Going into 2020, the biggest question in baseball is not whether Gerrit Cole and Mookie Betts put the Yankees and Dodgers on a World Series collision course, or how the Astros respond to the sign-stealing scandal. The single biggest question in baseball is about the baseball itself. How will it play, exactly?
Last season’s lively baseball — lively as in the seams were lower, creating less drag, and the leather surface was slicker — led to a home run explosion throughout the league. There were 6,776 home runs hit in 2019, easily the most in MLB history. The previous record was 6,105 homers in 2017. Before that, the record was 5,693 homers in 2000.
Weirdly, the baseball appeared to change in the postseason. It was not quite as lively, and after being conditioned to expect pretty much every well-struck ball to carry over the fence during the regular season, it was a bit of a shock to see some balls get squared up and caught for outs in October. The baseball can vary just year-to-year, but even month-to-month.
The Cactus League and Grapefruit League seasons are now a week old and, at least…