MLB: Rob Manfred maintains that balls are not juiced

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 25: Major League Baseball Commissioner Robert D. Manfred Jr. attends the 2017 Hank Aaron Award press conference prior to game two of the 2017 World Series between the Houston Astros and the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on October 25, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Tim Bradbury/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 25: Major League Baseball Commissioner Robert D. Manfred Jr. attends the 2017 Hank Aaron Award press conference prior to game two of the 2017 World Series between the Houston Astros and the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on October 25, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Tim Bradbury/Getty Images) /
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Once again, theories have begun claiming that the balls are juiced. MLB commissioner Rob Manfred once again has denied those claims.

Considering the home run barrage throughout the game, it is easy to understand why one would think that the balls are juiced. A record 6105 homers were hit in the 2017 MLB regular season, with 117 players hitting 20 or more homers. That total shattered the record set in 2000, when the peak of the Steroid Era produced 5963 homers.

Naturally, a season like that is going to lead to claims that the balls are juiced. While such allegations were already shot down, this belief has managed to persist. Once again, that thought came to the forefront, when Astros starter Dallas Keuchel stated that it was obvious that the balls were juiced.

Prior to Game Three of the World Series, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred was once again asked about whether or not the balls were juiced. And, once again, he reiterated that was not the case, and that the balls were within the required specifications. In fact, based on his wording, he almost seemed to feel such a statement was a knee jerk reaction to the previous game.

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It is certainly understandable as to why Keuchel, and other people around the game, would feel that way. Any time that a home run record set in the midst of the Steroid Era is shattered, questions will be asked. And, whenever players like Yonder Alonso suddenly turn into power hitters, or a player on the Royals hits more homers than Steve Balboni, it is a strange year indeed.

However, there are logical explanations. Such concepts as the launch angle have made their way to the players, leading to swings designed to put the ball into the air. In doing so, it is likely that more home runs would be hit. This approach led to Alonso’s power surge, and has adherents such as Josh Donaldson.

Such explanations are not as simple as claiming that the balls are juiced. As people will often look for the simple, seemingly obvious answer, even if it is not the truth, those allegations will persist. And it is not as though Manfred would admit to the balls being altered to create more home runs even if they were.

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Once again, Rob Manfred denied that the balls are being juiced. Even if we suspect otherwise, those categorical denials will continue.