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Is Major League Baseball turning on the blue lights to provide the homer-hungry customer a blue suit?

The record 6,105 homers hit throughout the 2017 regular season represented a more than seven per cent increase over the prior high of 5,693, place at the Steroids Era season of 2000.


And the 2017 postseason featured even more longballs per game (2.74) compared to regular period (2.51). Game 2 of the World Series between the Houston Astros and the Los Angeles Dodgers made a list eight homers--one more than the previous mark--and Game 5 was right behind with seven. A listing 104 home runs were hit in the postseason, topping the old high of 100, place in 2004.

Drug-testing policies apparently have squeezed the juicers out of the match. Still, the boom may come at least partly in the arguably livelier ball along with the trend, over the last 20-some decades, toward smaller ballparks. Next, factor in MLB's debut in 2015 of Statcast[TM] technology. It includes measurements such as Launch Angle and Exit Velocity, which encourage batters to accept strikeouts and swing for the fences. Last but not least, think about the modern emphasis on electricity pitching, and perhaps the results are not really so surprising.

"They're hitting .212 with 28 homers," Atlanta Braves pitcher Julio Teheran said late last year, dividing the batters of today. "They don't care about striking out. Teheran won't have an argument from Hall of Famer Tony Perez. "They only need to hit home runs," the former Cincinnati Reds star told the Associated Press. "I figure that pays better." Perez finished his career with 379 home runs--but just once struck as many as 40 in a year. Along with his career batting average was a quite respectable .279.


It is debatable whether the motivation of today's players can be summed up as simply as Perez put it. Still, strikeouts have increased annually since 2008--rising by 22 percent during that 10-year span. The album 40,104 Ks last season represented an average of 16.5 per game--or more than eight per group. Indeed, the 50-homer year has not returned with no cost.

Recall that cool breeze you sensed during the 2017 postseason? It was New York Yankees rookie Aaron Judge striking out a list 27 times in 13 games--only to have fellow newcomer Cody Bellinger of the Dodgers transcend him together with 29 Ks in 15 games. Bellinger struck out a World Series-record 17 times from the Dodgers' seven-game reduction to the Astros. Before Judge and Bellinger went to the airconditioning business, Alfonso Soriano's strikeout record of 26--set in 17 postseason games using the 2003 Yankees--had stood for 13 decades.

Under the glare of this postseason spotlight, both Judge and Bellinger struck more often than they had during the regular season. In the postseason, Judge fanned every 1.8 at-bats, compared to once every 2.6 during the normal season. Bellinger struck out after every 2.2 at-bats in the postseason after whiffing once every 3.3 at-bats from the regular season.

"I was just overaggressive," said Bellinger, who became the first player in history to endure two four-strikeout games in the World Series. "I didn't make alterations." Judge and Bellinger do, however, have significant upsides, particularly in this age of upward, home-run-happy swings.


During the regular season, the 25-year-old Judge set a major-league rookie record for homers, hitting 52 to lead all American League hitters. Meanwhile, Bellinger, at age 22, clubbed 39 homers, a National League rookie record and second at the league in 2017 to Giancarlo Stanton's 59. Bellinger also played Gold Glove-caliber defense at first base.

Moreover, Bellinger wasn't called up to the majors until April 25 and totaled only 480 big-league at-bats. Given a full season in 2018, he's probably the next candidate to decode the 50-homer club.


Hank Aaron long has maintained that the contemporary player has too much single-minded, go-for-the-fences focus. Aaron, of course, hit 755 career homers to break Babe Ruth's record of 714 (then watched Barry Bonds, amid allegations of steroid use, leading them both together with 762).

Though Aaron played hitter-friendly ballparks in Milwaukee and Atlanta, he never hit 50 homers in year. Aaron's hallmark was consistency. He hit 40 or more homers eight occasions, topping out in 47, and finished with a lifetime batting average of .305.

"I do not think that they understand the part of what they need to do," Aaron has said. "I am not saying them all, but I think some players will need to know they're not likely to hit 50 home runs or 45 home runs. They have got to understand how to strike the ball into the opposite field and do the little things to help their ballclub win championships"

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