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Dodgers: MLB Used Two Different Baseballs During The 2021 Season

The lockout has soured the mood of baseball fans everywhere. Unfortunately, some news came out recently that is not going to improve anyone’s feelings. Originally covered by Maury Brown at, as well as William Bradford Davis at, a study conducted by Dr. Meredith Wills confirms that two different balls were used in major league baseball in 2021.

You may remember Dr. Wills. Dr. Wills did a study two years ago about the changes in the ball used in MLB that resulted in a dramatic increase in home runs. This year, Dr. Wills dropped another bombshell about the baseball.

Integrity Lacking

In 2018, MLB purchased Rawlings, the company that makes the baseballs. The very next season it was concluded that the baseballs had been changed and directly affected the home run totals in MLB. One need not purchase a tin-foil hat to see the possible correlations here.

To add to this, it’s been only a few seasons since the gambling industry partnered with Major League Baseball. Betting on baseball is just part of the game and billions of dollars in sponsorship deals are infusing MLB’s cash flow. Using two different baseballs whenever the league wants can certainly affect the outcome of games. I re-iterate, one doesn’t need a tinfoil hat to be worried about this.

If you recall, players also began grumbling about this issue before this study was released. There are other places Major League Baseball could benefit from having control over the baseballs. The 2019 offseason had a very large class of free-agent pitchers. How could the overall salaries of pitchers collectively be lowered? By an increase in offense.

Again, one doesn’t need a tinfoil hat to correlate free agent pitchers making less money after a season where home runs spiked. 

Dodgers Affected?

The Forbes article references a player not named. Here is the quote.

“As one player noted, two balls hit by him with the same exit velocity and launch angle had two remarkably different outcomes during the season: One went about five rows out of the ballpark while the other died well ahead of the warning track—a difference of more than 60 feet. There may be sound reasons for the two results being markedly different—weather and time of year are among the possible factors—but with the ball’s changes now an active discussion with players, fans, and the media, is it any wonder the players now question the variations?”

There is no proof or evidence of who the unnamed player is, but that quote sure sounded familiar. Gavin Lux knows.

Dodger fans have been referencing that mysterious flyout since before this revelation about the balls was even discovered. Again with the tin foil hat…baseball’s most storied rivalry (because the Red Sox and Yankees rivalry is overrated) finally meet in the playoffs, and the series goes to five games. How did that ball not leave the park? I give a quote from Jeff Passan.

“Gavin Lux hit the final pitch of the game 106.9 mph and at a 22-degree launch angle. Batters this season, on balls hit 106-107 mph and at 22-degree launch, were 55 for 62 (.887) with 38 home runs. The Dodgers had four such hits this year. All were homers. Lux thought he had one.”

Warning and final thoughts

As for the ‘tin foil hat’ references, there is no smoking gun or proof to imply a conspiracy. There is only proof that MLB used two different balls and a lot of eery coincidences. Conspiracies often need more than just proof to be believed, and right now there is none. That said, even if there was not a shred of nefarious actions by MLB, by owning Rawlings and controlling the quality of the baseballs, MLB has all the power to control the outcomes of games. They wield all the power, and MLB fans are left with only blind trust.

NEXT: LA Selects Three Players in Minor League Rule 5 Draft

AJ Gonzalez

AJ is a lifelong Dodgers and Lakers fan who grew up in California. His whole family is also lifelong Dodgers fans. He lives in Pennsylvania with his wife, two kids, his guitars, and beagle Kobe.


  1. Of course the article conveniently neglected to mention that Lux hit his ball into the teeth if a 30mph headwind! That being said, it is a discomforting thought that MLB could be doing what the article claims

    1. I’m aware of that wind factor. I also stated that nothing about this has hard proof. Unfortunately, there never will be and that was more my point. Thanks!

  2. We need more statistics. Also, the Dodgers’ opponents had the same different balls to work with. And there should be an independent third party arbitrator-like person agreed upon by MLB and MLBPA to monitor this. There should be only one ball per season. If they are going to make changes to increase or decrease grip, or distance (golf balls) then the change must be agreed upon by both sides, or decided by an arbitrator, during the offseason, effective beginning the next season, each year.

    1. Please, they should do this and distance and increase and decrease and arbitrator and more statistics and thrid parties and it must be done beginning next year and each year thereafter, Give it a break dude or there will never be a game played again if all that crap happened.

    2. Well said Roger. In addition, MLB balls should be manufactured to a standard that has been agreed to and consistent with balls of the current era. All balls used should meet that standard AND we shouldn’t change the ball in order to change outcomes. There is history to be consistent with here! Not to mention how this could affect HOF eligibility. It’s especially bad to change the ball during a season and not let everyone know you’re doing that. Another Manfred gem!! Someone should change his little round things!

  3. Give it a rest Roger. With what you’re suggesting the games will be in arbitration and never be played. Arbitrator? Please

  4. AJ,

    I am a high-level psychometrician (social scientist) who wrote his masters paper on measuring baseball performance.

    Do you want to prove your theory? I’m your guy.

  5. Yeah. There is a bias that shouldn’t exist.
    Changing the championship (forcing the referees to check the pitchers) during the season was very bad for the league’s credibility.
    You cannot change this during the season. For example: the 1987 Brazilian Championship had a rule changed throughout the season. Since then, two teams have claimed to be the 1987 champions. It’s ridiculous. It is a symbol of incompetence.
    I know the league didn’t change the rule, but it had a big impact on the game.
    So after that, combined with the failure that Rob Manfred represents for the game, it’s very questionable.
    He kept his job because he brought more money to the league.
    So you take all that and read this story and it makes more sense than it should.
    He has no credibility.

  6. I’m not quite cynical enough, and I am cynical, to think MLB is using specific balls in specific games. However I am absolutely convinced that MLB is tinkering with ball and they go far further than they once did, even in recent history. There was a time when lots of players couldn’t hit a home run and only a few could hit it out to the opposite field. Now there is no opposite field, it’s just out to right or out to left.

    Yes, players are bigger, better conditioned and better trained than they used to be. But even so I swear they’re hitting golf balls out there, not baseballs.

    I know a guy who played minor league ball for a couple of years. We’ve talked and it’s funny, he’s kind of neutral, but he doesn’t disagree either when I say he would be hitting 20 diggers a year now. He just kind of looks away.

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