If the question of why the baseball has changed doesn’t yet have a definitive answer, the most logical question to ask next is probably how. In an environment with plentiful data on increasingly minute aspects of the sport, how can the league take years to officially determine that the ball itself has changed—and changed significantly enough to materially alter the experience of the game, at that? That question, too, lacks a fulfilling public answer at this point, and the fact that the league steadfastly denied the existence of a juiced ball until last week’s announcement doesn’t help matters there. Part of untangling that question, though, requires looking at just how broad the league’s definition of baseball can be.

More from The Ball

How one tiny change to the baseball may have led to both the home run surge and the rise in pitcher blisters

After taking apart and examining twenty-six baseballs, a possible explanation for the rise in both home runs and pitcher blisters emerged: The laces in the newer baseballs are noticeably different.

Prospectus Feature: MLB Commission Confirms That The Baseball Has Changed

Following numerous studies, an MLB commission has confirmed that the baseball has changed since mid-2015.