September 26, 2019 / 3:23 AM / 3 months ago

MLB calls for new look at baseballs amid HR boom

FILE PHOTO: Aug 8, 2019; Minneapolis, MN, USA; A general view of a ball on the field during the fourth inning in a game between the Cleveland Indians and Minnesota Twins at Target Field. Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Major League Baseball has already taken one look at why so many home runs have been hit in recent seasons, but with 2019 taking the home run blitz to new extremes, commissioner Rob Manfred said it’s time to check again.

“We have reconvened the group of scientists that worked with us before,” Manfred told Maury Brown of Forbes.com. “We’ve asked them to take a fresh look at everything that is occurring with the baseball. We expect to get this new report shortly after the World Series.”

Differences in the baseball have been speculated as the primary reason for the uptick in the number of home runs this season.

The previous record for most home runs in a major league season was 6,105, set in 2017. That mark fell this season, when MLB saw No. 6,106 leave the confines of Orioles Park in Baltimore on Sept. 11. The 2018 total was 5,585. Starting play on Wednesday, MLB batters had hit 6,590.

“The only thing I’m prepared to say at this point in time is I do think that we need to see if we can make some changes that gives us a more predictable, consistent performance from the baseball,” Manfred said.

When the scientists began their research in 2015 leading to the first report, which came out in May 2018, they cited factors such as reduced drag on the ball and changes to the thickness of the laces on the ball.

The Commissioner’s Office said when the first report came out that it would take several steps, including monitoring temperatures and humidity levels at ballparks; reviewing manufacturing specifications for baseballs, and formulating standards for how baseballs receive their mud rubdowns.

—Field Level Media

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