MLB commissioner Rob Manfred denies Justin Verlander's allegation that league intentionally juiced balls

On Monday, Houston Astros ace Justin Verlander used his platform at the All-Star Game to express disgust with the baseball. To be more specific: Verlander dropped some expletives while alleging Major League Baseball was juicing the ball in order to increase offense and fan interest. Because our pithy description doesn't do Verlander's comments justice, let's repost an excerpt of what he said -- remember, you can read his comments in their entirety over at ESPN.com

"It's a f---ing joke," said Verlander, an eight-time All-Star who is starting his second All-Star Game on Tuesday. "Major League Baseball's turning this game into a joke. They own Rawlings, and you've got Manfred up here saying it might be the way they center the pill. They own the f---ing company. If any other $40 billion company bought out a $400 million company and the product changed dramatically, it's not a guess as to what happened. We all know what happened. Manfred the first time he came in, what'd he say? He said we want more offense. All of a sudden he comes in, the balls are juiced? It's not coincidence. We're not idiots."

Spicy, right?

Commissioner Rob Manfred and union director Tony Clark responded to Verlander on Tuesday as part of their standard All-Star Game media availability sessions. Predictably, Manfred pushed back against Verlander's allegation: 

Clark, for his part, acknowledged that the baseball has, in fact, changed.

If you haven't been following baseball much this year, the reason the balls are a point of contention is because home runs are flying at a record pace -- more so, even, than during the Steroid Era. There is substantial evidence from independent studies verifying the baseballs have changed internally and externally

The "why" part is almost a secondary concern at this stage to the "how" -- as in, how MLB intends to correct the ball to protect the game's integrity. Right now, the "how' is lacking. And so Verlander and other pitchers have the right to be peeved about the whole thing. If dropping some four-letter words is the only way to get MLB to do something about what's going on, then so be it.

CBS Sports Staff

R.J. Anderson joined CBS Sports in 2016. He previously wrote for Baseball Prospectus, where he contributed to five of the New York Times bestselling annuals. His work has also appeared in Newsweek and... Full Bio

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