Darryl Strawberry blames pitching, not juiced balls, on home run boom

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

New York Mets legend Darryl Strawberry has chimed in on the “juiced balls” debate, and he’s not buying the idea that the balls are the reason we’re seeing more home runs these days.

Instead, Strawberry said smaller ball parks, stronger players, and especially a lack of quality pitching, are to blame for the home run boom.

“I wouldn’t know, because I’m not hitting,” Strawberry¬†told Fox Business. “But I can tell you one thing, I think the ballparks are a little smaller than they used to be and I think the guys are a lot stronger. I don’t really think they’re juicing the baseball but, like I said before, I really couldn’t tell because I am not facing any pitches. I think pitching is not what it used to be, and guys get a better chance to hit home runs when your pitching is not as good as it used to be.”

Justin Verlander would certainly disagree with that assessment. So also would MLBPA president Tony Clark, who said on Tuesday he does believe the baseballs are being juiced to produce more home runs.

For what it’s worth, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred refuted that notion during a lengthy press conference Tuesday ahead of the All-Star Game.

Whatever you believe, the evidence is clear that MLB has never seen a home run boom like the one it’s currently experiencing, for better or worse.