This World Series has been incredible. Back and forth games. Closers imploding. Walk-off wins. The Dodgers and Astros have both shown the resiliency and fight typically only seen in underdog start-up blog sites. Following the lead from 2016- which had been a 12 year high- ratings appear to be increasing again. All is well, right?
Le Cap is here to say….NOPE. All season you’ve been reading stories of pitchers complaining about the baseball feeling different. Something about seams- too high, too low, whatever. Hitters have commented that it seems like the balls are flying off the bat like never before. Home run numbers are way up. Exit velocity is way up.
What is the cause of all of this, you ask??? Rob “The Jester” Manfred himself. It’s ironic that the guy who has shown little testicular fortitude in imposing pace of play rules, has caused a huge shift in the game with his BALLS. His JUICED BALLS.
Look, I understand this like not many others. I’ve been on both sides of the coin. Let me break it down for you. In 1989 West Medford-Hillside LL was coming off the era of some really big bats in the league. It was becoming dangerous, as in ’87 and ‘88 the occasional bomb from the major league field would drop onto the minor league field and disrupt play. Something had to be done.
Coming off a solid ’88 season, I was the favorite to assume the role of ace of the Dingolo Construction pitching staff. During the warmup tosses for the season opener against MCB, I don’t recall noticing anything strange. But once the first hitter made contact, it was obvious to me that the balls weren’t jumping like they used to. Now, it’s not like there was much contact made that day (13 k’s- 1 BB, no big deal, just sayin’), but I always remembered feeling that something was up.
Fast forward to ’91. There were rumors that league officials were worried about scoring being down the previous 2 years. I can’t confirm this, but the Rotary and Kiwanis clubs are said to have been pressuring for more favorable sponsorship rates. I had moved up to the big leagues now, and my pitching days were over- it seems as though the Lions’coaching staff had decided my 42 MPH lollipop fastball wasn’t enough heat for the majors- and I was primarily a catcher, without much power. But in the 1st inning of the opener that year, I smashed a double off the wall to left. Soon after, Bobby Gill crushed a 3-run bomb to left center. It was obvious. The power was back in WMHLL. The early 90’s leadership of the league has come under fire recently, with some legal issues you can read about somewhere else. But the point is, I have no doubt in my mind that they absolutely used “dead balls” for a time, and then juiced them in 1991, as an overreaction. I, for one, think the league suffered from this type of leadership, and it proved itself on the field. The WMHLL teams were too often falling to South Medford and Wellington Glenwood in interleague matchups.
This is the same logic the Manfred is using here. It’s short-sighted, and in the face of studies proving otherwise, he’s steadfastly denied anything. This isn’t leadership. This is a coward. This is a “Jester”. I wouldn’t be surprised if ends for him like it ended for the leadership of the WMHLL. I’m not sure of the particulars, but I know it wasn’t good.
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