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Did Major League Baseball intentionally juice the ball this season?

SB Nation FanPulse members say “yes.”

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Juiced? Or not?
Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to SB Nation FanPulse, a survey of fans across MLB. Each week, we send 30 polls to plugged in fans from each team. Cubs fans, sign up HERE to join FanPulse.

Major League Baseball is going to set another home run record this year. There were 5,585 home runs hit in MLB in 2018, an all-time record, and 5,018 have been hit so far this year with about a quarter of the season remaining. That puts MLB on pace for over 6,700 home runs in 2019. And:

So, is MLB doing this on purpose by juicing baseballs? SB Nation FanPulse members emphatically said “yes” in the most recent poll:

Personally, I am not sure I agree with this. There’s definitely something about the baseballs currently being used that makes them fly farther and have more home runs hit, but I’m not sure MLB is behind this. It could be a flaw in the manufacturing process. Here’s a recent article on the topic, which concludes:

The scientific committee led by Nathan and funded by MLB issued a report in May 2018. One conclusion: since the start of the 2015 season, the baseballs used by MLB showed a decrease in “drag’’ — which means less air resistance for the ball, which then carries farther.

The scientists concluded that the baseballs, which have been manufactured by Rawlings since 1977, were not intentionally “juiced.” But the puzzle included a missing piece: The scientists had no explanation for why the baseballs had decreased drag.

And, here’s a FanPost written by BCB reader shakeitsugaree, who went to the Washington State University lab where they’ve done some testing of baseballs, worth a read if you missed it when it was posted here in June.

I’d say the answer to the question, as of now, is “inconclusive.”

The rest of the SB Nation FanPulse questions concerned the Cubs, as usual. Approval of Joe Maddon remains high, at 81 percent, up from 76 percent last week. Overall confidence in the team is also up slightly:

That’s 69 percent, up from 60 percent last week. Of course, the votes were in before the two bad losses in Philadelphia; that confidence level might be a bit lower now.

It’s not too late to sign up for FanPulse and have your voice heard; use the link at the top of this post.