May 23, 2008
THE WAY ABNER MEANT IT TO BE:
There's Something in the Air, Other Than Another Ball Headed for the Fence (Thomas Boswell, May 23, 2008, Washington Post)
This spring, for the second straight year, home run totals, like the game's conspicuous muscles, have shrunk dramatically. Last season's 8 percent drop in home runs was welcomed, but with caution. Would the tater barrage simply resume? But now, in the wake of the Mitchell report, home runs have fallen this spring by another 10.4 percent.Posted by Orrin Judd at May 23, 2008 6:24 AM
Suddenly, a sport that produced 5,386 home runs in 2006 is on pace for 4,442 this year -- a 17.5 percent drop, or a loss of almost 1,000 home runs in just two seasons.
If the current trend continues, baseball might return to the levels at which many students of the game think the sport has been healthiest and most pleasing: an average of a bit more than nine runs and slightly less than two home runs per game.
This season, major league teams have scored 8.98 runs per game. Since 1871, there have been 1,750,230 runs in the majors, an average of 9.11 per game. Warm weather, when fly balls carry farther, might bring the game almost exactly back to its long-term scoring trend.