By Mason Steinberg
The 2017 World Series has featured some of the highest scoring games in World Series History. The two teams, the LA Dodgers and Houston Astros, are also hitting an unusual amount of home runs. The 24 home runs in six games has led to increased speculation about whether or not the World Series Baseballs have been altered so that more home runs would occur. Baseball has struggled tapping into the same audience that faster paced sports such as the NBA and the NFL have. The main complaints about the sport are that the games are too long and there is not enough scoring. This would give the MLB incentive to try to increase scoring and home runs.
Baseball had its largest audience in the 1990s which is called the Steroid Era because many players were using steroids to get stronger so they could hit more homeruns. After the MLB cracked down and increased testing for the drugs the home run numbers dropped, as did viewership. The MLB is aware that more Home Runs mean more fans, which caused speculation about the baseballs being altered during the World Series. Players from both teams in the World Series have added fuel to the fire by revealing in interviews that when doing a blindfold test where a blindfold is worn and a World Series Ball and a Regular Ball are placed in the player' hands. The purpose is to see if the player can actually feel a difference. “Lance McCullers took the blindfold test in the bullpen,” said Charlie Morton, Houston’s Game 4 starter, referring to another Astros pitcher. “He could tell which ball was which with his eyes closed. It’s that different.” The difference is the new baseballs are slicker and harder to grab on to. This makes it difficult for pitchers to throw the ball effectively and is especially affected pitchers who throw sliders. Pitchers such as Dodgers Ace Yu Darvish and Astros pitcher Lance McCullers have been extremely vocal in the criticism of the balls.The change in the balls has sparked debate over whether MLB intentionally changed them to increase offense. No matter which side of the debate you are on, everyone can agree this World Series has been a thriller.
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