Ahh juice. Its tasty, refreshing, and it comes in many forms. Apple juice, orange juice, grape juice, and even pineapple juice. Personally I love me a good cranberry juice with Vod… yeah, never mind. But, what happens when juice isn’t so good, such as juiced baseballs or even a player that’s on the “juice?” We’re going to explore just that, which is what happens when the juice is bad?
The home run has been an exciting part of baseball since, well, forever. Every time a player hits an absolute moonshot, we as fans just watch in awe as the ball soars out of the park and into the seats. It’s great on television, but it’s even more majestic to see in person. When you watch players like Aaron Judge or Bryce Harper hit a ball over 450 feet, all you can do is just stare in amazement and wonder how in the hell do they hit a ball that far!?
Home Runs have reached an all time high in baseball, especially over the past 3 seasons. In 2017 the league set a new record with 6,105 total home runs. This season the league has all but crushed that record with still a few games to play as players have hit a total of 6,550 home runs. Fans and analysts have now raised the question, did the MLB juice the ball? It’s obvious the ball has changed as the MLB has never witnessed this amount of home runs being hit ever before. One could say the players are just more athletic and stronger than they’ve ever been. Well, if that’s the case then why arent guys hitting into the 60 and 70 range when it comes to how many bombs they have per year.
With this, you have to go back to the days of Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa, and Big Mac himself Mark McGwire. These guys were all part of the “juiced” era. In this time these guys were always fighting it out for the home run title. For example in 1998 McGwire and Sosa both broke Roger Marris’s record of 61 home runs. That season McGwire would end with 70 and Sosa ended with 66, McGwire became the new single season home run king. But only 3 years later in 2001, Barry Bonds belted a total of 73 home runs to take the crown. Now imagine if they were playing with the so called juiced ball we have now a days. What would their numbers look like today? Also who is to say the MLB didn’t have a juiced ball back then and felt it was getting out of hand, in which case they returned to the standard ball. However, once the outcry came saying baseball was getting boring they returned to the juiced ball within the last few years. Now of course it’s all speculation, we know for a fact that those aforementioned players were “juiced up” but what we don’t know is if today’s baseball is juiced or not.
Either way you look at it, baseball is evolving right before our eyes. The players are becoming stronger and more athletic, they’re aiming for the fences rather than simply trying to put the ball in play. Because of the fact that hitters are swinging with a more up right trajectory to try for the long ball it is also adding up to more strikeouts than ever seen before. In 2018 we saw the MLB break the strikeout record with a total of 40,104. So far in 2019 the league has broken that record again with a total of 41,207 strike outs, and by the end of the season I’m sure we can add another 100 to that.
Overall we’re not sure if the ball is juiced or if it’s just the fact that hitters are changing their swings to simply hit the long ball. But, one thing we do know is that within the next 10 years if things continue the way they do, we are going to see more records broken and ultimately an all around change as to how the game is played.
Main Photo credit: SFGateFor
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