Improved Hitting, ‘Juiced’ Baseballs Cited Over Worse Pitching for 2019 Jump in Long Balls
South Orange NJ, October 4, 2019 — If Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred follows through and finds a way to reduce home runs next season – 85% of the American public will maintain their interest in the game at current levels – and only 6% said their interest would decline.
That was the finding of a Seton Hall Sports Poll conducted this week, where 3% said their interest would increase. 6% didn’t know or had no opinion.
The Poll was conducted among 714 adult Americans across the country, either on landline or cellphone. The poll has a margin of error of +/- 3.8 percent.
Asked why they thought Major League home run totals were up in 2019, 34% said it was improved hitting, 24% said juiced baseballs, and only 6% said worse pitching. 25% said they didn’t know or had no opinion.
Home runs were up 11% over the previous record in 2019 with two teams (Twins and Yankees) breaking the 300 barrier for the first time. 6,776 home runs were hit in all, with 25 of the 30 teams topping 200. An average game saw 2.78 homers this season.
“The home run will always be an exciting play, and the public talks about the increase, but on balance, they like baseball whether the totals are up or down,” noted Rick Gentile, director of the Seton Hall Sports Poll, which is sponsored by the Sharkey Institute within the Stillman School of Business.
(Questions and result breakdowns further below).
About the poll:
This poll was conducted by telephone April 16-19 among adults in the United States. The Seton Hall Sports Poll is conducted by the Sharkey Institute within the Stillman School of Business. Phone numbers were dialed from samples of both standard landline and cell phones. The error for subgroups may be higher. This poll release conforms to the Standards of Disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls. The Seton Hall Sports Poll has been conducted regularly since 2006.Recently chosen for inclusion in iPoll by Cornell’s Roper Center for Public Opinion Research, its findings have been published everywhere from USA Today, ESPN, The New York Times, Washington Post, AP, and Reuters to Fox News and most points in between.
- More home runs were hit in Major League Baseball this season than ever before. Do you think this is a result of improved hitting, worsening pitching or a “juiced” baseball?
1 – Improved hitting 34
2 – Worsening pitching 6
3 – Juiced baseball 24
4 – All of the above (don’t read) 5
5 – None of the above (don’t read) 5
6 – Don’t know/No opinion 25
- If home run numbers declined would your interest in baseball increase, decrease or remain the same?
1 – Increase 3
2 – Decrease 6
3 – Remain the same 85
4 – Don’t know/No opinion 6
- How closely would you say you follow sports, very closely, closely, not closely or not at all?
1 – Very closely 17
2 – Closely 37
3 – No closely 31
4 – Not at all 16