Juiced ball theory
The "juiced ball" theory suggested that the baseballs used in Major League Baseball (MLB) during the 1990s and early 2000s were altered in order to increase scoring. This theory has been brought back again in 2016 with a dramatic increase in home runs across baseball. Major League Baseball has seen the most home runs hit by the 2016 All Star break since 2000.
In 2000, Jim Sherwood, a professor at UMass Lowell, was hired to test the baseballs manufactured in the Rawlings facility in Costa Rica. The tests and regulations for MLB baseballs were described in detail. He said that he did not expect to find any change from the manufacturing process that had been used for the previous 16 years or more. Various baseball manufacturers in the United States also agreed that the theory is nonsense, as there are many quality checks in place. The stitchers interviewed did not even know what a juiced ball is. On the other hand, there is an argument that their livelihood depends on baseball sales, which may increase if the balls are juiced.
Many pitchers[who?] felt that the balls became harder and traveled faster. Some pitchers performed their own tests. Kenny Rogers found that the ball in the center of each baseball was made of rubber, rather than the old cork. Billy Koch found that when dropped from the same height, the rubber balls from 2000 bounced 2 to 4 inches higher than rubber balls from 1999.
In 2000, Frank Deford, a writer for Sports Illustrated, interviewed Sandy Alderson, an MLB vice president, to discuss the possibility of a conspiracy by MLB to doctor the balls. Alderson denied this possibility, and Deford also discredited it as a conspiracy theory.
The "Juiced Ball Theory" has receded in popularity since the exposure of widespread use of steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs by professional baseball players during the same period, providing a more likely explanation for the increased numbers of home runs.
- Dan Shaughnessy (2000-05-11). "Will juiced ball study yield fruit?" (fee required). The Boston Globe. Retrieved 2008-01-04.
- Ken Daley (2000-05-19). "MLB takes check swing at juiced-ball issue". The Dallas Morning News. Retrieved 2008-01-04.
- Jimmy Golen, Associated Press. "Engineering professor tests for juiced ball." South Coast Today, 19 May 2000. 
- Stan Grossfeld (2003-07-29). "People from All Over Proudly Do Their Small Parts to Produce Baseballs". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 2008-01-04.
- Stan McNeal (2000-06-05). "Nothing unseemly ... or unseamly". The Sporting News. Retrieved 2008-01-04.
- Frank Deford. "The great juiced ball conspiracy." Sports Illustrated, May 19, 2000. 
- Jayson Stark. "Why all the runs? The balls are juiced, of course!" ESPN.com. 21 October 2002.