Saturday, May 12, 2007

MLB standards allow lots of ball juicing

Baseball offense is way up in the last 15 years or so, and one theory is juiced baseballs. However, MLB insists that the balls are tested every year to make sure they're consistent.

But James Sherwood, the professor in charge of actually testing the baseballs,
says that the standard of what constitutes an acceptable baseball is way too broad:

"Their testing window is this big," he says, his hands a foot apart. "I don't know why it was ever set that wide." A ball testing at the high end could travel as much as 50 feet farther than one falling on the low end, he says. That's the difference between a lot of home runs and a whole lot of home runs.

You'd think, though, that if MLB was juicing the ball deliberately, the quality control guys would have been warned to keep their mouths shut.



At Saturday, May 12, 2007 11:23:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Without any context, I have no idea what this means. How does this range compare to baseballs used in other leagues (college, minors, etc.)? What would you expect if you bought a batch of baseballs from the local sporting goods store? What standards does Sherwood recommend and what would it cost to achieve that?

At Sunday, May 13, 2007 2:02:00 AM, Blogger Phil Birnbaum said...

I was assuming that the acceptable range was wide, but a given year's balls fit in a narrow band within that range.

You bring up the idea that a given batch of balls might fall widely in the range, which is something I didn't consider.


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