Houston Astros starter Justin Verlander stole the show during the MLB All-Star Festivities, and it wasn’t because of his performance on the mound.
The 14-year big-league pitcher went after MLB commissioner Rob Manfredon Tuesday, claiming the league has been juicing baseballs this season. The league is on-pace to generate 6,668 home runs in 2019, which would be a single-season record.
“Big Time Baseball: Players Edition”podcast co-hosts Tony Gwynn Jr. and Ben Davis, who combined to total 15 years of experience in the majors, took issue with Manfred refuting Verlander’s sharply-worded comments.
“Manfred comes back out and he said we don’t have any idea as to what’s going on,” Davis said. “There’s more guys on pace to hit 40 home runs (than ever before). This is a joke. These balls are flying but don’t placate me.
“You can feel a difference (in the baseballs). ... It’s like a chalk ball. There’s no seams. The pitchers can’t get that rotation on ‘em. The balls are coming out flatter. It’s just completely different as to how they're coming off the bat.”
Gwynn’s heard similar sentiments from others around the game despite their unwillingness to speak out.
“When you talk to pitchers around the league, they all will tell you that the balls are different,” Gwynn said. “Now, they’re trained athletes. They’re gonna just deal with the circumstances they have and just go out and do the best they can with it.”
Davis and Gwynn also discuss the 2019 MLB All-Star Game and Ronald Acuña Jr.’s impressive power display in the Home Run Derby (14:54), the pending trade deadline (22:00), the tight American League Central race (26:25) and World Series predictions entering the second half (28:27). Newly-retired minor leaguer Cody Decker also joins them to share stories about his experiences, his relationship with the late Tyler Skaggs and what he’s going to miss most about playing at that level (32:00).