Mizuno Apologizes For Substandard Baseballs

June 7, 2014

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. on the hot seat [on th uh hot seet] (idiom) – facing problematic issues and criticisms; in a difficult situation
Example: The player is now on the hot seat after he insulted a fan.

2. scandal [SKAN-dl] (n.) – something that draws so much attention, often causing shock
Example: The scandal about the fixed game displeased many fans.

3. mire [mahyuh r] (v.) – to be affected or involved in an undesirable situation
Example: The player’s career was mired in controversies.

4. tweak [tweek] (v.) – to do slight adjustments, usually to improve something
Example: The coach tweaked his game plan to win the game.

5. clueless [KLOO-lis] (adj.) – having no idea on why something happened
Example: The manager is still clueless on why the product turned out to be defective.


Read the text below.
Japanese sports equipment manufacturer Mizuno is on the hot seat once again after its baseballs did not meet Nippon Professional Baseball’s (NPB) standards.

According to the league’s investigation, some of the balls tested were “juiced up” or livelier than the normal balls. This means that when hit, the balls can reach about two feet farther than the average ball, which leads to a higher chance of scoring home runs.

Sports Hochi newspaper revealed that this season had 131 home runs while last year had only 113. Mizuno President Akito Mizuno apologized to the teams and the fans for this scandal. He admitted that the issue was caused mainly by the company’s administrative errors.

In 2013, Japanese baseball has been mired in a similar issue after NPB and Mizuno corporation admitted that the balls were tweaked. The issue led to the resignation of NPB former commissioner Ryozo Kato. This year’s controversy, however, is not intentional, according to Mizuno.

Officials said the manufacturing defect was brought by the lack of moisture content in some of the wool yarns, which are used to cover the baseball’s rubber core. The dry yarn caused the balls to be more tightly wrapped up than the others, thus increasing the bounciness of the balls.

Mizuno officials are still clueless on why the moisture content of the balls decreased. They said the balls were produced using the same parts at Mizuno’s Shanghai factory.

However, Mizuno found that some of its instruments used for testing the baseballs showed errors during inspection. The company said it will resume factory production only after solving this problem.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         How do you think Mizuno can ensure that its products are of best quality?
·         In your opinion, how can this issue affect Mizuno?

Discussion B

·         How important is quality assurance for companies?
·         Why do you think some known companies still commit errors in its manufacturing?

June 7, 2014