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Study finds home run spike last season due to ball properties

During the 2017 Major League Baseball season, teams hit 1.26 home runs per game for a total of 6,105 home runs, an all-time record that surpassed the previous year’s mark of 1.16 by a pretty good clip. The league subsequently called on a group of scientists to find out what was behind the sharp increase.

According to CBS Sports, in August of 2017, commissioner Rob Manfred brought together various experts in the fields of physics and quantitative analysis to study the baseballs from the 2016 and 2017 seasons. Focusing their study on the physical properties of the baseball, weather and climate conditions and player behavior, the group theorized that the ball’s aerodynamic properties, particularly the drag on its surface, was the culprit.

“Though there was a range in each measured parameter, in each case, both the new balls and authentication balls were consistently within specifications,” the committee wrote in a summary of its findings. ” In fact, for some of the tested parameters, such as weight, size, and COR, Rawlings achieved much greater precision than allowed by the MLB specifications. Any variation detected was relatively small on the practical scale, and there was no evidence that it could have produced an alteration in home run frequency on the order of the increase that has been observed. What’s more, the annual trends of weight and circumference do not correlate with the home run increase.”

Reportedly, the most intriguing theory to come out of the research involved the core of the ball. The scientists said the more centered it was, he more aerodynamically sound the ball would be. The core being as little as a centimeter off meant the ball would wobble just enough to add drag and make it less aerodynamic.

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Rob Manfred says Team USA helping WBC popularity

Major League Baseball commissioner, Rob Manfred, claimed that the current WBC has been helped the popularity of the sport in the U.S.

The World Baseball Classic has been held four times in total; but, the United States of America has not won the tournament once. The tournament, which attracts healthy viewership and tourists from all over the world, has been held all four times in the United States of America. The viewership and attendance in the U.S. has wavered. This U.S. team has taken the tournament by storm with its success, however, and the attendance has seen a spike because of the youth, energy, and play of the home team.

“We’ve had crowds that not only were record-number crowds, but had passion that it’s hard to think where you saw something that good the last time,” said Manfred before the U.S. team faced a Puerto Rican team in the tournament final on Wednesday. “Just really amazing. And best of all, the games on the field have been absolutely unbelievable, compelling. Our players at their best, combined with a little nationalism, has really been a great thing.”

U.S. manager, Jim Leyland believes his team, which includes such players as GianCarlo Stanton and Andrew McCutcheon, has begun a revolution in American fandom where the tournament is concerned.

 

“I think we’ve at least been a small part of maybe putting this WBC on the map for the United States more so than in the past,” said Leyland. “I’m hoping in the future that a lot of the players have seen what’s happened here, and will be a little bit more excited about playing in this event.”

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David Price shines as Boston beats Toronto

Boston Red Sox pitcher, David Price, bounced back after two sub par starts in the 2016 MLB season to defeat the Toronto Blue Jays four to two on Apr. 16, 2016.

Price, who signed to a seven year, $217 million deal with the Red Sox before the 2016 season, gave up two runs in six innings at Cleveland on opening day and five runs in five innings in his Fenway Park debut Apr. 11, 2016 against the Orioles.

Price went seven innings and allowed six hits and two earned runs in the game with a 4.5 ERA on 107 pitches, 74 strikes, no walks, and nine strike outs.

”Absolutely, I hadn’t thrown the ball the way that I know that I can the first two starts,” replied Price when asked about the dichotomy between his first two starts and his third. ”To throw the baseball the way I did today against the Blue Jays, which is an extremely good hitting team, feels good.”

Last year, Price went nine and one for the Blue Jays after he was traded from the Detroit Tigers. He helped Toronto win the American League East and earn their first playoff appearance since 1993

Boston has won three straight and defeated the Blue Jays in four of the last five meetings between the teams.

Before not returning for the eighth inning, Price struck out the Toronto seventh inning side.

”It’s almost like he gave you the feeling that there was a closer mentality in that final inning of work,” said Boston manager, John Farrell. ”He finished the game today with a strong exclamation point to a solid outing for him.”

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Marlon Byrd suspended 162 games for PED’s

Cleveland Indians outfielder, Marlon Byrd, has been suspended 162 games for PED use. Major League Baseball announced Wednesday that Byrd, whose suspension is without pay and is effective immediately, tested positive for secretagogue Ipamorelin, a growth hormone.

Byrd, 38, had been caught previously using the performance enhancing drug, Tamoxifen, in 2012 after he was released from the Boston Red Sox. For that violation he served a 50 game suspension.

