Marvin Benard Discusses the Surge of Baseball Home Runs in 2019




Hailed as the “Great American Pastime”, the game of baseball is enjoyed today by millions of fans. Even to those who wouldn’t consider themselves fans, baseball’s rules, culture, and grandeur are culturally ingrained in just about everyone’s minds and it holds worldwide recognition as a long-running major sport.

The home run in particular is always an exciting moment; it’s common knowledge that the stars have to align for any player who hopes to hit the ball out of the park, and the rarity of this event makes it cause even more excitement for those few times where it does happen. At least, this used to be the case. Statistics are showing that, against all odds, the amount of home runs in professional baseball is on the rise; what was once considered extremely difficult and exceptionally rare is now somehow moving closer towards becoming commonplace. How is this happening? Marvin Benard, a former MLB outfielder for the San Francisco Giants, would like to share the scientific findings geared toward explaining this new phenomenon.


The Findings

This year, there were 6,776 home runs in major league baseball. This number is staggering when considering the total number last year amounted to just 5,585 and the previous record was 6,105 in 2017. In addition, numerous other smaller records were also achieved this year that have helped to dub this season as the “Year of the Home Run”. The change is so profound that the scientific community has taken it upon themselves to investigate it and try to determine exactly why it’s happening.

After a rigorous examination of statistics, ball composition, and many other factors, the conclusion was reached that overall, the amount of drag affecting baseballs has lessened somehow. When there is less drag on a baseball, it can travel a further distance, and as soon as a baseball can travel farther, its chances of being a home run increase substantially. As for the specific reasons for why there is less drag, here are the 3 major theories that Marvin Benard believes to be most likely to provide an explanation.


Theory 1: Better-Made Baseballs

Marvin Benard explains that this theory is centralized around the idea that the factors affecting home runs take place before any player has even set foot on the field. Rather, it’s the actual ball that is the culprit, and the composition as well as construction of baseballs might be changing. The changes that are thought to be occurring make baseballs more aerodynamic and would be able to make home runs that much easier.

It might be the materials used in composition: As time goes on, lighter and better materials are found to be perfect candidates for use in baseballs. It might be changes to the process of binding a baseball together: If the seams of a ball are tighter, this will subsequently hold the ball together more tightly. On this note, it might even be the seams themselves: They could protrude outwardly to a lesser degree, and even a minute change such as this has great implications.

Theory 2: Improving Players

While the search is one for a more material cause for the explosive increase in home runs, the answer might be simpler, lying right under our noses, but ironically in a place few suspect: It might just be that baseball players are, simply put, improving at the game. The statistics present showing an increase in home runs might be just that, and players could simply be stepping up their game, pushing the limits and expectations for just exactly how often home runs are to be expected.

Baseball has been around for centuries; it is a well-established game and it’s reasonable to think that players will continue to improve in a system that has seen scant major rule changes in recent times. Players are now left to improve their game, rather to adapt to new circumstances, and it’s always important not to underestimate human potential. With the addition of new and improved video technology it is much easier to improve minute details today. When the best players are involved, Marvin Benard believes that any game can escalate to new heights, and baseball is no exception.


Theory 3: Changes In Temperature

This last theory examines a factor that exists under the surface, one that is easy to forget about when lost in the excitement of the game. Despite what you might have thought, temperature plays an enormous role in the performance of a baseball, and it might very well be that it’s being altered, almost entirely unintentionally.

Going over the basics, it works as follows: the temperature of the baseball directly affects how far it will travel when stuck by a bat. The hotter the temperature is, the further the ball will fly. One specific theory about the increase to home runs focusses on a pitching technique: the ‘Heater’ pitch. This pitch involves a higher velocity than others, and it gets its name for the ball coming in hotter as a result. While the increase in temperature that results from this pitch is very, very small, it can make the difference between the ball flying out of the park and remaining within it.

Another theory involving temperature revolves around baseball storage. Where baseballs are stored can directly affect its temperature, and modern technological advancements have resulted in these storage rooms having climate control. When the climate is controlled in this way, baseballs are dehydrated, decreasing their mass ever so slightly, as well as increasing their temperature, both of which affect travel distance.

Whatever the reason for the increase in home runs may be, it’s an exciting time for both players and fans of baseball alike. Home runs are on the rise, without any signs of slowing down and it is very possible that next year could see even more home runs. Marvin Benard hopes that one day the mystery will be solved, but until then, everyone will be even further on the edge of their seat!