Skip to comments.Company Claims '98 Baseballs Were Juiced
Posted on 01/04/2007 8:04:52 AM PST by xzins
Company Claims '98 Baseballs Were Juiced
January 04, 2007 12:13 AM EST CLEVELAND - A company that uses computer imaging claims baseballs had a larger rubberized core and a synthetic rubber ring in 1998, including the ball Mark McGwire hit for his 70th homer.
Universal Medical Systems Inc. said Wednesday that with the assistance of Drs. Avrami S. Grader and Dr. Philip M. Halleck from The Center for Quantitative Imaging at Penn State, it took images of 1998 baseballs.
"Examining the CT images of Mark McGwire's 70th home run ball one can clearly see the synthetic ring around the core - or 'pill' - of the baseball," UMS president David Zavagno said. "While Mark McGwire may or may not have used illegal steroids, the evidence shows his ball - under the governing body of the league - was juiced."
But Bob DuPuy, baseball's chief operating officer, said the core of the ball has been unchanged for decades. Rawlings has been the exclusive supplier of baseballs to the major leagues since 1977.
"All of our balls are subject to rigorous quality control standards and testing conducted by Rawlings," DuPuy said. "No changes have been made to the core of the ball through the entire time they have manufactured it."
UMS specifically examined the ball McGwire hit for No. 70 - a record surpassed when Barry Bonds hit 73 homers in 2001. Zavagno said the company tested about 35 baseballs in all.
McGwire is on the Hall of Fame ballot for the first time this year, and results will be announced Tuesday by the Baseball Writers' Association of America.
"The synthetic rubber ring of the modern-day baseball, in this case that of Mark McGwire's prized 70th home run ball, acts as both a spring and a `stop,'" Zavagno said. "Much like a sling shot pulled back 10 or 20 degrees farther than normal, the subsequent restitution or rebound allows an object to fly faster and farther."
Baseball spokesman Rich Levin said what UMS calls a rubber ring is more like a cardboard washer.
"We are satisfied that the ball comports with all major league specifications," DuPuy said. "Beginning in 2000, we have had annual independent testing done by UMass at Lowell, baseball research center, under the direction of Dr. James Sherwood, and those tests have showed full compliance with standards."
Apparently so were the players.
I've wondered why they didn't do this testing long ago. I can remember when baseballs didn't float in water.
As many foul balls get taken home each year by fans, you'd think there'd be a number of these things available to disassemble and inspect.
Imaging? Why not just buy a representative sample of 1998 balls and saw them in half?
Does it make any difference if the balls were juiced! Baseball is entertainment and nothing more. It was wise to give the paying fans what they wanted, more excitment and suspense.
Nowhere in the article does it mention how much larger the balls are. Microns? Millimeters? Inches? The balls could very well be within spec, as I suspect, and someone is out for some free advertising.
So it's okay to juice the baseballs, and not juice the players with steroids? What's the difference? Both result in an artificial result.
You'd think they could collect some of these balls and test them.
I know these guys were just doing imaging, but I wonder what 9 years on the shelf does to the bounciness of a ball? Also, a ball stored 9 years in an attic where temps hit 150 degrees might be a lot different than one stored at room temp.
This is a little suspect if you ask me. There is no doubt in my mind that there is a huge steroid problem in MLB, but I fail to see how the balls could be altered in such a way.
Rawlings is not going to "secretly" manufacture a bunch of balls that will perform better and even if they did, how would they ensure that guys like McGwire and Bonds would be hitting them. If you pay attention to a baseball game, you will notice that the "playing time" of an individual ball is very short; so, if these balls were made, there should be a bunch of them out there that could be cut open and examined.
McCain will be demanding Senate hearings on why baseballs have rubber rings.
The construction of the ball, though, could still be checked. Just saw some in half and look. Time in an attic wouldn't change construction would it?
Not addressing the synthetic ring around the core....
It would have to be different construction for all the balls.
John McCain would be just the guy to check this out...but not within 90 days of any actual baseball game.
McCain/Feingold CBR 2007 - Core Baseball Reform of 2007
The CORE size would not necessarily alter the size of the ball. They would just wrap it tighter. As long as the weight and outer size are within specs, no one would know. There was a report on TV where the balls being made in Central America were being wound too tight.
As far as size, the American League has a slightly smaller specification than the National League ball, or at least they did years ago.
LOL! But would players be allowed to spend their own money on balls?
The bottom line is that if there were a bunch of "juiced" balls being used, there would have been a lot of players with 40 and 50 plus home runs not just McGwire and Sosa.
I suppose if they want to prove it, they could put ads out offering $1000 or something for fouls hit by McGwire and Sosa. For this story to have credibility, they need to find at least one baseball that was used in a game that is cut open and shows these irregularities. My guess would be that several hundred thousand baseballs are used every season, it shouldn't be that hard to find ONE if the story is as widespread as they claim.
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