Houston Astros player Justin Verlander may be a pitcher, but he certainly knows how to come out swinging. The husband of model Kate Upton recently slammed Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred by claiming that Manfred is “juicing” baseballs in order to get more home runs, as reported by Inside Hook.
Major League Baseball purchased Rawlings in June 2018, in what was called a “powerful combination,” per Market Watch.
At the time of the purchase, MLB executive vice president for strategy, technology, and innovation Chris Marinak said that the merger gave the MLB a chance to provide “even more input and direction on the production” of the league’s official ball.
However, Verlander claims that since the MLB purchased the St. Louis based company, the balls have seemed to be “juiced,” resulting in more home runs.
“Major League Baseball’s turning this game into a joke,” he said. “They own Rawlings, and you’ve got Manfred up here saying it might be the way they center the pill,” he said, referring to Manfred’s claim that a more exact placement of the cork inside the baseball may be causing more runs. Manfred said that when this cork, called the pill, is perfectly centered, there is less drag on the ball, resulting in a more homer-friendly environment, via CBS Sports.
However, Verlander does not buy the excuse.
“They own the f—-ing company,” he said.
“We all know what happened. Manfred… said we want more offense. All of a sudden he comes in, the balls are juiced? It’s not coincidence. We’re not idiots.”
Verlander has struggled with giving up hits this season, with an MLB-high of 26 runs. However, he is not alone. In the first half of the season, pitchers have given up nearly 3,700 home runs, and experts estimate that this pace will mean that around 6,668 homers will conclude the season. This number is over 500 hits higher than the previous 2017 record of 6,105. Overall, the number of home runs total at around 60 percent higher than just five years ago.
Verlander believes “100 percent” that this is part of a strategy for MLB to have more exciting games and drum up viewership.
“They’ve been using juiced balls in the Home Run Derby forever,” he said. “They know how to do it. It’s not coincidence.”
Meanwhile, Manfred, on behalf of the MLB, has denied all accusations of baseball tampering, insisting that there will always be variations in baseballs due to the fact that they are “handmade” products. He has also commissioned a study into the baseballs used during games.