Listen, we know it’s tough to catch up on everything happening in the baseball world each morning. There are all kinds of stories, rumors, game coverage, and Vines of dudes getting hit in the beans every day. Trying to find all of it while on your way to work or sitting at your desk just isn’t easy. It’s OK, though. We’re going to do the heavy lifting for you each morning and find the things you need to see from within the SB Nation baseball network, as well as from elsewhere. Please hold your applause until the end, or at least until after you subscribe to the newsletter.
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In the middle of June, Ben Lindbergh and The Ringer released a study showing that maybe, just maybe, a change in the baseballs was responsible for all these homers that we're seeing in 2017. We went over the study in this space and cautioned that even Lindbergh himself said it wasn't definite, even if it was likely. More evidence was needed, as is always the case with something like this.
However, now we have an additional study from another angle to look at, which makes the chances of lower seams on the baseballs (and therefore more homers) that much more likely. Rob Arthur studied air resistance at 538, using MLB's own technology, and that led him to the conclusion that the baseballs are likely different and in a way that is changing how they are coming off the bat.
As Arthur (and Lindbergh previously) mentioned, this doesn't mean the rise in homers and a change to the baseball was some nefarious scheme by Major League Baseball. However, given Rob Manfred's statements on fans loving run scoring and the need to keep fans engaged, and MLB's own role in turning a blind eye to the steroid era of the ‘90s, well, it's also hard not to see this as some intentional change by baseball rather than an honest mistake born from a change in design.
It might not matter much either way, of course. The balls have changed before many times and home runs spiked, or the mound was raised and offense dropped, and so on — it's all part of the cyclical nature of the game. For now, we're living in a home run era: one that might see one-third of the league smash franchise records for dingers in a season. Is that a bad thing?
Or, to put it another way: Do you want to know the terrifying truth? Or do you want to see your favs sock a few dingers?
- Bartolo Colon has been awful in 2017 and was designated for assignment by the Braves. Colon very well might have pitched his last (unless the Mets pick him up again), so Grant Brisbee went over his weird career just in case.
- Matt Joyce did his part to keep the homer rates down, robbing Josh Reddick of a four-bagger early in the A's-Astros game. Melky Cabrera also kept a homer in the yard, swiping this potential blast from Aaron Judge.
- We're always told we might see something we've never seen before on a given night of baseball, so Sam Miller tested that theory and then explained the results in this ESPN column.
- The Nationals lost Trea Turner to injury, as the shortstop suffered a non-displaced fracture in his right wrist. There's no word on just how long he'll be out.
- That wasn't the only terrible injury of the evening, either, as Yankees rookie Dustin Fowler wrecked his knee colliding with an outfield wall and has already undergone surgery that ended his season.
- Let's talk about something less depressing, like the 20 most Instagrammed sports arenas/stadiums/etc. in the world.
- If Zack Cozart becomes an All-Star, Reds teammate Joey Votto is going to buy him a donkey.
- Bleacher Report hosted a Q&A with recent draftee Chris Singleton, who is the son of a victim of the mass Charleston shooting from two years ago.
- Intel is trying to figure out a virtual reality MLB broadcast.
- A fan who hucked a beer at Hyun-soo Kim last year during the postseason was cleared of his charges but was still punished: One of those punishments is that he's banned from all MLB parks for a year.
- Speaking of the Orioles, they've been worse at drafting during this century than everyone else.
- The Good Phight believes there is a perfect trade partner for the Phillies out west.
- The Yankees promised that building a new stadium would make money for the Bronx, but just like with every other stadium, it hasn't happened. Pinstripe Alley has thoughts on that.
- Cody Bellinger is happy to participate in the Home Run Derby, so long as his dad, former major leaguer Clay Bellinger, is the one pitching to him.
- Here's Mary Craig on Joe Maddon, Donald Trump, and contemporary baseball politics.