MLB Reportedly Used Balls with 3 Different Weights During 2022 Season

Tyler Conway@@jtylerconwayFeatured Columnist IVDecember 7, 2022

NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 17: Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred speaks to the media after Owners Meetings at MLB Headquarters on Thursday, November 17, 2022 in New York, New York. (Photo by Mary DeCicco/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
Mary DeCicco/MLB Photos via Getty Images

Major League Baseball reportedly used baseballs with three different weights during the 2022 season despite Commissioner Rob Manfred claiming the league eradicated the ball-discrepancy issues.

Bradford William Davis of Insider obtained research by astrophysicist Dr. Meredith Wills indicating MLB continued to use "juiced" baseballs that were supposed to go out of circulation. Manfred claimed only the lighter "dead" balls were used during the 2022 season in July, chalking up last season's discrepancies to COVID-19 and errors in production.

"Every baseball that's in use in '22 was produced under the new manufacturing process, and in fact, the process has resulted in a more consistent baseball," Manfred said in July.

Willis' research shows that not only did MLB continue using two different balls in 2022, there was also a third. Dubbed the "goldilocks" ball by the Insider report, this third ball was somewhere in between the "juiced" and "dead" balls.

The weight of baseballs has a direct correlation in their exit velocity and ability to carry in the air. Heavier, "juiced" balls fly farther, creating more home runs, while lighter, "dead" balls carry for a shorter distance.

Every baseball obtained by Insider fell within the legal parameters of the MLB rulebook. In total, Willis studied 204 baseballs obtained from 22 different ballparks.

While it's worth noting MLB says baseballs are randomly distributed, Willis' research found the "goldilocks" balls were used throughout the postseason, World Series and All-Star Game festivities. The only regular-season games where Willis found "goldilocks" balls were New York Yankees games.

MLB released a statement denouncing Willis' research, saying the report is "wholly inaccurate and just plain wrong."

"The 2022 MLB season exclusively used a single ball utilizing the manufacturing process change announced prior to the 2021 season, and all baseballs were well within MLB's specifications," the statement read. "Multiple independent scientific experts have found no evidence of different ball designs. To the contrary, the data show the expected normal manufacturing variation of a handmade natural product."

Ball manufacturer Rawlings also said the research "has no basis in fact."

Inconsistencies with baseballs have long been a source of frustration for pitchers, who have cast blame on MLB officials for their indifference.

"MLB has a very big problem with the baseballs, and they're bad," New York Mets pitcher Chris Bassitt in April. "Everyone knows it. Every pitcher in the league knows it. They're bad. [MLB] doesn't give a damn about it. We've told them our problems with [the baseballs]. They don't care."

It's worth noting that MLB began its 2022 season with a historic scoring drought before things leveled off as the season progressed.