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The Astros and Dodgers have traded blow for blow with all the home runs this World Series. But are all these dingers good for the game?

World Series - Houston Astros v Los Angeles Dodgers - Game Six Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

There’s no question that this World Series has been one of the most exciting in recent memory. Take a look at these win probability graphs from Games 2 and 5.

But in spite of that excitement, it feels as if we’re watching a completely different game of baseball. Some have compared it to a video game with how much ease the hitters have had with hitting home runs. After all, Game 5 featured seven home runs while Game 2 had eight, including five in the 10th and 11th inning combined.

Part of that is due to the two teams that we’re watching. The Astros finished the 2017 regular season with the second-most home runs (238, just three behind the Yankees) while the Dodgers were 11th (221). By isolated power, the Astros were first (.196) and the Dodgers leapfrogged to 4th (.188). Clearly we were destined to see plenty of power on display anyway.

Nevertheless, the World Series have followed a trend that we’ve been seeing in the majors over the past couple seasons: home runs are more frequent.

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Year HR PA/HR
Year HR PA/HR
2017 6105 30.4
2016 5610 32.9
2015 4909 37.4
2014 4186 43.9
2013 4661 39.7
2012 4934 37.3

As a fan with no rooting interest in the World Series, I’ve enjoyed that home runs seemingly happened every inning. Crazy momentum shifts are fun to watch from the sidelines (pun not intended). However, the abundance of home runs drove me crazy during the regular season. A home run is supposed to be one of the most exciting plays in the game and yet their frequency diluted my exhilaration. No longer did I hope for a home run; I expected them and when they came, I just shrugged my shoulders. Dominant pitchers are being rendered as mediocre as hitters are more likely to square a ball up. I feel that the game isn’t as enjoyable for me if the delicate balance between hitting and pitching has taken a significant swing in the offense’s favor.

Despite this, I’m not sure everyone would agree with me. I’m a hardcore fan; even before I started working at Inside Edge, I’d typically watch over 100 games a season. But for the casual fan, perhaps seeing more offense and more home runs makes the game more enjoyable. So, how do we feel about this? Are video game numbers actually good for the game, even if they’re artificially produced due to a juiced baseball and a pronounced shift to hit more balls in the air, or are we getting to a point where the game has become comical? I’m curious how the poll below will turn out.

Poll

How do you feel about the increase of home runs over the past few seasons?

This poll is closed

  • 23%
    I love them! No lead is safe anymore.
    (62 votes)
  • 11%
    I think it’s good as I’m more invested in the game.
    (30 votes)
  • 13%
    I don’t care at all.
    (36 votes)
  • 32%
    I’m not a fan. It’s becoming too easy to hit a bomb.
    (86 votes)
  • 14%
    I hate it. If I wanted a video game, I’d play MLB: The Show.
    (38 votes)
  • 4%
    Hold on, home runs are up?
    (11 votes)
263 votes total Vote Now