The rumors that Major League Baseball is using juiced balls have been around for several years — if not decades — so nothing you hear about its existence is exactly news. Nevertheless, it still is going to get plenty of attention, especially when science appears to back that claim up.
In a study conducted by Insider and Dr. Meredith Wills, an astrophysicist, it has been revealed that MLB has used three different baseballs in the 2022 season instead of two, though, MLB had denied it.
But, Manfred promised from the podium, that was all over: “Every baseball that's in use in '22 was produced under the new manufacturing process” – meaning, the deader ball – “and in fact, the process has resulted in a more consistent baseball.”
But according to a new analysis of more than 200 balls used in games during the 2022 season conducted by Dr. Meredith Wills, a Society for American Baseball Research award-winning astrophysicist, that's not true. Major League Baseball did not settle into using a single, more consistent ball last season, Wills' research suggests: It used three.
Wills used the term “Goldilocks” to refer to that third type of ball allegedly found during postseason games, including in the World Series, the All-Star Game, and the Home Run Derby, and in regular-season games when balls with commemorative stamps were used. Perhaps the most intriguing of all the locations where Goldilocks balls were found was in New York Yankees games. For one, the report said that the only regular-season Goldilocks which did not have commemorative stamps were found in games involving the Yankees.
But what's wilder, imo, is *where* we found Goldilocks. Last year we had no discernable pattern. Within our sample this year, most Goldilocks balls show up in the 2022 postseason or regular season Yankees games. Almost every other baseball in every other location was dead. pic.twitter.com/l0Df0M65S0
— Bradford William Davis (@BWDBWDBWD) December 6, 2022
What makes the study even more intriguing — and perhaps shocking to some — is the context that Aaron Judge broke the single-season American League home run record in 2022 with 62 home runs. While three is certainly no definitive study that links Judge's home-run success in 2022 to the Goldilock ball, Insider's finding could be enough for fans to make their own wild speculations.
Finding these balls might, in any other year, seem unremarkable. But this season, Yankees slugger Aaron Judge was in the midst of an historic home run chase. On October 4, at the Rangers' Globe Life Field, Judge broke the American League record for home runs, with 62. He became the first player who hasn't been credibly connected to performance-enhancing drug use to surpass Roger Maris' 1961 milestone. Judge's offensive dominance helped him clinch the 2022 American League Most Valuable Player award.