By Nicholas Kroeten
The World Series between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Houston Astros has been an exciting ride of run scoring with only a few rock solid performances in pitching.
For the Dodgers, Kershaw pitched a great Game 1, but after that managers couldn’t seem to find a way to keep the hitters from getting on base or hitting the ball out of the park. Game 5 in particular was one such game, where in eleven innings 14 pitchers made an appearance. It was the first World Series game where one team had five different players hit home runs (Astros), the number of combined runs scored reached 25, the most in a series game since Game 7 of 1999. The number of total home runs in a World Series was also broken in Game 5, the previous record being 21 homers, which took the Giants and the Angels seven games to do in 2002.
What all of these numbers have in common is an outstanding offensive performance in the World Series. Sure, the Astros are known for their ability to hit home runs, and the Dodgers have some big bats in their lineup as well, but breaking the number of home runs set in a World Series, in only Game 5? That seems a little crazy, and add on top the record number of homers in an Major League season being broken and far surpassed this year, you get a little suspicious. Why the sudden offensive explosion? With the MLB constantly checking for steroid usage from players, and bats being strictly regulated as well, the answer seems to be that the MLB is juicing baseballs.
The offensive numbers over this year’s season and the performance in the World Series can’t just be a coincidence. Jumps in records can happen of course, but the spikes in the offense are too high to simply write off as an off year for pitchers, who have, in press conferences and interviews, made statements on the increased home runs given up this year.
In one interview with Red Sox’s ace David Price, he was asked if he believes there is something strange going on in baseball this year, to which he replied, “one hundred percent, we’ve all talked about it.” Pitchers have also made mention to the feel of the ball saying, “there’s just something different about it”, they feel harder and the covers on balls are stitched tighter, and they’re definitely acting different when hit.
One reason that the MLB would do this is attract viewers. Baseball is known for being a slow game, and to make it more interesting to viewers, the MLB may have decided to alter the balls so that more offense can be put forth, and more home runs can be hit, making for exciting games like Sunday’s game five.
Similar to this, recently the NHL has made some rule changes to allow for more scoring by changing over time to three on three, and have toyed with the idea of making posts triangular, in order to attract more viewers. More scoring means more viewers, and the MLB in trying to gain viewership in juicing the balls to manufacture exciting baseball games.
This is the opinion of Nicholas Kroeten, SJU first-year