MLB used livelier balls in Yankee Stadium and postseason.

jon abbey

Shanghai Warrior
Dope
SoSH Member
Jul 15, 2005
67,304
Definitely worth noting how few balls they actually were able to test, but yes that looks very incriminating for MLB.
 

jon abbey

Shanghai Warrior
Dope
SoSH Member
Jul 15, 2005
67,304
Yeah, not saying I believe them, just posting their response.
 

DennyDoyle'sBoil

Found no thrill on Blueberry Hill
SoSH Member
Sep 9, 2008
37,337
AZ
MLB also denied there were issues with the ball in the past,
Perhaps you misred. In this case they are saying that these allegations are both "wholly inaccurate" and "just plain wrong." So I think we're fine here.

Seriously, this statement is weird. All baseballs were within specs. Ok. Not really responsive I don't think.

But then: "Multiple independent scientific experts have found no evidence of different ball designs."

Ok. What does that even mean. You had "multiple experts" test for an issue that just got reported today. Unlikely. Presumably this was about the prior reporting, which was not nearly this specific. Also, "no evidence of different ball design." Not sure exactly what this even means.
 

scottyno

late Bloomer
SoSH Member
Dec 7, 2008
10,839
Perhaps you misred. In this case they are saying that these allegations are both "wholly inaccurate" and "just plain wrong." So I think we're fine here.

Seriously, this statement is weird. All baseballs were within specs. Ok. Not really responsive I don't think.

But then: "Multiple independent scientific experts have found no evidence of different ball designs."

Ok. What does that even mean. You had "multiple experts" test for an issue that just got reported today. Unlikely. Presumably this was about the prior reporting, which was not nearly this specific. Also, "no evidence of different ball design." Not sure exactly what this even means.
Yeah all baseballs within specs means nothing, no one is arguing they weren't. The only reason to say that is to try to make it look like they weren't doing anything fishy.
 

Marciano490

Urological Expert
SoSH Member
Nov 4, 2007
58,554
It seems like the big 3 leagues are moving more towards entertainment than strict principles of fairness and sportsmanship. I don’t know that I really care. These records aren’t actually sacred, and it was cool watching a home run race again.
 

Yo La Tengo

Member
SoSH Member
Nov 21, 2005
619
To support the comments above, from the article:

"It is worth noting that all the balls we obtained fell within the legal specifications in MLB's rulebook. But as league-commissioned physicist Alan Nathan once said, "The specs on Major League baseballs, they almost don't deserve to be called specs…They're so loose that the range of performance from the top end to the bottom end is so different."
 

Murby

lurker
Mar 16, 2006
1,358
Boston Metro
It seems like the big 3 leagues are moving more towards entertainment than strict principles of fairness and sportsmanship. I don’t know that I really care. These records aren’t actually sacred, and it was cool watching a home run race again.
This might be fair, but I wonder when the gambling starts to factor in here. If MLB is using three different balls, how do gamblers and houses react to that?
 

bosox188

Member
SoSH Member
Jan 11, 2008
2,724
Westerly, RI
It seems like the big 3 leagues are moving more towards entertainment than strict principles of fairness and sportsmanship. I don’t know that I really care. These records aren’t actually sacred, and it was cool watching a home run race again.
In a broad sense I share some of that sentiment as well, which is why I thought the whole hype around a "clean record" was a bit much. But in this case, I would be kind of pissed because the undertones of the whole Judge HR race was that this could be "the clean record." And while the MLB may not have directly promoted it as such themselves, they certainly took advantage of it and rode the wave for the advertising. The sheer hypocrisy of that doesn't sit well with me.

There's also the fact that as mentioned upthread, they've been caught messing around with the baseballs before and tried to insult everyone's intelligence with denials until they folded on that. And now here they are repeating the cycle.
 

Marciano490

Urological Expert
SoSH Member
Nov 4, 2007
58,554
This might be fair, but I wonder when the gambling starts to factor in here. If MLB is using three different balls, how do gamblers and houses react to that?
Good point. I figure complications and conspiracies always favor the sharps and the casinos, who are the ones with the leagues’ ears.
 

koufax32

He'll cry if he wants to...
SoSH Member
Dec 8, 2006
8,686
Duval
I hate the Yankees with every fiber of my sports being. I am not LOLing at this. I find myself just feeling sad and disappointed. Just…why do we have to screw around with the baseballs in the first place? Then re-screw with them to apparently aid in a HR chase, forget how it impacts pennant chases. Even the 2017 Astros think this stinks.

