West Lafayette, Indiana - The 2019 Major League Baseball season has been dubbed the “Year of the Home Run” as batters have been hitting homers at a record pace. Many pitchers, however, have argued that this year’s baseballs have been “juiced,” or designed in a way that favors hitters.
Rayvon Fouché, author of “Game Changer: The Technoscientific Revolution in Sports,” has studied how small changes to the design of athletic equipment, such as basketballs, track shoes and swimsuits, can drastically alter performance. Fouché, a professor of in Purdue University’s College of Liberal Arts, says a variety of technology is at play when it comes to the MLB’s record-setting year.
“Those little increments can make a big difference. For example, when the National Basketball Association moved to a synthetic ball, shooting percentages in the league went up. On the flipside, training has gotten better. The quality of analysis available to batters, such as high-speed camera analysis, has gotten obsessively high. I would argue the ball is different, but I think the batter also is different.”