The long ball. 142 comments


The day after the All-Star Game, Rangers great Michael Young, commenting on the ten-home-run barrage he had just witnessed, tweeted that it’s pretty obvious something is up with the balls they use during those games. He said the two hardest drives he ever hit in his career come in an All-Star Game where the ball flew a lot farther than anything he’d ever hit before. He hit the ball so hard it surprised him. That’s when he knew something was up.

He removed the tweet a bit later, but the message hit home. Something is up with the balls.

All the talk lately about the ball being juiced because of the record home runs being hit focused on the regular season. And a huge scientific study released a few weeks ago found there to be no difference in the balls used now than in years ago.

But what about the All-Star Game? Or World Series? Or Home Run Derby? Wouldn’t it make sense to tweak those balls to ensure the casual fan gets to see what he really wants to see: offense,

Not to traffic in conspiracy theories, but it’s more than coincidental when players like Michael Young (yesterday) and Justin Verlander (in October) are saying the balls are different. They would know.

It makes sense. MLB wants ratings. Everything else, be dammed. The ends justify the means, or something like that.

Last year’s World Series was wildly exciting. Four-run leads evaporated before the scorekeeper even put them on the scoreboard. Backs and forths. Dramatic comebacks. But it wasn’t because of anything like a sustained rally. It was just waiting for the home run. And it was fun.

The Home Run Derby is one of MLB’s biggest marketing assets, maybe even its biggest. People love it. It doesn’t take much to imagine someone in a conference room in MLB headquarters in a marketing brainstorm broaching the idea of extending it to as many places as possible when the most eyeballs are on the sport, although they also use other marketing resources as the WordTree marketing company that help them improve their presence online.

Just ask Michael Young.


Trevor Bauer (8-6, 2.24) vs. Martin Perez (2-4, 7.67)
Game time: 7:05

How the Indians hit against Perez.
How the Rangers hit against Bauer.