Stop screwing up the game I fell in love with 40 years ago.
 

cornwalls@6

Less observant than others
SoSH Member
Apr 23, 2010
5,388
from the wilds of western ma
It seems like the big 3 leagues are moving more towards entertainment than strict principles of fairness and sportsmanship. I don’t know that I really care. These records aren’t actually sacred, and it was cool watching a home run race again.
Probably need to edit and add this to my post in the old fogey thread, but I despise the fact that the entertainment imperative is taking precedent over the competitive integrity imperative. All for personalities, celebrations, etc. But hate tricking up the on field product to make it more exciting. Think it is plenty entertaining enough without that. Make a fucking consistent baseball, and stick with it.
 

shaggydog2000

Member
SoSH Member
Apr 5, 2007
10,404
Perhaps you misred. In this case they are saying that these allegations are both "wholly inaccurate" and "just plain wrong." So I think we're fine here.

Seriously, this statement is weird. All baseballs were within specs. Ok. Not really responsive I don't think.

But then: "Multiple independent scientific experts have found no evidence of different ball designs."

Ok. What does that even mean. You had "multiple experts" test for an issue that just got reported today. Unlikely. Presumably this was about the prior reporting, which was not nearly this specific. Also, "no evidence of different ball design." Not sure exactly what this even means.
Well, they were all spherical, I do have to give them that.
 

EvilEmpire

paying for his sins
Staff member
Dope
Apr 9, 2007
16,563
Washington
This sucks if it is true.

I think a livelier ball hurts the Yankees more than it helps them win. Judge and Stanton don't hit too many wall-scrapers. And Cole had problems giving up the long ball this year. It's total bullshit for reasons beyond Judge's HR record chase.
 

jon abbey

Shanghai Warrior
Dope
SoSH Member
Jul 15, 2005
67,304
Make a fucking consistent baseball, and stick with it.
This is what I have been saying repeatedly for years now, it is absolutely fucking ridiculous. It is hard enough to try to build a team, how can you do that when the league drastically changes the ball every few months without telling anyone beforehand (or afterwards)?
 

uncannymanny

Member
SoSH Member
Jan 12, 2007
8,762
Why would a 100+ year old league suddenly buy the ball company and change the manufacturing process as legalized gambling is exploding. Makes no sense!
Shocked!

Edit: I can’t find the thread but at the time MLB bought Rawlings, I thought it was a pretty transparent move to put their thumb on the scale rather than bringing some higher standard of quality to the ball.
 

cornwalls@6

Less observant than others
SoSH Member
Apr 23, 2010
5,388
from the wilds of western ma
This is what I have been saying repeatedly for years now, it is absolutely fucking ridiculous. It is hard enough to try to build a team, how can you do that when the league drastically changes the ball every few months without telling anyone beforehand (or afterwards)?
It's absurd. As is their supply chain, bullshit excuse for 2021.
 

Ale Xander

doesn't like to back it in
SoSH Member
Oct 31, 2013
61,788
This is the sport that relies on statistics and history more than the others. Incredibly frustrating and sad if true
 

Murderer's Crow

Dragon Wangler 216
SoSH Member
Jul 15, 2005
22,225
Garden City
Reading the chart, 10 goldilocks baseballs were found at Yankee stadium last year, of which some may not have been weighed by willis but are assumed to be goldilocks because of batch numbers. Manfred making a couple of different arguments but the only real claim he makes is that they did not produce different baseballs. I believe him. It doesn't mean they didn't weigh baseballs after normal production and send them off to desired locations.
 

Pablo's TB Lover

Member
SoSH Member
Sep 10, 2017
5,058
This sucks if it is true.

I think a livelier ball hurts the Yankees more than it helps them win. Judge and Stanton don't hit too many wall-scrapers. And Cole had problems giving up the long ball this year. It's total bullshit for reasons beyond Judge's HR record chase.
Exactly my thought, if I were some average pitcher like Frankie Montas for instance (1HR/9IP Oakland, 1.4 HR/9IP Yankees in 2022) I'd start to question if it was only park adjustment or performance that spiked my ERA last season.
 

