Tuesday, July 27, 2010

No Roids, No Hitters, No Coincidence

I don't know how people can deny it now. The fact that one of the most dominant years of pitching in baseball comes on the heels of tougher steroid testing is not a coincidence.

In case you are living under a rock or you are just a dork, Matt Garza threw the 5th no hitter of the year last night. Five no hitters, and we haven't even played 2/3 of the season yet. Throw in two(should've been three) perfect games into that equation, and you have one of the greatest years of pitching in baseball history.

For those who think that this has nothing to do with the more stringent steroid testing, let me just throw out a few numbers.

Up until 1998, MLB had gone 37 years without a player hitting 60 home runs or more. In the years between 1998-2001, six players hit 60 home runs or more, with McGwire and Bonds both hitting 70 or more. Over the past two years, during the post syringe era, the AL home run leaders-Miguel Cabrera and Mark Teixeira, each failed to reach 40 home runs. The home run leaders in each league as of today, have not even reached 30 HR mark, and we're almost into August.

When guys like Brady Anderson hit 50 home runs in 1996, after putting up home run totals of 13, 12 and 16 in the three previous years, I'd say that there may have been a competitive imbalance favoring the hitter.

The arguments are already starting that the pitchers must be using some sort of PED and that is the reason behind all the no hitters. Maybe, but I would disagree. The last few years you have seen a wave of young pitchers entering baseball who are more polished at a younger age and who are dealing some filthy stuff.

You're seeing guys who can not only can bring it at 95+ mph consistently, but who can also command three or four other pitches, that they can throw for strikes anywhere in the count. Combine this with baseball cleaning up the sport, with the batters no longer being juiced, and the pitching was bound to get better.

Steroids and PEDs took over baseball from the mid 90's until the recent new drug testing was implemented. Baseball was trying to recover from the strike of 1994, so they turned a blind eye to the steroid use. Fans love the long ball and owners love asses in the seats, it's as simple as that.

If you really think that there is no coincidence between the batters now not being juiced, with the resurgence of dominant pitching, I think you're beyond naive.

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Images courtesy of Dick Shadd/St.Petersburg Times

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