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New Baseball?

Discussion in the Ask the Commish forum
New Baseball?
I'm relatively new to Japanese ball, but have been reading a lot about the new ball introduced last year and how much it has stifled offense. Is there any particular reason the new ball was introduced? Were there too many home runs or something being hit? With Japan taking steps like reversing the strike-ball count to standardize the game, you would think that both leagues would use the same type ball as well.
Re: New Baseball?
[ Author: westbaystars | Posted: Apr 20, 2012 9:43 AM | YBS Fan ]

The reason behind the change was an increase in international competition. Many of the pitchers complained that the balls used in the Olympics and World Baseball Classic didn't feel comfortable due to an increase in size and stitching thread width. It took a while, but an international specification was adopted for the ball and used throughout Nippon Professional Baseball.

The catch is that the international specification used was that for the Olympics. And as you may have noticed on the upcoming Olympics schedule, baseball isn't there any more. Since the WBC is still around, many of us have been wondering why the MLB specifications were not adopted, as that is now the main international venue.

Still, using a single ball throughout both leagues is a step in the right direction. Teams used to game the system by using one ball for a series against one team and another ball for a series against another, generally depending on the amount of power the visiting team had. Such a practice skews statistics and makes creating park effects that much harder as the type of ball is not included in the newspaper box scores.
Re: New Baseball?
[ Author: Guest: guest | Posted: Apr 20, 2012 4:20 PM ]

Thanks for the detailed clarification. So, is the new ball introduced last season more or less like the ball used in MLB? (If that distinction can be made.) There is a lot of talk of Japanese pitchers new to MLB having trouble with control due to gripping the different ball, so you would think an attempt to standardize in that respect would be made.

This is a site about Pro Yakyu (Japanese Baseball), not about who the next player to go over to MLB is. It's a community of Pro Yakyu fans who have come together to share their knowledge and opinions with the world. It's a place to follow teams and individuals playing baseball in Japan (and Asia), and to learn about Japanese (and Asian) culture through baseball.

It is my sincere hope that once you learn a bit about what we're about here that you will join the community of contributors.

Michael Westbay
(aka westbaystars)

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