NPB Comissioner Ryozo Kato apologizes for changing the baseball

Koji Watanabe

Japanese officials wanted to increase offense in the game to add excitement.

Nippon Professional Baseball Commissioner Ryozo Kato apologized for his organization changing the baseball without telling any of the players, reported by Jim Armstrong of the Associated Press

The commissioner met with representatives from the 12 teams to issue his apology, stating:

"I've caused a lot of trouble for the fans, players and people connected to the game. Baseball is very important in Japan's sporting culture and I have to carefully reflect on my responsibility to the game."

The league has seen a 40 percent increase in the number of balls to leave the yard this year, which prompted fans and players to question the baseball. NPB denied changing the ball for months, but came clean on Tuesday.

The leaders of the NPB claim that they altered the ball to make the game more exciting by adding more offense. The players union had asked clubs to review the previous ball in use, but they did not know that the league had switched out the baseball. Union chairman Motohiro Shima discussed some of the issues that stem from the lack of transparency with the Bangkok Post:

"The numbers of home runs and .300 hitters (considered a high batting average) has apparently increased. The earned run average of pitchers has worsened. It has affected players who signed deals on the results of performances in the years when the uniform ball was introduced."

Kato has indicated that he has no plans to resign his position, and will work from the inside to reform his organization.

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