Ale Xander

doesn't like to back it in
SoSH Member
Oct 31, 2013
61,788
Cody Bellinger, who has put up OPS+'s of 44 and 78 in 900 plate appearances over the last two years, gets $17.5 million!? This guy's career might be over because of his injuries, but he gets that much money!?

What a country!
Well he did win MVP in ‘19
 

LogansDad

Member
SoSH Member
Nov 15, 2006
25,359
Alamogordo
205 baseballs seems like an absolutely ridiculously small sample size. If they got 5 of them from one batch in Yankee Stadium at the same game in September it basically nullifies their entire argument.

Don't get me wrong, I think MLB has a major problem with the baseball manufacturing. This just isn't enough for me to chalk it up to nefariousness as opposed to plain incompetence.
 

InstaFace

The Ultimate One
SoSH Member
Sep 27, 2016
18,709
Pittsburgh, PA
205 baseballs seems like an absolutely ridiculously small sample size. If they got 5 of them from one batch in Yankee Stadium at the same game in September it basically nullifies their entire argument.

Don't get me wrong, I think MLB has a major problem with the baseball manufacturing. This just isn't enough for me to chalk it up to nefariousness as opposed to plain incompetence.
I think it's pretty likely that a SABR award-winning astrophysicist knows how to run a T-test.

Furthermore, I think even just looking at it visually, we don't need a statistician in order to reject the hypothesis that all of these balls come from a single product which just has a normally-distributed bell curve of weights around its mean:

58551

It wasn't just the weight (and sometimes the presence of commemorative stamps) which distinguished the goldilocks balls, it was also that the yarn windings were tighter on the inside of those, which results in more pop off the bat. If it was just weight, you could squint and say maybe it was normal variation, with a bad batch. Oh, and the juiced 2021 balls (in green) got into the supply somehow, despite Manfred's insistence that that would not happen.

Anyway, with Judge hitting 62 and winning AL MVP, I imagine there might be some close runners-up who would reasonably think they got systematically robbed of the award (and resulting bonus payments) by the league office.
 

CarolinaBeerGuy

Don't know him from Adam
SoSH Member
Mar 14, 2006
8,390
Kernersville, NC
I’d imagine that different lots of balls are manufactured by different crews on different days. Unless the balls are randomized before being distributed to teams, it’s probable that teams got different balls and the Yankees happened to get some outlier cases down the stretch or the season.
 

djbayko

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 18, 2005
24,183
Los Angeles, CA
This is unbelievable. It totally looks like they sent the balls to games where they wanted to see more offense...including Aaron Judge late season home games while he's chasing a "clean" AL HR record. I'm going to sit back and watch the chaos.

 

Attachments

Last edited:

BroodsSexton

Member
SoSH Member
Feb 4, 2006
11,999
guam
It seems like the big 3 leagues are moving more towards entertainment than strict principles of fairness and sportsmanship. I don’t know that I really care. These records aren’t actually sacred, and it was cool watching a home run race again.
This is quite a take. It won’t be entertaining if people assume the game is fixed. When the basketball refs seem to be cooking up a competition through inequitable foul calls, it sure detracts from the game—even if it keeps it close.
This sucks if it is true.

I think a livelier ball hurts the Yankees more than it helps them win. Judge and Stanton don't hit too many wall-scrapers. And Cole had problems giving up the long ball this year. It's total bullshit for reasons beyond Judge's HR record chase.
Yes, please, someone think of the poor Yankees.
 

Van Everyman

Member
SoSH Member
Apr 30, 2009
25,052
Newton
Has anyone seen the ball Judge hit for the record? Last I saw it was being auctioned off for like $3M.

Feels like we are being perfectly set up for some über-wealthy, Damian Lewis-style Yankee hater (Steve Cohen?) to win the auction and have it sent to Dr. Wills to get cut into a hundred pieces for testing. But maybe not until Judge re-signs with the Yanks for 15/450.
 

Mooch

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 15, 2005
3,851
This is the infuriating part:

One player told Insider that one of Manfred's top lieutenants warned a players' union official not to let players send any balls to Wills for "third-party testing" and warned that the league could fire any non-union team employees who helped her research.

