After about 60 games played this year, the NPB admitted that all teams were using a new ball - something that none of the of teams was made aware off.
While this wouldn't be huge news, I would imagine any changes in equipment - balls - would need to be ratified by the players' union and Teams.
Still... that's not the point.
You see, there has been a marked increase in home runs being hit this year, something that many believe is due to a livelier ball.
Before the 2011 season, different balls were used by the Pacific and Central Leagues. In 2011, NPB introduced a single ball to meet international standards.
In the 2011 season there were 939 home runs and 881 in the 2012 season. But... the number of home runs hit in 2013 is 512, as of June 11 - which would be a total of 1,297. That's a hell of jump.
But here's the real point. The NPB had previously said that this year's increase in home runs was NOT due to any changes in the baseball. At that time no one knew there was a new ball. Which means the point about a new ball being used was put forth.
The NPB also told the baseball manufacturer Mizuno Corp. to say no changes were made to the baseball, if anyone asked.
(Youse play ball wid us, we play ball wid youse.)
So... NPB wanted others to lie... to not state that a new baseball was being used?
"There was absolutely no intent to hide the truth," NPB commissioner Kato Ryozo said on June 12, 2013 as his trousers spontaneously combusted. "We are sorry for any inconvenience we have caused."
Do you know why he and the NPB are really sorry? It's because they got caught. If he wanted to save face, he shouldn't have lied in the first place.
What does he mean "there was no intent to hide the truth"?
Oh wait... I get it... 'we weren't hiding the truth... we were just hiding what we were doing... and then lying about it when asked directly by the media.'
That was the intent - to hide. Then, planning in advance to tell others to lie. Why Mizuno went along with that is something only hara-kari can answer (if we were back 150 years ago).
Back to 'no intent': Apparently under instruction from NPB commissioner Kato Ryozo (surname first) and other baseball upper mucky-mucks, they instructed baseball manufacturer Mizuno to "adjust" the ball to give it greater bounce off the bat, which would add more excitement to the game.
Needless to say, many Japanese ball players criticized the secret practices of the NPB.
"We had an idea something was different this season," says Rakuten Eagles catcher Shima Motohiro (surname first). "Here we are almost 60 games into the season and now they tell us? It’s very unfortunate. If they stay with the new ball or go with the old ball it is problematic at this point of the season."
Adds Abe Sinnosuke (surname first), catcher with the Yomiuri Giants: "Just my personal opinion, but that we are even having this discussion about the ball is embarrassing for Japanese baseball.”
A Mizuno spokesman says, "We are going to let NPB take the lead on this. At this juncture, we are not prepared to comment."
If you want more excitement in baseball... well... who the hell is complaining? It's baseball. Tweak it, but at least tell people what you are doing, and why. The NHL (hockey) has tried numerous changes to get more scoring into the game... sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't, but at least they are upfront about it.
The NPB brings dishonor to the game of baseball. Hang your head in shame.