MLB announced last week that it intends to address the escalating “crisis” of too many home runs. It seems the monster mash party could be over.
With all apologies to Cubs fans of Bobby Pickett and the Crypt Kickers.
"Rob was working in New York late one night, when his stats revealed an eerie sight….Home runs have been on the rise, and suddenly, to his surprise…It was the mash, it was the monster mash…"
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Indeed it had caught on and in a flash. Overall, the number of home runs from 2015 to 2020 has ballooned. Between 2010 and 2014 the seasonal home run total ranged from the low- to mid-4,000 level. But starting in 2015 the mash began.
- 2015: 4,909
- 2016: 5,610
- 2017: 6,105
- 2018: 5,585
- 2019: 6,776
Meanwhile, from 2010-2019 the overall number of hits remained relatively constant. League average slugging percentage also remained relatively constant from 2010 until 2015, after which it set new peaks above .400 in two of the five years leading up to 2019.
Cubs, every other team will wait and see what the impact is here
In case you’re wondering where 2020 was headed, in just 62 games there were 2,304 home runs. Clearly, a full 2020 season was likely headed to another 6,000+ home run mark.
Enter MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred and the gurus at MLB. They think something must be done about this mash mania, this home run riot, it must end.
"Out from his office Rob’s voice did ring, seems he was troubled by just one thing,He opened the door at his MLB shop and said, “Whatever happened to the Baltimore Chop?”"
In a public statement, MLB announced they will doctor baseballs in 2021. Yes, about 100 years ago MLB banned pitchers from using scuff balls, spitballs and all manner of substance to affect the pitch. Plus back then the ball was already pretty dead, hence the Deadball Era designation.
Now it’s MLB that will alter the internal construction of the 2021 baseball, changing the Coefficient of Restitution (COR). More simply put the new balls won’t be as lively. How less lively? MLB is aiming to reduce home runs by five percent in 2021. That’s about 350 fewer home runs than in 2019. Also, this change will likely reduce slugging percentage, meaning fewer extra-base hits.
This is not a return to the Deadball Era. But baseball is a game of inches measured in fractions of a percentage. Small things can result in big differences. For a League worried about fan enthusiasm, reducing offensive output seems to be going in the wrong direction.