Byrd is not a home run hitter and is not known for his physical specimen. Many pundits have surmised from his second bust that the belief in a PED user “type” has become more and more of a myth.

“I alone am responsible for what I put in my body, and therefore, I have decided for forgo my right to an appeal in this matter and accept the suspension,” apologized Byrd, who accepted immediately his punishment. “I apologize for any harm this has caused the Cleveland Indians, Indians’ fans, my teammates, and most importantly, my family,” continued a regretful Byrd.

Retired players and pitchers alike have come out to speak out on the latest PED bust in Major League Baseball.

“Can I get back all the home runs he hit off me please? Thanks,” tweeted retired pitcher, Dan Haren. “Also last year magically returned from a broken wrist in 16 days, at age 38. Proceeded to homer off me that day.”

“Marlon Byrd is a joke. All you cheaters are a joke. Do it the right way one time, accept your ups & downs,” tweeted retired pitcher, Jeremy Guthrie.

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Matt Harvey cautiously confident after Memorial Day masterpiece

Matt Harvey was slow to celebrate his shut down of the White Sox on Memorial Day after his slow start to the season.

Harvey was a major factor in the New York Mets one to nothing victory over the Chicago White Sox on Monday. He allowed two hits in seven innings and also hit 98 miles per hour with a pitch for the first time in the season.

Harvey and New York Mets manager, Terry Collins, were both surprisingly cautious in claiming that Harvey had turned a corner from his sub par first 10 starts in the season.

Before the game Harvey had not won a game since May 8 and had a season earned run average of 6.08. With the win and the scoreless turn, Harvey lowered his ERA to 5.37.

Collins, earlier in the season, said that all Harvey needed was confidence. After the stellar performance from Harvey, however, Collins staidly referred to it as simply a “first step” toward returning to the form that had made Harvey an ace for the Mets pitching staff.

Harvey was also very hesitant to acknowledge any turn of fortune for himself.

“This isn’t going to really mean anything unless I continue it,” said Harvey after the game.

Harvey went on to say that his confidence was shaken during the game when he allowed Adam Eaton and Jose Abreu to get on base in the seventh inning. He also admitted that negative thoughts crept into his mind before retiring the next three batters he faced.

Harvey walked off after the seventh inning to a standing ovation from New York fans.

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Yankees owner Hal Steinbraenner blames players for slow start to 2016 season

New York Yankees owner, Hal Steinbrenner, has come to the defense of team manager, Joe Girardi, and blamed Yankees players for their slow start to the season.

“The first five weeks were disappointing, frustrating, particularly looking at the offense,” said Steinbrenner on May 18, 2016. “Clearly not living up to their potential.”

The Yankees are in last place in the American League East with a record of 16-22 and players such as Mark Texiera, Michael Pineda, Luis Severino, , and Chase Headley were critical of Girardi and his coaching staff.

Steinbrenner took all of the aforementioned players to task individually.

“When you look at a guy like Mark Teixeira, clearly, he’s not playing to his potential with the bat,” said Steinbrenner.

Steinbrenner then turned his sights on Michael Pineda.

“Whatever technically is wrong with the delivery, Larry [Rothschild, Yankees pitching coach] is going to work on, but the rest is up to Pineda to figure out. He’s a professional, and that’s what we expect from him, and that’s what his teammates expect from him.”

Steinbrenner claimed that pitcher, Luis Severino, needed to push through his current poor performance and garner some self-confidence to turn around his game.

“The coaches are doing a good job,” said Steinbrenner. “These are professional athletes. They’re the best baseball players in the world, and sooner or later it comes down to them, on the inside, to push through whatever it is they’re going through and to persevere.”

First baseman, Mark Texiera, later acknowledged that he needed to play better and that he had to find a way out of his current slump.

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Jose Bautista dazed by a surprise revenge punch by Texas Rangers

Rougned Odor, second baseman for the Texas Rangers, punched Toronto Blue Jays star outfielder, Jose Bautista, in the face to end a feud that started in the 2015 MLB American League Division Series.

Jose Bautista won a playoff series against the Rangers with a home run that he watched too long for the liking of the Rangers. Then he flipped his bat before running around the bases, which caused many baseball commentators to wonder about the potential of revenge being taken on Bautista.

In the seventh meeting in 2016 between Bautista and the Rangers, in the eighth inning during his final at bat, retribution was visited upon the Blue Jays star. He was hit with a 96 mile per hour pitch in the ribs, which escalated the tension in the ballpark.

With Bautista on first, the Blue Jays grounded to third base, causing a chance for a double play. Texans third baseman, Adrian Beltre, tossed the ball to Rougned Odor, who attempted to turn the double play before he was crashed into by Bautista.

