MLB balls bad for biz?

Student writer Zach Short covers the alleged lack of bounce in the baseballs being used for the playoffs.

If you think that the baseball postseason, in a sport already notorious for being slow, has been extra boring this year, you are not the only one.

Players and coaches all across the league have been expressing concerns that balls aren’t going quite as far as they were just weeks before.

In fact, the St. Louis Cardinals just released a study from their front office confirming that baseballs are traveling less distance than they did in the regular season.

The league has tried to downplay the concerns, saying that the postseason balls are from the same batch as the regular season balls, and it is true that the weather everywhere turned a bit colder right as the playoffs started, so it is very well possible that nothing is happening.

Yet simultaneously, we need to understand that the players and coaches do this for a living, they are aware of all of these factors and they still have been vocal nonetheless. It is to be pondered, however, whether or not the league is addressing the problem appropriately.

For the most part, they have just brushed the issue off to the side and paid little mind to it. This may actually be gross negligence on behalf of the league, considering the only real action in baseball is to be attributed to the sluggers of the sport.

Avoiding the problem also stands in stark contrast to the changes other leagues have been instituting to make sports more fun, such as the 2.5 step rule in the NBA that’s present in no subsequent league and the recently adopted leniency of excessive celebration rules in the NFL.

Whereas faster-paced sports are trying to create even more exciting their games, the MLB does not seem concerned at all at being closer to the action present in golf.

Of course, there is the question of what is to be done. If the league is being truthful about using the same balls, then it really is only fair that those be the balls used. Conversely, it might look better if the league reserved a special batch early in the year every season that would be used only for postseason, or even to save a slightly springier ball for the cooler games in October.

The former might seem a bit excessive or unnecessary, but could give the league some credibility in making sure the balls are ready to be used.

Perhaps they could even commission their source to make a special batch later in the year specifically for the postseason so that they are certifiably fresh for the most important games of the season.

The latter suggestion, conversely, may seem outright unfair but, if done correctly, could also be potentially considered more fair. If the ball is flying well all year, is it not right to compensate for expected weather conditions to keep the game moving much the same as it was?

These are just a few potential solutions, and I’m sure there are a hundred more valid suggestions; I just know that if it was my league having a less than exciting postseason, I would be doing all that I could to turn the bore-fest into a spectacle.

Post Author: Zach Short