- Tim Burke
Since 2014 there has been a massive increase in the amount of home runs hit in the MLB. The last three seasons there has been more home runs than there was in the steroid era. Guys are not hitting 60-70 home runs like the steroid days but we are seeing a lot more total home runs hit around baseball then ever before. A popular theory on why we are seeing this home run increase is that MLB has juiced the baseballs. It’s been a suspicion for quite awhile now that pitchers strongly believe that baseballs are denser and traveling further. It is no secret the commissioner's office wants more offense but they wouldn't anger half their players in an attempt to boost offense. No way. That would be stupid. Right? During the All Star break Astros pitcher Justin Verlander called out the league and its commissioner, Rob Manfred for juicing baseballs in a recent interview with Jeff Passan of ESPN.
“It’s a f—ing joke,” said Verlander. “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 f—ing 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.”
First off, I love Justin Verlander. Him and Kershaw have been my favorite pitchers to watch since I was a kid. If I talk baseball with any current pitcher he may be my choice. He wants to pitch until he’s 45 and I fully believe he will. He’s a freak of nature. He throws harder the more he pitches. If he says the balls are “juiced” then I say they are too! Verlander has been the best pitcher in the American League for this generation. He’s been pitching in the big leagues for 15 years. He’s as qualified and reliable as anybody to know whether baseball is different or not. This is not Verlander’s only time calling out the league as he also has criticized them for their poor marketing of their players over the years. I have a lot of respect for Justin Verlander for calling out the people who are ruining or are preventing the game from growing. He’s a badass. If the MLB really is juicing baseballs which I believe they are we need more guys like Justin Verlander to step up for the integrity of the game. If baseball wants more offense they need a pitchers perspective on the changes they want to make. Listen to guys like Verlander and explore other alternatives to make baseball "more exciting". An alternative that doesn't irk half the league's players.