Bob Levey / Stringer

Juiced Balls Making Everyone So Uptight?

July 30, 2019 - 6:20 pm

By Charlie O

Listen to your team news NOW.

Unless you have been living in a cave with no internet connection, you know that broadcasters, reporters, Sabermetrics experts and Justin Verlander have been complaining about the 2019 version of the baseball being used in the Major Leagues as being “juiced”. Their primary evidence is the number of home runs that are being hit.

Based on current projections, MLB teams will hit a total of 6,463 home runs this season. Some simulations have that number going as high as 6,873 round-trippers. Either number would eclipse the record of 6,105 total home runs hit in the 2017 MLB season.

Verlander has been the most vocal player:

“It’s a <expletive> joke. Major League Baseball’s turning this game into a joke. They own Rawlings, and you’ve got Manfred up here saying it might be the way they center the pill. They own the <expletive> company. If any other $40 billion company bought out a $400 million company and the product changed dramatically, it’s not a guess as to what happened. We all know what happened. Manfred the first time he came in, what’d he say? He said we want more offense. All of a sudden he comes in, the balls are juiced? It’s not coincidence. We’re not idiots.”

Asked if he believed the balls were intentionally juiced by the league, Verlander said: “Yes. 100 percent. They’ve been using juiced balls in the Home Run Derby forever. They know how to do it. It’s not coincidence. I find it really hard to believe that Major League Baseball owns Rawlings and just coincidentally the balls become juiced.”

Verlander is currently 13 – 4 with a 2.86 ERA in 22 starts for the Houston Astros this season. He has struck out 183 hitters and walked just 31. Verlander has allowed just 90 hits but 28 of them have been home runs. He will give up more home runs this season than he ever has in his 15 year career. By the way, his base salary this season is $22 million.

Verlander needs to get a grip on the fact that the fans do not give “a rip” if thinks the balls are “juiced” and he does not like it. The fans love it because they love home runs!

Saturday night in Oakland

I reported on the Texas Rangers versus the Oakland Athletics game on Saturday night at the Oakland Coliseum. The Athletics scored all five of their runs via four home runs. The crowd of 36,468 fans did not care if the ball was “juiced”. They just went wild every time the ball left the yard and their team scored a run. Nobody felt cheated when the A’s won the game 5-4 because of “juiced” baseballs.

Fans love offense

One of the most exciting years in the history of baseball was 1998. That was the year when Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa were battling each other for the home run crown and to break the MLB record of 61 home runs hit in a season held by Roger Maris. Baseball fans were mesmerized by the competition.

McGwire broke the record and won the competition with 70 home runs. Sosa also broke the record with 66 home runs. In 2001, Barry Bonds set the current record with 73 home runs and the baseballs were not juiced. The players were juiced!

We now know what we always suspected that the players in that era were using steroids to enhance their performances. Those substances are physically dangerous which is one of the reasons baseball banned their use.

The fact those home runs were hit by “juiced players” did not make the fans hate those home runs.

It is all about offense

In the NBA, they have embraced the 3-point basket. The NFL learned to depend on big pass plays to please their fans. Today’s baseball fans do not go to the park to see a 1-0 pitcher’s duel. They want doubles, triples and home runs. That puts butts in seats and eyes on screens.

Yes the seams are lower, the cover is smoother and the pill is more centered. The manufacturing consistency is probably at an all-time high. The result is the ball will leave the yard more often when hit properly.

What should be done?

Nothing should be done. The fans love the power hitting game. So give them what they want!

Broadcasters, reporters, Sabermetrics devotees and Justin Verlander … DEAL WITH IT!

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