A friend sent me alink to a story
on a report investigating steroids effects on baseball. In short, the home run explosion of the late-90s had nothing to do with steroids. Or smaller ballparks. Or expansion. Or the baseball.
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The fault belongs with the umpires.
In the late 90s, the umpires shrunk the strike zone so much that the pitcher had to throw a perfect pitch to get a called strike. And knowing that the pitch had to be a perfect pitch over the middle of the plate, the batters were able to tee off on that perfect pitch. But in 2001, MLB made the umpires start calling the strike zone as laid out in the rule book, thus expanding the strike zone and giving the pitcher more room to work. Thus, the home run numbers have fallen the past several seasons.
Now, the report states that steroids have had some effect, but less than the strike zone change. The main difficulty with calculating the steroid effects is that there’s just no way of knowing who was, or wasn’t, on steroids.
So, there you go. It’s all on the umpires. Just as it should be. – John Royal