Heavy Hitters: A Changing Game

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Heavy Hitters: A Changing Game

Shane Morgan, Writer

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Throughout history, baseball has been the backbone of US sports. All Americans enjoy going to a game and seeing some of the world’s best players oppose one another. Whether players are stealing a base, making a diving catch, or throwing a 100 mile per hour pitch, the crowd is always intrigued by the great plays made. But, there is nothing like a deep home run hit to catch the attention of a fan.

Throughout the history of baseball, there have always been players that possessed raw power and could hit a home run on any pitch. Players like Babe Ruth, Barry Bonds, Hank Aaron, and many others all come to my mind when talking about home runs. Even with all the great home run hitters from the past, today’s game has seen a spike in the rate the ball is hit out of the park. The record for most home runs hit in a single season stood at 5,693 since the 2000 season which was directly in the middle of the so-called “steroid era.” That record was easily broken in 2017 as the total of home runs counted was a cool 6,105, leading analysts and superfans to question why the sudden spike in home run production?

With the increasing numbers of strikeouts and home runs hit, baseball has become more and more popular. Sports fans love to see big name players with a chance to hit the ball out of the ballpark every time they step to the plate. Some fans even claim that home runs have saved baseball over the years. For example, at the beginning of the so-called “steroid era,” baseball attendance and views were way down, partially due to the baseball strike of 1994-1995. But during the summer of 1998, Sammy Sosa of the Chicago Cubs and Mark McGwire of the St Louis Cardinals were in a home run battle. Both men were on pace to break the then home run record of 61 set by Roger Maris. As both men played and hit home runs every day sports fans had no choice but to follow them. Every home run brought more attention to the sport and brought back the love for the game that was starting to fade away.

Because we have seen star players use PEDs before to gain more power in their swing, experts and fans also believe that some players could be cheating again. However, without proof of players using PEDs, experts and analysts will just have to bite their tongues and accept this new type of baseball, whether they agree or not. In these coming years, baseball has begun to evolve in terms of how the game has been played and the stars and fans will both have to adjust.

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