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Rick Zamperin: First baseball players, now baseballs, are juiced?

Vladimir Guerrero Jr., of the Toronto Blue Jays, reacts to a hit during the Major League Baseball Home Run Derby, Monday, July 8, 2019, in Cleveland. The MLB baseball All-Star Game will be played Tuesday.
Vladimir Guerrero Jr., of the Toronto Blue Jays, reacts to a hit during the Major League Baseball Home Run Derby, Monday, July 8, 2019, in Cleveland. The MLB baseball All-Star Game will be played Tuesday. AP Photo/John Minchillo

Fresh off an incredible display of power at Monday night’s All-Star Home Run Derby at Progressive Field in Cleveland comes a notion that the baseballs being used by Major League Baseball are intentionally juiced.

Juiced, as in doctored in such a way that enables batters to more easily hit home runs.

The allegation comes from one of the best pitchers of his era, Houston Astros ace Justin Verlander — the American League starter in Tuesday night’s All-Star Game — who called the balls a “joke.”

Even MLB Players’ Association executive director Tony Clark has chimed in, saying “the ball suddenly changed, and I don’t know why.”

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred has admitted that the ball being used this season has “a little less drag,” but added “the flaw in logic is that baseball wants more home runs. If you sat in owners meetings and listen to people on how the game is played, that is not a sentiment among the owners for whom I work.”

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I should also point out that Major League Baseball owns Rawlings, the company that manufactures the ball.

READ MORE: Vladimir Guerrero Jr. smashes 29 dingers to set single-round Home Run Derby record

The statistics don’t lie; more home runs are being hit this year than ever before.

Entering the all-star break, big league bashers have hit 3,691 home runs and they are on pace to smash 6,668 dingers, destroying the record of 6,105 longballs set just two seasons ago.

The Minnesota Twins lead the majors with 166 homers at the break and are on pace to belt 302 round-trippers, which would annihilate the New York Yankees’ record of 267 set just last year.

There are very few plays in a baseball game that gets fans on their feet aside from a game-ending strikeout, a spectacular catch, a runner thrown out at the plate, and a home run. Did I miss anything?

Manfred has said that he’d like to see more offence in the game, and while we love the longball, baseball may have gone a little too far in 2019.