Home runs in Major League Baseball have skyrocketed and while some believe the baseballs have been juiced, others think the players might be.
Since 2009, teams have combined to hit more than 5,000 home runs four times. Three of the four times have come in the last three years. Teams combined to hit more than 6,000 homers in 2017.
And while debate stirs over juiced baseballs, one former slugger said he believes active players are still doping.
David Segui, who played 15 seasons in the majors for the Baltimore Orioles, New York Mets, Montreal Expos, Seattle Mariners, Toronto Blue Jays, Texas Rangers and Cleveland Indians, told USA Today on Monday he believes sluggers are “doing stuff.”
“I would say 60 percent of the guys today, easily, are doing stuff,” said Segui, who admitted to using steroids while playing baseball. “It reminds me of our era when everybody talked about the balls being juiced. The balls weren’t juiced, the players were juiced. Just like now.
“You’re seeing balls hit now in upper decks where not even the most juiced-up guys were hitting balls back in the day. You’re seeing scrawny little guys hitting balls 460 feet. Guys are hitting balls where Barry [Bonds] and [Mark] McGwire never hit them. You’re seeing these little guys with terrible swings go opposite field. The ball is hot, but come on, you think these home runs are just because of the balls?”
Major League Baseball has said it has one of the most sophisticated drug-testing programs in the world, but Colorado Rockies manager Bud Black raised suspicions.
“You can’t help but wonder,” Black told USA Today. “You don’t want to, but I think we all have our suspicions.”
Houston Astros ace Justin Verlander believes Major League Baseball is juicing baseballs. He surmised that baseballs have been “juiced” or altered because they are manufactured by an MLB-owned company.
“It’s a f—ing joke. Major League Baseball’s turning this game into a joke. They own Rawlings, and you’ve got [MLB Commissioner Rob] Manfred up here saying it might be the way they center the pill. They own the f—ing company,” Verlander said. “We all know what happened. Manfred, the first time he came in, what’d he say? He said ‘we want more offense.’ All of a sudden he comes in, the balls are juiced? It’s not coincidence. We’re not idiots.”