Major League Baseball can’t decide what kind of baseball it wants to use, and Rich Hill is getting fed up with it.
Certainly, he’s not alone.
The league reportedly used three different types of baseballs last season. That comes after two different versions of the baseball were used in 2021. The effort seems to be developing as neutral of a baseball as possible, as pitchers have complained sometimes about juiced balls, while hitters have lamented other balls seeming dead.
Basically, it has been a while since there was a consistent ball being used. Hill, who has been pitching in the big leagues since 2005, said on Audacy’s “Baseball Isn’t Boring” podcast that there needs to be more consistency.
“I fully expect it to be different,” Hill said when asked if he was expecting a new ball in 2023. “Apparently we used three different baseballs last year. So, it always keeps it fresh, keeps it fun, keeps you guessing. You never know. But hey, look, it’s just the players' careers, not a big deal. It’s unbelievable.
“Make one consistent f-ing baseball, I don’t care. I don’t care if it’s a ping-pong ball, a golf ball, a super ball or whatever. Just make it consistent, keep it consistent for the entire year. And let the players know, how about that? 'Hey guys, we’re going to change the ball this year. We’re going to use a bit of a softer ball, we’re going to use a harder ball, we’re going to use a disco ball, we’re going to change it up and try to see what happens.' …
“I just don’t see why a hockey puck is a hockey puck, a football is a football, a basketball is a basketball, a baseball could be anything. Why do we do this?”
Hill, who signed with the PIrates this offseason, made 26 starts for the Red Sox last season, going 8-7 with a 4.27 ERA. The 42-year-old said he noticed the difference between the balls last season.
He seemed to take particular issue with the fact that the league owns Rawlings, the baseball manufacturer.
“My biggest thing is, look, Major League Baseball owns the company that makes the baseball. Is there a conflict of interest there? I don’t know," Hill said. "It’s like being a general contractor and you’re on the board in your town for zoning and who can build what. Little bit of a discrepancy there I think. I don’t know if you can be totally unbiased. That’s how I feel, I joke around, but it (impacts) careers. …
“I (also) don’t enjoy coming into the dugout or sitting in the dugout watching hitters throttle the baseball and see it get caught on the warning track. I don’t enjoy that either. Like I don’t enjoy guys getting screwed around on the hitter’s side whatsoever.”
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