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Rob Manfred wonders if the bats are causing all those homers

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Thursday’s Say Hey, Baseball includes MLB hoping you won’t notice the baseballs are different, a girls’ traveling baseball team, and Jason Kipnis not knowing how to eat a corn dog.

88th MLB All-Star Game - Batting Practice Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

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There have been multiple studies released that sure make it sound like the baseballs MLB uses have been altered enough to account for the rise in home runs across the game. MLB's response to it all has been, in short, "nuh uh" and now "did you ever think that maybe it's the bats that are different," with commssioner Rob Manfred using that tactic during questioning in Miami amid all-star festivities.

Bats are an easy target: bat production is not controlled by MLB itself, so they can try to pass off the blame to someone outside their jurisdiction. Plus, if anyone is looking to blame someone for the rise in homers, that blame once again will be focused on someone besides the league employing these players and tallying these dingers. As Craig Calcaterra pointed out, Manfred had more than a hand in the process of making it seem like MLB was the innocent victim of the steroid era instead of a willing accomplice, so this isn't even new territory for Manfred or Major League Baseball.

What's weird about all of this, though, is that no one seems that upset about the balls potentially being juiced and homers being on the rise (and no one really should be). Baseball purists loved the steroid era, too, until everyone was told to please think of the children. Lowering the seams on the baseballs seems pretty harmless comparatively, so even the oft-vocal purists are happy with the results (or, at least, not upset enough by them so as to be heard). Lowering the seams is no different than raising the mound, other than the fact that it benefits hitters instead of pitchers, and baseball's initial boom came from using a ball made from something other than rolled up wads of chewing tobacco stuffed into socks, so this isn't even new territory in this regard.

And yet, MLB is on the defensive here and it's unclear why. Fans like offense. "Juiced" balls means more offense, and without the moral conundrum that juicing players brought to the table. Just roll with it, MLB, don't spend time searching for the "real" reason we're seeing so many homers.