Verlander got 'chewed out' by Torre before All-Star Game
Warning: Story contains coarse language
The Houston Astros ace was called into an office with MLB's chief baseball officer Joe Torre, former Detroit Tigers manager Jim Leyland, and at least one other official before Tuesday's All-Star Game, according to Jayson Stark of The Athletic.
Upon exiting the meeting, Verlander told fellow All-Star and Astros teammate Gerrit Cole, "Man, I just got chewed out."
Heading into the All-Star break, Verlander told ESPN that the balls being used are "a fucking joke" and questioned why the league hasn't been able to identify the reason for the surge in home runs despite owning Rawlings, the company that makes the baseballs.
"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," Verlander said. "(Commissioner Rob) Manfred ... said we want more offense. All of a sudden he comes in, the balls are juiced? It's not coincidence. We're not idiots."
MLB players combined to hit 3,691 home runs during the first half of the season, shattering the previous record of 3,343 which was set in 2017. Hitters set a record in June for the most home runs in a single month with 1,142, breaking the previous record by seven, which was set the month prior.
The league is on pace to hit more than 6,700 homers this year, which would easily surpass the previous record of 6,105 in 2017.
"There is no desire on our part to increase the number of home runs," Manfred said when asked about the idea of a juiced ball. "On the contrary, we're concerned about how many we have."