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More home runs were hit in June than any other month in baseball history

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Major League Baseball set a record for the most home runs hit in a month in May when 1,135 homers were hit. That record lasted one whole month. Seven more — 1,142 homers — were hit in the month of June.

This continues the pattern which began about three years ago when the home run rate in Major League Baseball skyrocketed.  Indeed, five of the top six home run months in all of baseball history have been in the last three years. After this past month and last month comes August 2017 (1,119), June 2017 (1,101), May 2000 (1,069) and May 2017 (1,060).

So far this year a total of 3,421 home runs have been hit in 1,255 games, for an average of 2.73 per game. That’s up 19% from the 2.28 average through June last year, when 2,822 home runs were hit in 1,236 games. Batters are on pace to hit 6,624 home runs in 2019. The all-time record was set in 2017 with 6,105. Last year 5,585 homers were hit.

As we’ve been saying for a couple of years now, it’s quite clear that the cause of all of this is a juiced baseball. There have been multiple studies to that effect. Most recently Dr. Meredith Wills published a study in The Athletic finding that the composition and design of baseballs has changed, with lower seams, thicker laces, smoother leather covers, a rounder, more symmetrical ball and a more centered core, or pill. All of this has led to reduced drag and longer flight distances for each strike of the bat. It should be noted that these changes are over and above the changes seen in the baseball beginning in late 2015, which itself led to a home run spike.

So here we are. We are already on pace to shatter existing home run records just as the season’s hottest weather is about to set in and just as pitchers are going to start becoming fatigued and more and more minor leaguers are called up to take up innings.

Enjoy your souvenirs, folks.

Oakland Athletics reverse course, will continue to pay minor leaguers

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Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that Oakland Athletics owner John Fisher has reversed course and will continue to pay minor leaguers. Fisher tells Slusser, “I concluded I made a mistake.” He said he is also setting up an assistance fund for furloughed employees.

The A’s decided in late May to stop paying paying minor leaguers as of June 1, which was the earliest date on which any club could do so after an MLB-wide agreement to pay minor leaguers through May 31 expired. In the event, the A’s were the only team to stop paying the $400/week stipends to players before the end of June. Some teams, notable the Royals and Twins, promised to keep the payments up through August 31, which is when the minor league season would’ve ended. The Washington Nationals decided to lop off $100 of the stipends last week but, after a day’s worth of blowback from the media and fans, reversed course themselves.