College baseball is changing the ball this year to boost offense

26 Comments

A couple of years ago college baseball changed its rules regarding bats, which in turn reduced offense considerably. Scoring and home runs are down, which is particularly notable in a sport which had long featured big offense. In response, there has been a change in the ball to boost scoring:

The change on the baseball is relatively subtle: The seams have been lowered so it’s more like the one used at the professional level. Researchers found that the flat-seam ball could travel as much as 20 feet farther in the air than the previous raised-seam ball.

It’ll be interesting to see the results. It also makes me wonder if Major League Baseball is going to do anything to its ball, be it publicly or secretly.

Baseball has done this in the past, albeit via different means than the seam-lowering. The National League did so in the 1930s, leading to a dramatic uptick in scoring.  Many people suspect Major League Baseball tinkered with the ball in 1987 — which led to a big spike in offense — and again in 1993 which led to another big spike.

So here we are again in a time when everyone is worrying about low scoring. There are all sorts of ideas of how to indirectly boost offense. But history shows that changing the baseball leads to immediate results. I wonder if anyone at MLB has thought about this in the past few months. I wonder if I should make this my go-to conspiracy theory if, somehow, offense bounces back in a big way in 2015.