Major League Baseball used two different types of baseballs during the 2021 season, Business Insider’s Bradford William Davis reports. The league confirmed Davis’ report in a statement, noting that the reason was due to production delays related to the pandemic.
“Rawlings manufactures Major League balls on a rolling basis at its factory in Costa Rica. Generally, balls are produced 6-12 months prior to being used in a game,” the league said in its statement. “Because Rawlings was forced to reduce capacity at its manufacturing facility due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the supply of re-centered baseballs was not sufficient to cover the entirety of the 2021 season. To address this issue, Rawlings incorporated excess inventory into its shipments to Clubs to provide a full complement of baseballs for the 2021 season.”
Prior to the 2021 season, the league sent out changes made to slightly reduce the amount of bounce in the standard baseballs, and also a weight reduction that made the balls less than one-tenth of an ounce lighter. While these balls were indeed deployed in 2021, a study from Meredith Willis (an astrophysicist associated with SABR) revealed that other baseballs used during the season had slightly-heavier centers of around 127 grams, as opposed to the newer model of ball with centers in the 124-145 gram range.
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