“I can tell when someone is coming hard to second base, so I was just trying to protect myself,” recollected Odor May, 16, 2016, a day after the seven to six Rangers win.

After the hard slide, Bautista and Odor approached each other, exchanging words, and Odor shoved and then punched Bautista, knocking off his sunglasses and helmet and dazing him.

“I was pretty surprised,” Bautista said. “I mean, obviously, that’s the only reason that he got me, and he got me pretty good, so I have to give him that. It takes a little bit bigger man to knock me down.”

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Jacob deGrom placed on family emergency leave due to complications in birth of his son

New York Mets starting pitcher, Jacob deGrom, has been placed on family emergency leave because of medical complications.

Mets head coach, Terry Collins, respected the privacy of deGrom, simply saying that his newborn son was having “complications”.

The right handed pitcher, deGrom, will be inactive for up to a week, but will continue to work out at the Mets Florida complex approximately two and a half hours away from his home in DeLand, Florida. The Mets believe that as long as he continues to throw, deGrom could be available to pitch as soon as their series against the Atlanta Braves beginning Apr. 22, 2016.

“I’ve spoken to him every day,” said Collins. “He’s where you would expect him to be. He’s not sleeping much. We’re certainly rooting for him and Stacey and the baby to hang in there. … It’s a real-life situation. Certainly we take the game of baseball very seriously. This changes a lot of things. He’s such a good guy. Stacey is outstanding. You sit here the last few days — and those guys in [the clubhouse] can all tell you — they do the best they can to stay in touch with him. We’re all praying and pulling for him. Unfortunately it’s part of life and we’ve got to take care of business.”

Before the 2016 MLB season, deGrom was slated to be a large part of the young starting pitching core of the Mets. He was named the National League Rookie of the Year in 2014 and was an All Star in 2015.

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Washington Nationals looking to swipe Cespedes from Mets

Could the Washington Nationals finally land Yoenis Cespedes from the New York Mets?

The Nationals were in the running to acquire Cespedes last year, but the Mets swooped in and grabbed him, and with his help advanced to the World Series. But he may end up on the Nationals after all if he can’t come to terms with the Mets, according to an NJ.com report.

The Mets have reportedly offered Cespedes a three-year, $60 million contract. Washington, meanwhile, has also made an offer, although it’s not quite as large as the six-year, $125 million deal offered to Justin Upton by Detroit.

Swiping Cespedes from a hated division rival like the Mets would be a big offseason win for the Nationals and a potential PR disaster for New York.

There remain other suitors interested in Cespedes, even though Detroit now appears out with the signing of Upton. The Chicago White Sox have also reportedly offered a three-year deal. The Angels are also interested, but they may not make an offer as they are concerned with the luxury tax threshold.

Then there’s the San Diego Padres, who obviously have a need for a hard-hitting outfielder after losing Upton to the Tigers.

Just up I-95 from Washington is the Baltimore Orioles, who have made an offer for Cespedes but appear unlikely to land him because the offer is fairly low — not surprising considering they just resigned Chris Davis for seven years at a price tag of $161 million.

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Yankees grab closer Aroldis Chapman from Cincinnati

The New York Yankees may have a lot of questions in the starting pitching rotation, but their bullpen has just gotten a huge boost with the addition of All-Star Reds closer Aroldis Chapman.

The Yankees may have the best bullpen in the league after acquiring Chapman from Cincinnati. Chapman had been slated to head to the Los Angeles Dodgers weeks ago, but after accusations were brought against him for domestic violence, the deal fell through.

However, Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman clearly didn’t think that was a big enough issue to prevent the team from bringing him to New York to put one of the best arms in the league in pinstripes.

In fact, the Yankees have been interested in him for years. The accusations may have helped New York get him as it made him much more affordable.

The Yankees sent a group of minor leaguers to the Reds in exchange for Chapman, including the Yankees’ 2013 No. 1 draft pick.

Chapman still has to go through an investigation from the league. The local police declined to charge him due to “insufficient evidence,” although state prosecutors are thinking about filing criminal charges.

He would join Andrew Miller and Dellin Betances in an already enviable Yankees bullpen.

Cashman acknowledged in news reports that there is some concern in the Yankees organization about the allegations, and that the move was a risk, but the organization felt it was a risk worth taking.

Chapman has spent the last six seasons with the Reds, saving 146 games in 164 opportunities while posting a 1.63 ERA. He also struck out an incredible 116 batters in 66 and 1/3 innings.

Chapman frequently clocks over 100 miles per hour — up to 103.92 mph on one occasion — on his pitches.