"You hear talk about the fact that there are clubs that are looking to become more pitching, defense and speed, like it was in the '70s, when they built all those cookie-cutter type stadiums, because balls aren't flying out of the ballpark the way they have in the last few years. It just seems the playing surface is a lot fairer," he said. "Has it made a difference? I have to say yes. When you eliminate cheating like that, absolutely. Absolutely you're going to see a difference."
BALLPARKS: For sure, it can be fun to watch balls pop into the seats on a summer night at Camden Yards, Citizens Bank Park and Yankee Stadium. No good for pitchers, though, especially when a broken-bat fly somehow flies just far enough to land in the front row. After a period in which new ballparks seemed to shrink, the pendulum is shifting. Nationals Park, Citi Field, Petco Park and others aren't exactly hitter-friendly. More room means more balls can end up in gloves — witness Mike Baxter running into the wall, injuring himself and preserving Santana's no-hitter earlier this month.
REPLAY: OK, not a major factor. Still, if MLB had gone ahead with its plan to add video review for balls down the lines this year, Carlos Beltran winds up with a double and spoils Santana's bid. And clearly replay showed that Armando Galarraga should've had a perfect game in 2010. It's a separate question, but if there's a missed call, which would you rather see: A mistake that helps a pitcher get a no-hitter, or one that takes it away?
LUCK: Pure and simple. Cain and Sandy Koufax struck out more than half the batters in their perfect games, each fanning 14. Even so, getting 27 outs against a major league team takes some good fortune. Maybe a ball that hooks foul by an inch or a bang-bang play at first base or a hard grounder that bounces the right way. Tigers manager Jim Leyland has spent more than half his life in baseball, and he has a thought on why there have been so many no-hitters lately.
"Guys are pretty good, but I think it's a coincidence," he said.
AP Baseball Writer Janie McCauley and AP Sports Writers Jay Cohen and Pat Graham contributed to this report.
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