Rich Hill blasts MLB for baseball quality issues: 'Every ball is different'
Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Rich Hill is ticked off with MLB about the state of its baseballs.
Hill - who is well aware of reports that MLB used different baseballs at various times last season - said he felt a difference while pitching for the Boston Red Sox during the 2022 campaign. The 18-year veteran doesn't know why the league might be tampering with the balls, but he isn't expecting anything to change in 2023.
"I fully expect (the baseballs) to be different (this year)," Hill told Rob Bradford on Audacity's "Baseball Isn't Boring" podcast this week. "Apparently, we used three different baseballs last year. So, it always keeps it fresh, keeps it fun, keeps you guessing. You never know. But hey, look, it's just the players' careers, not a big deal. It's unbelievable."
MLB has faced plenty of scrutiny over the state of its baseballs ever since a dramatic uptick in home runs during the 2019 season prompted speculation about tampering. Several pitchers aired grievances about the balls this past year, with some complaining they were too slippery. A study published by Insider's Bradford William Davis in December suggested the league may have used two, if not three, types of baseball in 2022.
"We could go and get a dozen baseballs, brand-new, fresh, and we'll find something wrong with every ball," Hill said. "Every ball is different."
Hill said he wants MLB - which owns Rawlings, the league's longtime ball supplier - to provide consistency with its product. Only then, the 42-year-old said, will there be a level playing field.
"Make one consistent effing baseball, I don't care," Hill said. "I don't care if it's a Ping-Pong ball, a golf ball, a super ball, or whatever. Just make it consistent; keep it consistent for the entire year.
"And let the players know, how about that? 'Hey guys, we're going to change the ball this year. We're going to use a little bit of a softer ball, we're going to use a harder ball, we're going to use a disco ball, we're going to change it up and we're going to try to see what happens.' ... I just don't see why - you know, a hockey puck is a hockey puck, a football is a football, a basketball is a basketball - a baseball could be anything. Why do we do this?"