By Kendall Baker | Axios
[Monday’s] Home Run Derby news cycle began with All-Star Justin Verlander emphatically saying that the league is juicing the baseballs, adding more fuel to an already raging fire.
By the numbers: MLB teams are projected to hit at least 6,463 home runs this season, which would break the all-time record set in 2017 (6,105) by almost 400, per WashPost.
“It’s a f—ing joke. Major League Baseball’s turning this game into a joke. They own Rawlings, and you’ve got [commissioner Rob] Manfred up here saying it might be the way they center the pill. They own the f—ing company. If any other $40 billion company bought out a $400 million company and the product changed dramatically, it’s not a guess as to what happened. We all know what happened.
Manfred, the first time he came in, what’d he say? He said we want more offense. All of a sudden he comes in, the balls are juiced? It’s not coincidence. We’re not idiots. … They’ve been using juiced balls in the Home Run Derby forever. They know how to do it.”
All-Star Justin Verlander, via ESPN
Context: MLB does in fact own Rawlings, but they purchased the company last summer — more than two years into this ongoing home run surge. Obviously, that hurts the argument that the balls were suddenly altered once MLB took control.