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Discussion on Baseballs through the years

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  • #91
    I take it you actually read what URI did right?

    You do realize that they tested exactly one ball from 1963, 1970, 1989, 1995, and 2000 and all of these balls were obtained through a radio call in show from people who were willing to donate a ball? So right off the bat the scientific value is dubious. You have an extremely small sample size and you don't even have controlled environment. You have no idea what was done to these balls over the years, how they were stored, where they were stored, or if they are really truly from those years. They didn't scientifically confirm anything. They didn't find that they were not being made to spec and therefore got exceptionally live balls. What they found was artificial fibers which they themselves had no real idea what it would do but they thought that maybe it would lead to livelier balls, but in truth they don't know what it will do.

    By the way here is what Hilliard said about his own URI tests:
    It's very hard to control for age. Without more tests, we can't say anything conclusive.
    Here is what Linda Welters said about the synthetic fibers which she tested for (which as it turned out they had only completed the test on the 2000 ball and had no results on the 1989 or 1995 ball, but did find that the 1977 ball had synthetic fibers in it)
    The synthetic fibers may not be uniformly distributed in the winding, so we'll need more tests before we can say anything conclusive."
    Here is what Paul Dubin says, the supplier of wool:
    Paul Dubin strenuously disagrees. He says his company tests the yarn every day to ensure that it is within Major League guidelines.
    Now obviously Mr. Dubin could very well be lying afterall who is going to say they are not doing what they are supposed to be doing?
    Last edited by Ubiquitous; 07-25-2007, 11:28 AM.

    Comment


    • #92
      Originally posted by Ubiquitous
      I take it you actually read what URI did right?

      You do realize that they tested exactly one ball from 1963, 1970, 1989, 1995, and 2000 and all of these balls were obtained through a radio call in show from people who were willing to donate a ball? So right off the bat the scientific value is dubious. You have an extremely small sample size and you don't even have controlled environment. You have no idea what was done to these balls over the years, how they were stored, where they were stored, or if they are really truly from those years. They didn't scientifically confirm anything. They didn't find that they were not being made to spec and therefore got exceptionally live balls. What they found was artificial fibers which they themselves had no real idea what it would do but they thought that maybe it would lead to livelier balls, but in truth they don't know what it will do.

      Ubi; I haven't read the University study which you and TR have been discussing. My comments are directed to the logic of some of the assertions you are making in your attack upon the study.

      First, if the study was done unprofessionally or haphazardly as your comments seem to be suggesting then its results will not carry much weight in the court of public opinion.

      It seems that one of your foremost criiticisms of this particular study is your claim that the balls from previous seasons which were tested were obtained through appeals made to the public on a talk radio show. However, stop and think for a minute. The very reasons any tests are being made is because people are highly suspicious of major league baseball and the company manufacturing the balls at their behest. It is believed that these entities have been pulling a fast one on the public. So where are the people conducting the study going to get the baseballs to be tested? From major league baseball? From the Company that made the ball? From some entity which has affiliations to or which is under the control of major league baseball? So, would you have the very people whose credibility is under question control and determine which balls are to be tested?

      How else would the people conducting the study obtain legitimate samples from unbiased sources except by going to the public at large. Through questioning of the person providing the ball or other appropriate protocols I don't think it would be that difficult to obtain satisfactory authentication as to what year they came from or where they were kept since that date. In most cases, I wouldn't think that a souvenir or autographed baseball is likely to be misused.

