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Justin Verlander thinks the baseballs are juiced and sign-stealing lengthens games

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MLive.com’s Evan Woodbery has an interesting read up today focusing on Tigers starter Justin Verlander. Verlander read the recent piece from The Ringer by Ben Lindbergh, featuring research from Mitchell Lichtman, that concluded that the baseballs were changed starting after the 2015 All-Star break.

“Are people talking about this? Are people writing about this?” Verlander asked.

Verlander said, “The old eye test is the best thing to go by. Guys that have been around this game for a long time, you see balls leaving the yard that probably shouldn’t be.” He added, “If it is true, I wish MLB would just say, ‘Yeah, we wanted more offense.’ But the explanation of why home runs are going out at such an extreme rate…I think people just want answers to that. Specifically pitchers. I don’t think hitters mind too much.”

Speaking about another one of baseball’s recent issues, the pace of play, Verlander suggested that the increasingly complex signs between catchers and pitchers is adding to the downtime in between pitches.

The game comes to a screeching halt when guys get on base, and specifically when guys get in scoring position on second base. The signs have to be more advanced than they ever were before.

Those 1-2-3 innings go pretty quick. It’s when guys get on base: Pitchers picking off and stepping off, managers giving signs to the catcher, catcher giving the signs to the pitcher. All these things take place and that’s where the lull is. I think there’s a lot of extra space in that area we could tighten up.

I have much more advanced signs now. I have fallback signs for my fallback signs. There’s a lot of stuff happening that makes it pretty easy to get off rhythm with the catcher or maybe throw the wrong pitch or have to say, ‘Hold on, let’s talk about this, because we’re not on the same page.

If Verlander got his way, Major League Baseball would come clean about altering baseballs and crack down on sign-stealing.

Report: Raul Mondesi sentenced to eight years in prison for corruption as mayor of San Cristobal

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Former major league outfielder Raul Mondesi has been sentenced to eight years in prison and fined 60 million pesos for corruption as mayor of San Cristobal in the Dominican Republic, Hector Gomez reports. Mondesi served a six-year term as mayor from 2010-16. He initially ran on the ballot of the Dominican Liberation Party, but switched to the Dominican Revolutionary Party over a year later.

Mondesi, 46, played parts of 13 seasons in the majors for the Dodgers, Blue Jays, Yankees, Diamondbacks, Pirates, Angels, and Braves. He won the NL Rookie of the Year Award in 1994 with the Dodgers, made one All-Star team, and won two Gold Glove Awards. He is the father of the Royals infielder of the same name.

Sherwin Williams is trying to back out of a charitable contribution at Angel Stadium

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The paint company Sherwin Williams created a neat promotion at Angel Stadium. There’s a giant paint can with the brand name in left-center field. If a player hits a ball into the can, Sherwin Williams will donate $1 million to the Angels Baseball Foundation, the Angels’ charity for kids.

Angels outfielder Justin Upton appeared to trigger that charitable contribution when he hit a solo home run to left-center field against Indians closer Cody Allen on Tuesday night. The ball bounced in front of the can and then went in on a hop.

ESPN reports that Sherwin Williams is using a technicality to try and get out of the obligation. Because Upton’s home run didn’t land in the can on the fly, Sherwin Williams is saying they’re not obliged to make the $1 million donation. In 2014, Frazee Paint and the Angels agreed to the paint can promotion and indeed the press release says, “…if an Angels player hits a home run that lands in the can on the fly, the company will make a $1 million donation to benefit the Foundation’s efforts to improve the lives of children in the community.” Frazee Paint is now owned by Sherwin Williams.

According to Forbes, Sherwin Williams is worth $29.2 billion, ranking at 724 on the Global 2000. One would imagine ponying up the relatively minuscule sum of $1 million would be worth it rather than taking the P.R. hit from the dozens of articles that have been and will continue to be written about the company’s pedantry over a charitable donation to needy children.

MLB is currently not allowing the video to be embedded so here’s the link if you want to watch it.