Van Grass, Meredith, MLB discussed on Effectively Wild: A FanGraphs Baseball Podcast
No way to do that without sounding pedantic, and yet I notice it every single time. This is just you develop editor as a stepping point. And most people probably skim over this and couldn't care less, but when it's your job to either put the hyphens in or take the hyphens out, then you become fixated on it forever. Now, people listening to this podcast, you read van grass regularly might have their own views on some of these things, and they might disagree with my views. And so they are listening to you, say that and listening to me go yep. And they're going put Meg, you do X, Y, and Z thing. And the great thing about being the managing editor is that you get to say, we hyphenate too much. We're not going to do it. And then everyone does it because you're the one who edits their copy before it goes live. So when I see something like that, I assume that the writer has a deep and abiding preference that is informed by some life experience or a moment of confusion when they were a young person reading a hyphenated less hyphenated text and suddenly they're like, we must put it in. And so I don't feel the need to correct them, because I just assume that they, like me, I think that some rules are kind of silly and are using their authority to defy them. And that's fine. That's a language adapts. It's all. It's all fine. But also, we have an 8 way too damn much. It's we all know. We all understand we can deal with compound adjectives. You know, it's like you have typos in text and you understand what it says because your brain is amazing and fills it in and figures it out because our brains are freaking rad. So anyway, hyphenate lesson, come up with a new hip I pitch acronym. Well, let's go where no one has gone before. Yeah, you can over explain sometimes some listeners were saying well, you can't say times hit by pitch because then it makes it sound like you have multiple times getting hit by the same pitch so you should say times hit by a pitch, perhaps that would be one way to do it. Or that you shouldn't say that you had X hits by pitch, you should say that you were hit by X pitches instead. But again, then it's more words and then you can't realize it as easily or there are certain times when you can say one thing and you can't say another or it would disrupt a list of things when you're saying that he had this many of that. And that many of that and this many times hit by pitch a pitch. There's just no easy answer, but now this was our hot hyphenation talk and hit by pitch banter for today. But the real pressing issue is not how to pluralize hit by pitch, but which ball you were hit by when you were hit by a pitch. Very good transition. No way to know. Thank you. Thank you very much. So let's get to our interview segment. In 2019, rob Manfred said, if we make a decision to change the baseball, you're going to hear about it. Well, in 2021, MLB decided to use two different models of baseball in major league games, and we didn't hear about it at all until it was uncovered by the research and reporting of our guests today. Doctor Meredith wills and Bradford William Davis. You've heard them both before on the show, but as refresher, Meredith is a data scientist and astrophysicist who has in the past few years, used her knitting skills and analysis skills to become one of the foremost destroyers of baseballs, Meredith, welcome back. Thanks for having me. And Bradford writes investigative features for insider, including the one from last week that built on Meredith's work and coaxed admission from the league forced an admission from the league, maybe welcome back Bradford. Yo, good to have you back rather. By the way, it was quite a power move to publish this piece while you were on vacation. It was like, I'll just drop this match in walk away from the fire and I'll be over here sipping butter beer at Universal Studios. That's the way to do it. So Meredith, let's talk about the two baseballs here in the timeline as best as we can establish it here. And maybe you can summarize your methods too. I know that we've asked you about it on the podcast before, but for those who are just joining us. So two different baseball models in use what separates those models in terms of construction and ball behavior. Well, the best details on this actually are in an article that Stephanie Epstein wrote for Sports Illustrated back in February because it turns out the same two balls were used in 2020. It just didn't come up as much. So in this case, the balls themselves on the outside are basically the same. You can't tell them apart if you're holding them if you're looking at them. But if you take the leather covers off, there's a wound portion on the inside that we call the center. That's the thread and then there's layers of yarn and ultimately that cork and rubber pill, which is the very core of the ball. And it turns out that those two centers are noticeably different weights. It turns out the difference is about two and a half grams, which doesn't sound like a lot except that the precision on those weights is much less than that. And so if you actually look at the measurement, there's really no question as to which ball is which. But until you take the covers off, you really can't tell. You might have lighter ones that are much lighter or heavier ones that are much heavier, but a lot of them, no, they're too close to each other with the covers on. And how did the two different balls behave? Yeah, that's a good question. What MLB said and again, this was originally reported in Sports Illustrated was that the balls were the new ball was specifically designed to decrease home runs. Now, they didn't do that necessarily by changing the drag. In fact, they didn't even test the drag. What they did was they made the ball so that that center I was talking about that the innermost layer of yarn. There are three layers. The innermost layer was being wound more loosely. Now, when that is not as dense, what you end up with is it can just squish down more and it's not going to come off the bat as hard. A good analogy would be under inflating a basketball. It's just not going to bounce if it's underinflated. So same idea. The problem unfortunately is that those tests and there was an article in the athletic that was I want to say it was sarris and Lindsey Adler. I think that's right. Those are the three. They did confirm with rawlings that the tests were basically only done in a lab. And it was only for that bounciness for what's called the coefficient of restitution or.