      Also, keep this in mind. Whether this study or that study was done effeciently is somewhat beside the point. We should know from simple deductive reasoning that the balls were altered for certain seasons. Baseball hitting is a simple example. You only have 2 objects involved, a ball and a bat. If there is a sudden explosion in home run hitting across the entire league by viturally the same players batting against the same pitchers in the same ball parks, as there was for example in the 1996 season in the American League, elementary logic dictates that either the balls and/or the bats have been altered, and if the bats have remained constant it has to be an alteration of the baseball. All of your criminal defense attorney type posturing on behalf of the "powers that be" does not change this simple logic.

      c JRB

      Comment


      • #93
        Originally posted by JRB View Post
        First, if the study was done unprofessionally or haphazardly as your comments seem to be suggesting then its results will not carry much weight in the court of public opinion.
        That is not what Ubiq is suggesting at all from my understanding of his post. His point is that that the sample size is extremely small and the methodology is flawed. The court of public opinion has no bearing on whether the balls of the present are more lively. The determination of this should be based on empirical analysis not public opinion.

        It seems that one of your foremost criticisms of this particular study is your claim that the balls from previous seasons which were tested were obtained through appeals made to the public on a talk radio show. However, stop and think for a minute. The very reasons any tests are being made is because people are highly suspicious of major league baseball and the company manufacturing the balls at their behest. It is believed that these entities have been pulling a fast one on the public. So where are the people conducting the study going to get the baseballs to be tested? From major league baseball? From the Company that made the ball? From some entity which has affiliations to or which is under the control of major league baseball? So, would you have the very people whose credibility is under question control and determine which balls are to be tested?
        Again you are missing the point. I can't speak for Ubiq but my understanding of his point is that:

        1) The sample size is too small
        2) We have no idea where of how the 30-40 year old balls have been kept all this time.

        How else would the people conducting the study obtain legitimate samples from unbiased sources except by going to the public at large. Through questioning of the person providing the ball or other appropriate protocols I don't think it would be that difficult to obtain satisfactory authentication as to what year they came from or where they were kept since that date. In most cases, I wouldn't think that a souvenir or autographed baseball is likely to be misused.
        It's not a question of the fan's ethics or agenda but how the balls were stored.

        Also, keep this in mind. Whether this study or that study was done effeciently is somewhat beside the point. We should know from simple deductive reasoning that the balls were altered for certain seasons. Baseball hitting is a simple example. You only have 2 objects involved, a ball and a bat. If there is a sudden explosion in home run hitting across the entire league by virturally the same players batting against the same pitchers in the same ball parks, as there was for example in the 1996 season in the American League, elementary logic dictates that either the balls and/or the bats have been altered, and if the bats have remained constant it has to be an alteration of the baseball. All of your criminal defense attorney type posturing on behalf of the "powers that be" does not change this simple logic.
        A phenomena like hitting HRs is far more complex than trying to reduce to a just the ball and the bat. You don't just have two objects involved. And what happened in 1997? Home runs and runs scored went down.

        I'll ask this question again. How do you address the issues of a deterioration of a ball over time? A ball is made out of leather, yarn, and rubber. You don't think if a ball is exposed to heat, humidity, and light for 30-40 years the ball's characteristics will not change over time? A ball from 1960 will assuredly not react off a bat today as it did back in 1960. That is the fundamental concern that no one seems to want to address.
        Strikeouts are boring! Besides that, they're fascist. Throw some ground balls - it's more democratic.-Crash Davis

        Comment


        • #94
          Originally posted by Honus Wagner Rules View Post


          A phenomena like hitting HRs is far more complex than trying to reduce to a just the ball and the bat. You don't just have two objects involved. And what happened in 1997? Home runs and runs scored went down.

          I'll ask this question again. How do you address the issues of a deterioration of a ball over time? A ball is made out of leather, yarn, and rubber. You don't think if a ball is exposed to heat, humidity, and light for 30-40 years the ball's characteristics will not change over time? A ball from 1960 will assuredly not react off a bat today as it did back in 1960. That is the fundamental concern that no one seems to want to address.
          No, as I stated in my previous post as long as you have the same batters, and the same pitchers, and are playing in the same ballparks, when there is a sudden and massive increase in home runs by these same batters batting against the same pitchers in the the same parks as happened in the AL in 1996 then simple logic dictates that it is due to alterations of the bat and/or baseball, and if the bats haven't changed then is must surely be the baseball. It is a matter of common sense that the baseballs had been altered, the only question that might possibly be answered by testing is to determine the precise extent of the alteration and the means by which it was carried out.

