Japan’s professional baseball league was facing another ball scandal Tuesday as sports equipment giant Mizuno apologized for a defect that turned the nation’s top sport into a slugfest.
The firm blamed a manufacturing defect, after league officials said they detected a problem with game balls following the season opener last month.
“This happened because of Mizuno’s failure to control our operations,” company president Akito Mizuno told a press conference in Tokyo on Tuesday.
Last year, Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) commissioner Ryozo Kato was forced to quit after it was discovered that the league and Mizuno conspired to tweak the balls to make the game more exciting.
After months of repeated denials and a huge surge in home runs, the league admitted that it had changed specifications of the balls to give them greater bounce off the bat.
The league also admitted that it had demanded its manufacturer keep quiet about the switch.