uni angle here would seem to be the disproportionate use of the Goldilocks balls in situations where the balls have special event-commemorative printing. Which fits with both the hypothesis that MLB was intentionally juicing the ball for high-profile events (which, obviously we have to assume this particular gang of well-documented nigh-constant liars was doing) and the hypothesis that there might have been a sourcing/supply-chain irregularity (which also fits with broader trends in modern commerce).

    I remember when Darrell Porter jumped into Bruce Suter’s arms when the Cardinals won the 1982 World Series. Things were so much simpler then. Baseball was still a game it seemed. It is sad that this type of news is what people are interested in these days.

    It is sad that this type of news is what people are interested in these days.

    Maybe people would have been just as interested in this type of news in 1982 if it had been reported (or if it had been happening in the first place).

    We live in strange times: just read that all minor league parks must put up netting running along the foul lines in addittion to the backstop fences to avoid foul balls hurting fans. A good decision, safety first, until you realise why it was demanded from fans: because they watch their phones all the time and do not see a foul ball coming their way. I would be ashamed to admit that, they think it is perfectly normal to watch your phone non stop while being at a game. It apparently is. Just like having a dead ball, a lively ball and a hybrid ball at the same time during a season. Strange times.

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