          If home runs go down dramatically the year following a season in which home runs rose dramatically it likely only means that the baseball was again tweaked prior to the next season.

          c JRB

          Comment


          • #95
            One of the major difficulties in reaching any decision on the exact specifications and performance of baseballs has been the MLB's record of secrecy and deceit. I am certainly open to considering any scientific studies, but the citation above to the Baseball Research Institute contained absolutely no scientific data that I could find, and its conclusions are inconsistent with the opinions of ballplayers and other hands-on experts who regularly comment on the balls batting-enhanced characteristics. Also of grave concern is that the Baseball Research Institute was founded on funds from the MLB and Rawlings, and conducted the referenced tests at their behest.

            The URI Forensic Sciences Study (in association with Brown) was indeed very scientific. Moreover, they published their methodologies, findings, and conclusions. And, in true scientific form, they acknowledged the limits of their testing methodolgies. They did not hide anything, as have the MLB, Rawlings, and the BRI. This demonstrates more scientific integrity and reliability.

            The URI findings are indeed scientific, and more in comport with experiential evidence. I can't understand why someone would so easily accept an MLB/Rawlings sponsored test as superior to the URI study, when its the MLB and Rawlings themselves that are the parties suspected of deceiving the public - especially when their findings are so obviously in conflict with what others are observing.

            If anyone, including Ubi, has access to any published scientific studies on the MLB balls, please direct me to them. If anyone, including Ubi, has read their reports, but cannot cite or post them, please summarize the methodologies and findings.

            So far, from what I've seen, the URI findings and conclusions are of far greater accuracy and integrity. But I'm willing to read whatever's available.

            As with the steroid issue, the MLB has little if any credibility when it comes to their denying contrived factors behind the offensive explosion of the '90s forward. Believing them, or Rrawlings, would be like believing (Big Tobacco's)Tobacco Research Institute's claims about how harmless cigarette's are.

            I can't understand how anyone could so totally dismiss a scientific study like the URI's, and simultaneously give credence to (and disseminate) totally unsubstantiated rumors that Babe Ruth used farm animal semen to boost his home run production. Something very odd about that.

            This is also similar to false claims that steroids in Baseball were not a known problem in the early '90s, when indeed they were. The MLB has obviously been engaged in fraud and deception order to hide from the public the true reasons for the home run bonanzas of recent years - from Canseco to Bonds.

            Below is a current ball, signed by Mr. Credibility.

            Attached Files
            Last edited by TRfromBR; 07-25-2007, 02:09 PM.

            Comment


            • #96
              Originally posted by JRB View Post
              No, as I stated in my previous post as long as you have the same batters, and the same pitchers, and are playing in the same ballparks, when there is a sudden and massive increase in home runs by these same batters batting against the same pitchers in the the same parks as happened in the AL in 1996 then simple logic dictates that it is due to alterations of the bat and/or baseball, and if the bats haven't changed then is must surely be the baseball. It is a matter of common sense that the baseballs had been altered, the only question that might possibly be answered by testing is to determine the precise extent of the alteration and the means by which it was carried out.

              If home runs go down dramatically the year following a season in which home runs rose dramatically it likely only means that the baseball was again tweaked prior to the next season.

              c JRB
              Pleese don't speak in absolutes as if your statements are logical tautologies. They are not. These are the things that are in dispute. Plus you are employing circular logic. We are trying to determine why HRs have gone up dramatically. One possible answer is that the balls have been changed. Then you assert the balls have been changed and we know this because of the increase in HRs. Do you see the problem with this line of thinking?
              Last edited by Honus Wagner Rules; 07-26-2007, 12:44 AM.
              Strikeouts are boring! Besides that, they're fascist. Throw some ground balls - it's more democratic.-Crash Davis

              Comment


              • #97
                So apparently the ball was changed in the AL and only in the AL in 1996? That is the damning proof? The NL from 1994 to 1998 stayed pretty constant with their homer rate at about .96.

