One day after Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred called for changes to the baseball, we were given another prime example of why a change has become necessary.
The Minnesota Twins, after having shattered the MLB record for home runs in a single season three weeks ago, went where it was believed no MLB team could ever possibly go.
When Jonathan Schoop cracked a seventh-inning, two-run homer during Thursday’s game against the Detroit Tigers, the Twins became the first team in MLB history to hit 300 home runs in a single season.
And guess what? They won’t be alone. The New York Yankees are right behind them with 299 home runs going into the final weekend. The Twins quickly hit 301 when Willians Astudillo homered the next inning.
Needless to say, the baseball is flying out of ballparks at an absurd rate this season. Absurd enough now that even Manfred, who’s danced around and denied the issue for several months, is now on board with examining and potentially changing the baseball during the offseason.
Entering play on Wednesday, there had been 6,590 home runs hit in MLB this season. That blows away the previous record of 6,105 hit in 2017.
Forbes also notes that the home run rate in Triple-A was up 50 percent this season. That’s the only minor league that used the same baseball being used by MLB.
Clearly, the baseball’s in question are being hit harder and farther than ever before, and it’s now the league’s goal to figure out exactly why and how it can be addressed.
The 2018 Yankees set the league record with 267 home runs. In addition to the Yankees and Twins, the Houston Astros and Los Angeles Dodgers have already surpassed that number in 2019.
Beyond that, the Oakland Athletics, Chicago Cubs and Atlanta Braves are all on pace to top 250 homers for the first time in franchise history.
From an individual standpoint, there have been too many team and league-wide records broken this season to list here. The most notable perhaps being New York Mets rookie Pete Alonso setting the franchise home run record and the NL rookie record with 51 home runs.
If you’re a fan that likes watching home runs you’re probably not all that concerned with the increase we’ve seen this season. If you prefer a game where not every batter is a threat to hit one 430 feet, then you’re likely on board with some alterations.
Only time will tell which version of baseball we’ll get in 2020.
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