So Many Home Runs …

I missed the Home Run Derby last night – – but I think I have a valid excuse.  Yesterday was our 53rd wedding anniversary; so, my long-suffering wife and I were enjoying a quiet dinner while way too much attention was being lavished on batting practice.  Besides, home runs are no longer anything special in MLB games against actual pitchers who are trying to get batters out.  Consider data:

  1. The MLB record for home runs in a season is 6,105 set in 2017.
  2. Currently, MLB is on pace to hit 6,668 home runs in 2019.
  3. There are 2340 regular season MLB games scheduled.  At the current pace, every MLB game will see an average of 2.74 home runs.


The record-breaking pace of home runs hit this year has generated a lot of speculation about the ball being juiced or manufactured in a different way.  Lower seams are said to provide less air resistance adding distance to fly balls; a more perfectly centered core in the baseball nominally reduces wobble in flight and therefore adds distance to fly balls.  We could get a panel of Nobel Laureate physicists together to theorize and study this “problem” and likely come up with a dozen other hypotheses.  Who knows?  The answer may lie in one or more of these hypotheses.

I would like to offer a hypothesis that goes along another axis:

  • Suppose the players are juiced – in addition to the ball being juiced or as an isolated cause for all the home runs.

Maybe the “underground pharmacists” have opened up a significant lead on the forensic labs that do the PED testing and the players – having learned what happens if that sort of info leaks to the press – are much more circumspect about how and when they take the PEDs and are determined not to talk among themselves about where to get them or how to use them.  I am not saying this is what is going on; I’m not even saying this is probably what is going on; but MLB would be purely Polly-anna to deny that it is possibly going on.  Remember, this happened before…

Occasionally, I read a sports story and say to myself, “There has to be more to this than what is reported here.”  Here is an example:

  • A high school district in NY fired its boys’ basketball coach who has been with the school for more than 30 years and whose teams have won 414 games, 9 league championships and 4 district championships.  He has also been Coach of the Year 5 times.
  • This coach was also the school’s athletic director and he was removed from that position because the school district superintendent says he does not have the “administrative certifications” necessary to be the athletic director.
  • However, they also removed him from the position as boys’ basketball coach and there had never been any “certification problems” associated with him in that position over the course of his career.

I have no idea what administrative certifications one needs to have to be a high school athletic director nor do I have any idea if the possession of such certifications is important in carrying out the duties of such a position.  Here is what I think I know:

  • If the coach/AD does not have the proper certification now, he most certainly did not have them when he was hired/appointed to the AD position.  So, how did it become a dire necessity to replace him now?  What horrendous mishap occurred in the last few months or so that would cause this reaction – – and how might someone with proper certification have clearly avoided such a horrendous situation?
  • If there is a legal reason he must be removed as the AD, why is he also being fired as the basketball coach where he has won more than 400 games for the school?
  • The school district is looking to hire a new AD – meaning that even if the current coach/AD went out and got the proper certification he would not have that job.  Is that how an organization treats an employee with 30+ years of experience and success?

As I said, there must be more to this story.  Someone involved in this matter woke up one morning and found that his corn flakes had been pissed on.

On a brighter note, Tedy Bruschi announced that he is doing much better after suffering a stroke last week.  Bruschi also suffered a stroke about 10 years ago while a player for the New England Patriots but he recovered after a year of rehab to continue his career.  Bruschi is not one of the studio commentators for ESPN and – along with Louis Riddick – I think he is the best of what ESPN has to offer there.

Get well – and then stay well – Tedy Bruschi…

Finally, Dwight Perry chronicled this great retirement announcement in the Seattle Times recently:

“Goalie Roberto Luongo, via Twitter, on retiring from the Florida Panthers after 19 NHL seasons: ‘I’ve decided to take my talents to a South Beach retirement home.’”

But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………



4 thoughts on “So Many Home Runs …”

  1. I looked at the Atlanta Braves HR numbers, since they are on pace to have the 2nd most HRs in team history. They are 2nd in the NL to the Dodgers, but are 7th overall. Freddie Freeman and Josh Donaldson have been hitting HRs for a while, but Freeman is on pace to have his best year. The other four Braves with ten or more HRs are young guys. Dansby Swanson is 25, Ozzie Albies is 22, Austin Riley is 22, and Ronald Acuna is just 21. Donaldson is a big guy, but none of the others are “bulked up” more than other baseball players. Maybe there just not enough good pitchers to go around.

    1. Doug:

      The lack of “enough good pitching to go around” is one of my cornerstone arguments against MLB expansion. Teams carry 12 pitchers these days; expanding by 2 teams to get to 32 teams in MLB has scheduling advantages – – BUT – – it would add 24 minor league pitchers to MLB at a time when lots of teams struggle to have as many as 3 quality starters.

  2. Curm, lower seams are harder to grab, making it harder to spin the ball so it won’t curve as much either…. hang more 85 MPH curves out there…. also more runs. Plus the lower seams making less pressure differential means the ball curves less as well.

    Doug, someone from Atlanta should know size is helpful but not a requirement to hit them out. Aaron is not a big man… but he’s bigger than Mays.

    (nitpick – we always hear about Williams spending 5 years in the military – which is admirable – but Mays’ 2 years in the service for Korea probably cost him the home run title for a brief time .. Aaron would have caught him, but he fell 54 shy. Only 4 HRs the two years.. the year before service and after, he totaled 61… and he spent the first month plus in the minors, didn’t come up until almost Memorial Day)

    1. Ed:

      You would think by 2019 that making baseballs would be an automated process with tight quality control specs. Apparently, it is not. The balls are still hand sewn and it is difficult to put tight specs on materials such as wool or cow leather.

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