                The AL actually shot up in 1994 and stayed high with a peak in 1996 that the AL didn't approach again until 2000. Peaks are nothing unusual in and of themselves. So what happened in 1994? Well Cleveland Stadium got replaced with Jacobs Field, Camden was in its second year, and Texas moved into their new stadium. Do three new stadiums explain it all? Of course not but it isn't as simple as saying the only things that matter is bat and ball. You had expansion the year before, new stadiums built, and a newer group of players playing. Does all of that explain it all? Of course not again. But my point is that there is more to it then bat and ball. We haven't done enough yet to simply reduce the equation to bat or ball.

                HWR pretty much summed up my view on the baseballs. For TR I will say that the BRI tested over 150 baseballs, URI tested 5 balls and had absolutely nothing convincing to say. They said a 5 month old ball is livelier then a 40 year old ball stored god knows how. Well I honestly don't need a scientist to tell me that. The data and the numbers provided don't mean a thing, they are false numbers. It reminds me of the old Greek experiment in which they stored meat in a sealed container and when they saw flies buzzing about after a couple of days they pronounced that flies spontaneously produce from spoiled beef. The proof? Why just look in the container, see the flies, isn't that proof enough?

                I'm pretty much have no doubt that balls have gotten consistently better over the years. I bet the +/- on balls is much much smaller now then it was 30 years ago or 40 years ago or 50 years ago. I am pretty sure that balls fly farther now then then.

                Comment


                • #98
                  (AP) Scientists prove that bread is better today than in the 1920's.

                  In an investigation of a common loaf of bread, scientists at Doofusville College have found that the modern loaf is denser and softer than a loaf of bread baked in 1924.

                  Mass-spectrometer analysis showed that the modern loaf of bread contained approximately 25% water, while the 83 year old loaf had virtually no water at all in it. Furthermore, resiilience tests on the old bread found it to be "hard and inflexible, and very easy to break".

                  The 1924 loaf was discovered stored in an abandoned icebox in a Chicago apartment formerly used by gambler Arnold Rothstein. It stayed immune to rodent and insect infestations due to the sealed cover of the icebox.

                  "It's hard to figure out how those guys back in the 20's ate this stuff." said Dr. N.O. Control of Doofusville U. "It was hard as a rock. Those people must have had terrifically strong teeth. It's a sign of the degeneracy of modern youth that we can't eat bread like this any more."


                  The moral of the story, of course, is that baseballs are made of leather, yarn and cork. All of these substances are organic, contain water, and will lose mass, resiliency, and elasticity as they age. An old, unused baseball will always act "dead" compared to a newer one.

                  Any other ideas of a secret conspiracy to change baseballs in 1920 or 1987 or 1996 should be sent to the Conspiracy Investigations Office, Roswell, NM.

                  Comment


                  • #99
                    Well, now it's perfectly clear to me why you completely missed the steroid scandal in Baseball from the late '80's on, Ubi. And why you are able to completely disregard scientific tests that disprove your inaccurate theories, yet disseminate totally false and unsupported rumors about Babe Ruth using steroids.

                    And Gee Walker, perhaps the modern brain is denser than the ones from 1924, too. For you not to recognize that the MLB has indeed been engaged surreptitiously in boosting home run production is more amazing than the Roswell rubber alien. And the Owners have made a lot of bread. Perhaps you, too, failed to see the steroid scandal.

                    Comment


                    • Originally posted by Gee Walker View Post
                      (AP) Scientists prove that bread is better today than in the 1920's.



