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By Dale Connelly, 5/5/00

Dc: This is DCR, a news program that's reality free! Major league baseball is experiencing a plague of home runs. More are being hit than ever before by a wide range of players. Team numbers are up. League numbers are up. Fans are seeing more scoring than ever before at the ball parks.
For a professional sport struggling with sharp competition for it's market share, this is not a bad thing.
But everyone connected with professional baseball has a different idea about why all these home runs are happening, and there's no consensus.
One faction believes it's the baseball.
Major league baseballs are made in Costa Rica, and have been for the past 15 years. The manufacturers say there have been no changes.
Major League Baseball contracts with Genway, the supermarket for genetically engineered foods, to test baseballs in their food lab.

(sfx: factory/lab sound)

Dr. Larry Kyle is supervising this project personally.

Dr. Kyle: Yes! Although food is my main buisness, there is time in the lab for outside projects. And I want to get to the bottom of this mystery as much as anyone!

Dc: Plus, you're an expert at taking an object and finding it's limits.

Dr. Kyle: Yes. Let's start by putting a baseball in the pneumatic press … there we go. This machine can create up to fifty atmospheres of pressure …

(sfx: creaking ball)

Dc: It's bending out of shape!

Dr. Kyle: Yes, it's getting flat. This is what it's like in the very moment it's hit by … say, Sammy Sosa.

Dc: Wow!

Dr. Kyle: I'm going to hike the pressure a bit more until …

(sfx: pow!)

Dc: Yii! Hoo boy, that was close! What did you learn from that?

Dr. Kyle: Squashing a baseball is fun. These guys aren't kidding when they say they get paid to play a game.

Dc: What next?

Dr. Kyle: Put another one on the table … there you go. Now stand back.

Dc: Stand back?

Dr. Kyle: It's time for The Heat Test!

(sfx: flamethrower)

Dc: Yiiiiiiii! What are you doing?

Dr. Kyle: Hitting it with a flamethrower.

(sfx: burning)

Dc: It's on FIRE!

Dr. Kyle: Yes! We can analyze the light from the fire on our spectrograph, to make sure the blaze is releasing the right chemicals, and in the right order, the same way astronomers examine distant stars.

Dc: That's innovative. But have you learned something new?

Dr. Kyle: Baseballs make a beautiful flame, just like a charcoal briquette. Last almost as long, too.

Dc: But have you discovered anything that might explain the home runs?

Dr. Kyle: Not yet.

(sfx: chain saw)

So we're going to cut one in half. Here's your eye protection! Stand back!

(sfx: chain saw cut)

Ok, take a look at that!

Dc: The insides of a baseball!

Dr. Kyle: Whaddaya think?

Dc: No coiled springs. No flubber. It looks more ordinary than I expected.

Dr. Kyle: Yes. And that's good! It means we have to keep testing!
Let's try dropping one in a vat of acid!

(sfx: sizzle and sputter)

Dc: Wow. That's powerful stuff.

Dr. Kyle: Stick your hand in there!

Dc: What, are you kidding?

Dr. Kyle: Actually, I am. You wouldn't like it.
I've got one more test here … we cut one of the baseballs in two with a machete. It works just like a bat, but it's sharper. Hyaaaaa!

(sfx: whoosh and slice)

Dc: Man, that's clean!

Dr. Kyle: Just as I thought. All perfect. All uniform. Look at it.
Everything meets specifications.

Dc: So whatever is causing all the home runs, it's not because of any change in the baseballs?

Dr. Kyle: We can never be sure. That's why we have to keep testing.
Heh heh heh heh heh.

Dc: What more could you possibly do?

Dr. Kyle: Drop them off a skyscraper. Use plastic explosives. Tie one to a railroad track. Shoot 'em out of a cannon. Use catapults. Monster trucks.

Dc: That's a lot of work!

Dr. Kyle: It isn't work if you're having fun.

Dc: So this is a long term contract?

Dr. Kyle: We're thinking of making the testing part of the game!
We'll torment a baseball in a new and creative way between each inning.

Dc: To reassure fans that there's integrity?

Dr. Kyle: And to hold their attention if they get bored with all the home runs.

Dc: Dr. Larry Kyle, hired on a contract by the major leagues to put baseballs under extreme stress.

Dr. Kyle: I'm hoping they'll let me at some of the hitters!

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