They were clearly trying to cover this up.
 

Super Nomario

Member
SoSH Member
Nov 5, 2000
13,887
Mansfield MA
It wasn't just the weight (and sometimes the presence of commemorative stamps) which distinguished the goldilocks balls, it was also that the yarn windings were tighter on the inside of those, which results in more pop off the bat. If it was just weight, you could squint and say maybe it was normal variation, with a bad batch.
The yarn windings are given as the reason for the weight change: "Meanwhile, the circumference and diameter of the ball remained unchanged, which indicates that Rawlings wound the yarn around the core tighter."

This article is weird. The n is really small (they don't even have weights for 5 of the "goldilocks" balls), and then there's stuff like this:

A one-gram difference in baseballs, while perhaps nearly imperceptible in one's hands, can be significant when played out in thousands of hits over the course of a season. When the Korea Baseball Organization, for instance, decided to deaden its ball in 2019, it did so by slightly increasing its size and adding a gram in weight; home runs dropped by a third. (While a heavier ball would ordinarily be bouncier, the corresponding increase in diameter had a deadening effect.)
So adding a gram makes the balls a lot livelier ... as proof, here's a case where a league added a gram to the balls as part of an effort to make them *deader.* Huh?

As for the "Goldilocks" balls being disproportionately sent to NYY games, I found this sentence interesting:
Our sample is not random. We got balls from whatever sources were available to us,
They don't share what percentage of control group balls are from Yankees games, which would be pretty important for judging how nefarious it is that such a high percentage of the "Goldilocks" balls are.
 

InstaFace

The Ultimate One
SoSH Member
Sep 27, 2016
18,709
Pittsburgh, PA
So adding a gram makes the balls a lot livelier ... as proof, here's a case where a league added a gram to the balls as part of an effort to make them *deader.* Huh?
I mean, that was explained in the parenthetical in your very quote. Density, not just weight, is a key parameter; the Koreans making them bigger ("increasing its size" / diameter) resulted in a lower density overall, therefore lower COR. Holding the size constant, greater weight = greater COR = balls fly farther.

Which explains this:
The yarn windings are given as the reason for the weight change: "Meanwhile, the circumference and diameter of the ball remained unchanged, which indicates that Rawlings wound the yarn around the core tighter."
Yes, winding the yarn tighter means more of it can get into a ball of the same size, slightly increasing its weight and thus density and thus COR. Although they described the tightness of the yarn as a separate factor from the weight, presumably affecting how it transfers energy and controls the shock waves running through the ball at the moment of impact.

That this separate set of balls were both weightier (= more dense) as well as having tighter-wound yarn, are two factors whose concurrence more strongly suggests that the categorical difference in balls was intentional on the part of the league and Rawlings.
 

Super Nomario

Member
SoSH Member
Nov 5, 2000
13,887
Mansfield MA
I mean, that was explained in the parenthetical in your very quote. Density, not just weight, is a key parameter; the Koreans making them bigger ("increasing its size" / diameter) resulted in a lower density overall, therefore lower COR. Holding the size constant, greater weight = greater COR = balls fly farther.
It's a bizarre paragraph. The initial sentence suggests the example is going to paint a picture of what a 1-gram difference can mean, but then the example doesn't do that at all. You would get points marked off for a terrible example in a middle school essay assignment; I can't believe this made it past an editor.

And I do think it's important - if a 1-gram center weight increase makes no appreciable on-field difference, than none of the rest of this matters. Maybe the author just chose a horrible example, or maybe he knows there's no difference so he used an irrelevant example and counted on readers not paying close attention. Whether we ascribe this to malice or incompetence, he certainly doesn't establish that the 1-gram average difference matters.

Which explains this:

Yes, winding the yarn tighter means more of it can get into a ball of the same size, slightly increasing its weight and thus density and thus COR. Although they described the tightness of the yarn as a separate factor from the weight, presumably affecting how it transfers energy and controls the shock waves running through the ball at the moment of impact.

That this separate set of balls were both weightier (= more dense) as well as having tighter-wound yarn, are two factors whose concurrence more strongly suggests that the categorical difference in balls was intentional on the part of the league and Rawlings.
My reading is that there aren't two factors here. There's more center weight at the same density, so it's inferred that the yarn is wound tighter.