                      Any other ideas of a secret conspiracy to change baseballs in 1920 or 1987 or 1996 should be sent to the Conspiracy Investigations Office, Roswell, NM.
                      Ah, you are so witty and brilliant. Of course anyone that doesn't think in lock step with your group must be delusional

                      Comment


                      • Originally posted by Ubiquitous View Post

                        The AL actually shot up in 1994 and stayed high with a peak in 1996 that the AL didn't approach again until 2000. Peaks are nothing unusual in and of themselves. So what happened in 1994? Well Cleveland Stadium got replaced with Jacobs Field, Camden was in its second year, and Texas moved into their new stadium. Do three new stadiums explain it all? Of course not but it isn't as simple as saying the only things that matter is bat and ball. You had expansion the year before, new stadiums built, and a newer group of players playing. Does all of that explain it all? Of course not again. But my point is that there is more to it then bat and ball. We haven't done enough yet to simply reduce the equation to bat or ball.


                        Ubi: Did you or another moderator move all the posts on this topic over to this thread?

                        Since the discussion was whether the ball used in the AL in 1996 was likely altered let's put the matter in historical context'

                        HIGHEST SINGLE SEASON TEAM HOME RUN TOTALS IN AMERICAN LEAGUE DURING 60 YEAR PERIOD OF 1901 TO 1960 (154 game schedule)

                        1. 193-----1960 Yankees (Mantle, Maris et al)
                        2. 190-----1956 Yankees (Mantle et al)
                        3. 182-----1936 Yankees (Gehrig, DiMaggio et al)
                        4. 175-----1955 Yankees (Mantle et al.)
                        4. 175-----1937 Yankees (DiMaggio, Gehrig, et al)
                        6. 174-----1938 Yankees (DiMaggio, Gehrig, et al)
                        7. 167-----1959 Indians (Colavito et al)
                        8. 166-----1957 A's (Zernial et al)
                        8. 166-----1939 Yankees (DiMaggio et al.)
                        9. 164-----1958 Yankees (Mantle et al)

                        In 1961 the AL had its first expansion to ten teams. Due to a combination of weakened pitching due to expansion, a powerful lineup and a short right field porch, the Yankees were able to set an all-time single season team home run record of 240 in 1961. This was 51 home runs more than the next highest team in the league.

                        TEAMS THAT HAVE HIT 200 OR MORE HOME RUNS IN AMERICAN LEAGUE DURING PERIOD 1961 THROUGH 1998 (162 game schedule except 144 in 95)

                        YEAR-------TEAM--------NUMBER OF HOME RUNS

                        1961----- Yankees--------- 240
                        1962----- Tigers------------209
                        1963------Twins------------225
                        1964------Twins------------221
                        1970------Red Sox--------- 203
                        1977------Red Sox----------213
                        1980------Brewers----------203
                        1982------Brewers----------216
                        1985------Orioles-----------214
                        -----------Tigers-----------202
                        1987------Tigers------------225
                        -----------Blue Jays--------215
                        -----------Orioles-----------211
                        1991-------Tigers-----------209
                        1995-------Indians----------207
                        1996-------Orioles---------257
                        ------------Mariners-------246
                        ------------A's-------------243
                        ------------Rangers--------221
                        ------------Indians---------218
                        ------------Red Sox--------209
                        ------------Tigers----------204
                        1997-------Mariners-------264
                        ------------Indians--------220
                        1998-------Mariners-------234
                        ------------Blue Jays------221
                        ------------Orioles---------214
                        ------------Yankees-------207
                        ------------Red Sox--------205
                        ------------Rangers--------201


                        So, in the 35 years period between 1961 and 1996, only 15 times did a team hit more than 200 home runs in a season in the AL. However, in 1996 7 teams hit more than 200 home runs in a single season, including 3 teams which bested the all time record. In the brief 3 year period 1996 to 1998, 15 times teams hit more than 200 home runs in a season equaling the record of the entire preceding 35 years, and 4 teams broke the all time single season team home run record.

