Major League Baseball is on pace to shatter its home run record. This year, players in the American and National Leagues combined have hit more than 4,000 home runs. The record, set in the year 2000, is 5,693. The last time Major League Baseball saw a dramatic increase in home runs, players were called to testify before Congress over allegations of using performance-enhancing drugs. This time around, some are questioning whether the sudden spike in home runs has less to do with the players, and more to do with the baseball itself. "We did detect some differences between the balls from before the home run rate surge and after," said sports writer Ben Lindbergh. "We were able to detect that there do seem to be some differences. The circumference is a little smaller now, the seams are a little bit lower, and what's called the coefficient of restitution or core, basically the bounciness of the ball, has increased," Lindbergh said. Enough bounce, he believes, to turn … [Read more...] about What’s behind the recent home run spike in Major League Baseball?
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In question-and-answer form, this is a look at the issues and implications of Major League Baseball's suspension of Ryan Braun: ____ Q: WHY WAS RYAN BRAUN SUSPENDED? A: Braun was suspended following MLB's investigation of Biogenesis of America, a closed Florida anti-aging clinic accused in Miami New Times and other media of distributing banned performing-enhancing drugs. Under the agreement between MLB and the Major League Baseball Players Association, no specifics of the conduct causing the suspension were announced other than it was "for violations of the basic agreement and its joint drug prevention and treatment program." ____ Q: WHY WAS THE SUSPENSION 65 GAMES? A: The suspension for the rest of Milwaukee's season resulted from an agreement between MLB and the union, eliminating the possibility of Braun asking the players' association to file a grievance on his behalf challenging any punishment. A person familiar with the deal, speaking on condition of anonymity because no … [Read more...] about Questions and answers about Major League Baseball’s suspension of Ryan Braun
NEW YORK — Major League Baseball is moving ahead with plans to expand instant replay next year. "We're pretty confident we'll have it in place for 2014," MLB Executive Vice President Joe Torre said Tuesday before the All-Star game. Video review has been in place for umpires on home run calls since August 2008. Commissioner Bud Selig initially wanted to add trap plays and fair-or-foul calls down the lines for 2013, but the change was put off while more radical options were examined. Still, Selig has wanted to proceed cautiously. "Look, life isn't perfect. The sport isn't perfect, but we live with it, and it's been great," he said Tuesday during his annual meeting the Baseball Writers' Association of America. "We have to be careful in our zest to improve things not to affect the game as we've all known it." Part of a replay subcommittee that includes former St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony La Russa and Atlanta Braves President John Schuerholz, Torre has said all options are being … [Read more...] about Major League Baseball says it’s on track for more instant replay in 2014
Some might say Hunter Wendelstedt has umpiring in his blood. He learned the craft from his father, spent eight years in the minor leagues and has called numerous playoff games in his 13-year Major League Baseball career. ¶ But when Wendelstedt strides onto a diamond now, he knows he doesn't have the best eye in the ballpark anymore. That eye, rather, is incased in a metal shell, hidden behind a glass lens, perched high above the center field fence, capturing 2.1 megapixels per frame. The camera sees all. It can zoom, freeze and slow down the action. Unlike a human, it never blinks. It never gets sick or tired, and once installed, it doesn't ask for more money. "There's never a possibility for the human eye to be as good as these high-definition cameras. That just can't happen," Wendelstedt said. "With every advance in technology, not only does the game of baseball [change], but umpiring changes." And the electronic eye is only getting more precise and pervasive. At the end of … [Read more...] about Major League Baseball umpires: Danger zone ahead?
NEW YORK — We may never know exactly what Alex Rodriguez and Ryan Braun are being accused of in Major League Baseball's Biogenesis investigation — if they beat the rap. That's because details likely will be caught in a tangle of legal gymnastics involving MLB, the players' union and probably an arbitrator, who could rule no discipline is warranted. Lengthy proceedings make it nearly a certainty most, if not all, suspensions would be served in 2014. Among the early legal issues: Does the commissioner's office have the right to announce any suspensions before grievances are decided by an arbitrator? Can a player not previously disciplined under the drug agreement be suspended for more than 50 games because of multiple violations? Three people familiar with the investigation said if management and the union can't agree on the process, arbitrator Fredric Horowitz likely would be asked to decide. The people spoke on condition of anonymity because no public statements were … [Read more...] about Thorny Major League Baseball drug probe means we might never know accusations