Research On Baseballs, MLB Home Run Uptick Close To Release
Washington State Univ. professor Lloyd Smith and Univ. of Illinois Professor Emeritus Alan Nathan said that MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred "could be ready to present [their] research findings and explain what has caused the baseballs to drive up the home run totals" within a "matter of weeks," according to Josh Peter of USA TODAY. Nathan, chair of the committee formed by MLB in '17 to study home run rates, said that modified baseballs "could be ready" for the '21 season. But MLB Chief Communications Officer Pat Courtney said that the league "has yet to commit." Smith said, "We’ve notified MLB of our progress and their answer has been, 'That’s great, but we can’t get this wrong.’ So we need to test more balls. So far we are at about 80 dozen balls that we’re testing over different areas of the game to see if we’re right, how right we are and if everything adds up.’’ Peter notes MLB is "on pace for 6,712 home runs" this season, which would be 1,100 "more than a year ago, and an increase of more than 600 over the record 6,105 hit" in '17. Concerned about the rising numbers of home runs, MLB "reached out to Nathan" in July '17. Nathan "worked with MLB to assemble a 10-man committee of scientists and he made sure to include" Smith. Smith said that it was the "first time the aerodynamics of a baseball had been tested for a study" (USA TODAY, 8/2).