MLB Week in Review (June 30-July 6)

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In a time were crazy opinions about the strangest things seem to becoming news on a regular basis, the MLB is in the midst of a conspiracy.

This week a prominent young pitcher gave his opinion after suffering a blister while pitching and having to leave the game early.

According to Blue Jays starter Marcus Stroman, the reason he suffered from the blister and why more pitchers are getting similar injuries is that the balls have been juiced.

That is a powerful word in the MLB as juiced brings back memories of the steroid era when offence was at its highest and the league was more popular than ever.

The unfortunate part of that era is that among all of the excitement was the dark secret of the league in that their top players and biggest stars were often using steroids.

Not all have been proven to be on steroids but the multiple reports from certain clinics have plenty of the top hitters and some top pitchers on their list of providing steroids.

The era’s excitement was put into doubt and instead of being one of the most exciting eras is now know for one of the darkest in the league.

What followed that era was a period where the use of steroids became less common, although it will never go away.

The offence suffered and Deadball Era 2.0 was here with pitchers beginning to throw close to 100 mph on a regular basis and began shutting everyone down.

Offence was down across the board and the home runs of the steroid era had fallen off with nobody looking for the record that was set by Barry Bonds, a player many consider to be a steroid user but one who has never been proven to be a steroid user.

Then in 2016 things began to swing the other way as the league began to see more home run hitters and more offence on a regular basis.

It wasn’t just those one or two players that seemed to be ahead of the curve against the power pitching that had taken over.

It was everyone, the power hitters were back and the ball was flying out of the park as offence had a pretty major uptick.

Some contributed it to the batters beginning to adjust their swings to the new level of power pitchers in the game.

The fact that more pitchers were throwing faster and more relief pitchers with the ability to go all out for one at bat meant that it was tougher for the batters.

Now more batters are beginning to adjust to that power and starting to hit the ball better and harder.baseball-sidebar

Others don’t believe that the adjustment is the reason for the offensive uptick but rather that the MLB has changed the balls that they use to increase the offensive output.

Essentially the idea is that the MLB has made the balls harder and therefore they fly farther which leads to more home runs.

Throughout June the MLB broke the record for most home runs in one month eclipsing even the steroid era numbers.

Something has changed and for so many, it is that the balls have changed making it easier to hit home runs.

Those people include a lot of the pitchers in the MLB who have gone on record saying that they have felt that the ball is different this year.

Most don’t care too much that the balls feel different or if they are different balls but they all don’t appreciate the MLB claiming they are not if they have changed the balls.

Then there are those players like Stroman who believe that the changed balls are not doing any favours for the pitchers.

They are afraid that the increase in smaller injuries like blisters and cracked nails is because of the harder balls.

Although they are small injuries in the grand scheme of things they are major for a pitcher.

It is really tough to pitch when the finger, where the pressure comes to create movement, is hurt.

The injuries are bad for some players with a few pitchers not even pitching this year due to those issues.

An official stance is that the league has done nothing to the balls and that they have tested the balls repeatedly seeing no change in any of the balls.

There is something changing in the MLB though as home runs have reached a rate never before seen and if the pattern keeps up it will be a record year in the league.

Whether it slows down or is increased even more the MLB is in a new era of offence and the game is more exciting, although longer than it has been since the steroid era.

The answer to the juiced ball question may never come out until years down the road but the rumour will still go around especially if the home runs keep coming.

 

Extra Innings

Umpire Lawsuit

This week Angel Hernandez filed a lawsuit against the MLB due to perceived racial discrimination throughout the league. The lawsuit claims that the league has refused to allow minority umpires to be promoted or to receive jobs in the postseason, which is supposed to be based on merit. Instead, the lawsuit claims, white umpires were given the preferred roles.

Francona Hospitalized

Terry Francona has missed a number of games this past week after he was hospitalised due to a heart condition. It is not the first time that Francona has been admitted in the last few weeks as he has had multiple issues with his heart throughout the year. He will hope to return to the team this year but his future is in doubt.

Final All-Star Members

The MLB named their all-star team last week and named the home run derby competitors. Like in previous years the MLB left two spots open for a final fan vote to determine the final two players in the game. Those two players for 2017 were Jason Tucker and Mike Moustakas who will join the rest of the team in Miami.

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