I remember stories of MLB juicing balls in the past (1977?). With the drop in hitting, it makes you wonder if only the players have stopped the juice. Japan has done the opposite and juiced its balls this season.
But no matter how many balls Coco sends into the seats, his performance may come under a degree of scrutiny.
In June, commissioner Ryozo Kato admitted that a more lively ball was covertly put into play at the start of the year in an effort to induce more home runs, which had dropped off after a “uniform” ball was introduced after the 2010 season to better match that used in international play.
It worked. With a month remaining in the season, teams have thus far collectively slugged more than 1,050 home runs, a figure that already exceeds the total from last year (881) and the year before (939).
But those concerned that the ball is unfairly “juiced” will need to consider that this year’s pace still lags that of the season before the change, when batters hit a total of 1,605 home runs.