#Hot Corner

So, About Those Home Run Derby Baseballs ...

They must have some rabbit in them, right?

I watched the Derby on television. Before that, though, I was wandering around FanFest in downtown Kansas City and happened across the Rawlings guys, selling baseballs. Lest they suspect that I'm some sort of muckraking journalist like that guy in the last season of The Wire, I stuff my credential in my back pocket, walk up to a fellow behind a table and say ...

"Say, do you guys supply special baseballs for the Home Run Derby? You know, that go farther?

"Nope," the fellow said, "they're exactly the same balls."

But why wouldn't they use special livelier baseballs in the Home Run Derby? What would it hurt?

"It's just not worth it to us to make that few balls, special. The NCAA's asked us to do it for their home-run derby, and we said no. Anyway, the only way to make the ball go farther would be to wind the yarn tighter, and if we do that it won't meet the specs."

There was more, and I'm paraphrasing from memory because if I'd pulled out my notebook ... well, he would have known I'm a muckraking journalist. I so wanted someone to tell me the balls are juiced.

And maybe they were, once. But I believe they're not, now. Especially after a Home Run Derby in which the distance was immediately posted for every home run, and none traveled even 500 feet. Which, considering the speed at which the pitches were coming in, seems just about right.

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