                        When this sudden home run explosion occurred, it was logically deduced by many to be the result of a surreptitious change in the ball. The apologists have had 10 years to come up with a convincing alternative explanation but have utterly failed to do so.

                        c JRB
                        Last edited by JRB; 07-25-2007, 06:00 PM.

                        Comment


                        • Originally posted by JRB View Post
                          When this sudden home run explosion occurred, it was logically deduced by many to be the result of a surreptitious change in the ball. The apologists have had 10 years to come up with a convincing alternative explanation but have utterly failed to do so.

                          c JRB
                          I'm sorry but nothing of the sort has deduced. You have utterly failed to make nothing more than assertions. Assertions are not proof. In any logical deductive argument you must make two assertions that force the conclusion. No one has yet to to that with the increase in HRs and the supposed change of the ball. We have witnessed an increase of HRs. One possible cause is the ball. But then people argue that we "know" the ball has been changed because many more HRs have been hit. That is a classic example of a circular argument.

                          And I'll ask for the third time. How do we address the issues of how a baseball's materials degrade over time. A 50-60 year old ball will most definitely not respond off a bat today than it did 50-60 years ago.
                          Strikeouts are boring! Besides that, they're fascist. Throw some ground balls - it's more democratic.-Crash Davis

                          Comment


                          • Early evidence leading to the belief that the baseballs were being manufactured differently originated with players who noticed that balls began to not only travel farther in batting practice, for instance, but also were different in look and feel. Both pitchers and batters have noticed the differences.

                            Your concern, HWR, about the effects of age on balls being tested are valid. From what I read, I am satisfied that the URI tests demonstrated a healthy respect for that concern. And advanced spectrographic analysis didn't seem to indicate any deterioration of tested balls that would undermine the scientific findings made. But, I'm all for further tests, with larger samples. And for published methodologies & findings. One major problem is that the MLB does not appear to be honestly cooperating with such tests ... much in the way they have clearly lied about their knowledge concerning steroid use in Baseball. I don't think they've earned the trust of good fans like yourself.

                            Comment


                            • While that test at Rhode Island University did have some flaws, we don't know if the balls turned in by fans were from the years they claimed them to be, the sample was too small there was one unanswered question.

                              Where did the balls come from, those with the over the limit amount of synthetic material. Also passing of time would not have any effect on that part of the test. That was not a bounce test where we would expect older balls to possibly have less bounce, the test was internal.

                              The big question why didn't Bud Selig answer calls made to his office to speak about the out of specs balls, over the limit synthetic material. The editors of Popular Science made a number off calls to Selig's office years ago, after the test he never returned a call.

                              Does this mean Bud had something to hide, the balls were out of specs and that problem should have been corrected. No it does not mean he was hiding something. No it does not mean that we can say the ball was livlier.

                              But in the end it only makes fans more suspicious, whey didn't Bud just pick up the phone, return the calls.
                              Last edited by SHOELESSJOE3; 07-26-2007, 06:35 AM.

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                              • Originally posted by SHOELESSJOE3 View Post
                                While that test at Rhode Island University did have some flaws, we don't know if the balls turned in by fans were from the years they claimed them to be, the sample was too small there was one unanswered question.

                                Where did the balls come from, those with the over the limit amount of synthetic material. Also passing of time would not have any effect on that part of the test. That was not a bounce test where we would expect older balls to possibly have less bounce, the test was internal.
                                Yes we would too expect a passage of time to effect that part of the test. The internal part of a ball is not something that is sealed in some cryogenic container.

                                The URI team did compression tests on the pills and guess what the 2 oldest pills, the ones that were 30 and 37 years old were stiffer. Go figure, I never would have guessed that one. A rubber and cork pill that got stiffer as the decades go by.
                                Last edited by Ubiquitous; 07-26-2007, 09:48 AM.

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