MLB commissioner Rob Manfred denies intentional juicing of baseballs
Manfred addressed reporters Tuesday in Cleveland ahead of the All-Star Game, one day after American League starter Justin Verlander called the current baseballs "a f---ing joke."
"Major League Baseball's turning this game into a joke," Verlander said Monday. "I find it really hard to believe that Major League Baseball owns Rawlings and just coincidentally the balls become juiced."
There have been 3,691 homers through 1,345 games this season. Players are on pace to hit 6,669, which would be 19 percent above last year's total of 5,558 and 9 percent over the 2017 record of 6,105.
"Baseball has done nothing, given no direction, for an alteration of the baseball," Manfred said.
Manfred said "there is no evidence from the scientists that the ball is harder" but did say that "the drag of the baseball is less." He said they are still trying to determine the cause of the reduced drag.
"Pitchers have raised issues particularly about the tackiness and seams on the baseball and we do believe those could be issues," Manfred said.
The commissioner called the idea that baseball wants more home runs "a flaw in logic."
"If you sat in owners meeting and listen to people on how the game is played, that is not a sentiment of owners for whom I work," he said. "There's no desire among ownership to increase homers in the game, to the contrary they are concerned about how many we have."
If MLB decides to make changes to the baseball, Manfred said they would be announced publicly.
"If we were going to do it, we would do it in a way that was transparent to the media and fans before making that change," he said.