Sep 2, 2013, 5:30 PM EDT
Remember back in June when NPB Commissioner Ryozo Kato was forced to admit that the league had altered the baseballs in order to increase offense? Yeah, well Kato now wants you to know that Wladimir Balentien’s imminent Japanese home run record has nothing to do with the doctored balls:
“I doubt the ball really has anything to do with it. He is hitting that many because he has become used to (Japanese pitchers),” Kato told reporters Monday. This season, Japanese baseball has seen a marked increase in the number of home runs hit using the livelier ball.
Like any other baseball league the NPB and its records are subject to context changes, be it park size, ball composition or what have you. Rogers Maris’ home run record in 1961 was no doubt aided by league expansion. The home run records of the 90s and 2000s were the product of PEDs, expansion, smaller ballparks and — I remain convinced though no one has ever admitted it — a new baseball introduced in 1993.
What I wonder, though, is whether Japanese baseball is covered by writers who, like their American counterparts, pick and choose which objective empirical feats to credit and which to reject. And if Balentien’s legacy in the NPB will suffer as a result.
- HardballTalk’s Top 150 Free Agents for 2015 22
- Joe Maddon’s pursuit of the Cubs job called “a classless act” by some in the game 108
- Kevin Youkilis opts for retirement at age 35 30
- 10 nominees for Hall of Fame’s Veterans Committee announced 105
- Bochy’s championship resume ranks among game’s best 19
- Alex Gordon would have been a dead duck had he tried to score 82
- Video: Pablo Sandoval catches final out in foul territory, Giants win 2014 World Series 10
- Madison Bumgarner pitches the Giants to their third World Series win in five seasons 96
- A veteran says enough is enough when it comes to tributes for the soldiers (281)
- Jose Canseco shot his middle finger off (148)
- Shocker! Joe Maddon to opt out of his contract and leave the Rays (142)
- Oscar Taveras dies after car accident in the Dominican Republic (140)
- 10-0! The Royals romp, tie it up at three games a piece (109)