MLB just set a record for the most home runs in a season with 6,105, up from 5,610 a year ago. Seventeen teams hit 200 or more. Top six clubs were from the American League. Yankees led with 241.
Giancarlo Stanton (Marlins) was the individual leader with 59; Aaron Judge (Yankees) set a rookie record with 52. Scooter Gennett (Reds) and J. D. Martinez (Diamondbacks) each had a 4-homer game. Last time two did that in a season, 2002. Not to pick on Chris Taylor (Dodgers) but in parts of three previous big league seasons, he had two home runs. T-w-o. This year 21.
What is going on?
Poor, innocent baseballs are being blamed. Juiced and wound too type are the beefs. Plus there are no seams for pitchers to grip…..or is that gripe?
How about the bats, those poor wooden souls? Are trees on steroids? Yet bats still splinter. Did that happen at a record pace? Don’t believe anyone keeps tabs on broken bats.
Let’s blame pitchers, the guys that throw the balls. An epidemic of throwing too many hittable pitches? Mediocre arms? Nibblers?
Can we blame the umpires for not calling enough strikes? Nobody likes umpires anyway.
We live in a world where video once was restricted to television. Now within seconds, a tape-measure home run goes viral. A social media explosion.
How about blaming the paying customers, the fans. They love offense and long balls and live on their mobile devices 25 hours a day watching the blasts. OK, OK, days are still 24 hours long. Fans also love retrieving home runs balls as souvenirs. Don’t blame them.
Let’s point the finger at El Nino which rules weather patterns. Have the winds changed?
Then again, can’t blame the wind if you are playing in a domed stadium.
Another possible weather factor, a full moon. Wait a minute that only happens once a month. Scratch that theory.
Global warming. Charlie Manuel always preached when the weather got warm, it’s
“hittin’ season”. Everything we hear is that the weather is warmer every year.
Baseball is now enamored with the world of analytics who are feeding us new offensive terminology for hitters such as exit velocity, launch angles, heights and distances for each batted ball. Plus a gaggle of weird player value batting categories such as Rbat, Rpos, Rrep, waaWL%, etc. Is all of this that affecting hitters? Trying to out-do one another?
Smaller ballparks. Unless there is some kind of architectural phenomenon, existing ballparks haven’t shrunk.
Mascots such as Phillie Phanatic. Don’t know where mascots fit the puzzle but so what. Then again 50 years ago there were no mascots and fewer home runs.
Every team has a nutritionist plus a strength and flexibility coach and masseurs. Don’t forget hitting coaches and video of every pitch thrown by the enemy. Have they contributed?
Perhaps we should credit the hitters. They’re stronger, smarter, slimmer, swing from their heels, can turn on 95 mph fastballs and love cookies (bad pitch cookies). Plus, they get to see themselves on SportsCenter.
For out-of-the-box thinkers, blame deleted e-mails. Yep, trillions and trillions of e-mails are deleted daily. Where are they going? Are they affecting the atmosphere which could affect the flight of a juiced baseball hit by a juiced bat after an over-used pitcher throws a cookie down the middle of the plate which followed a missed strike three call by that man in blue? By golly, that may be it. Who would have thunk that?