In the fourth game of the National League championship series to determine who goes to the World Series, the Chicago Cubs survived a threat of elimination by beating the Los Angeles Dodgers 3-2 on 3 solo homers to 2 solo homers.
Cubs: 2nd Contreras homered to left (491 feet).
Cubs: 2nd Báez homered to left (437 feet).
Dodgers: 3rd Bellinger homered to right (378 feet).
Cubs: 5th Báez homered to left (380 feet).
Dodgers: 8th Turner homered to left (400 feet).
Five of the eight hits in the game were home runs. (For the Europeans reading this in what is the middle of the night in America, a baseball homerun is a ball hit so far that it clears the fences and lands in the stands so the batter and any baserunners jog home to score.)
Granted, this was in Wrigley Field, where homers are cheap.
Still, baseball is actually more tense and exciting when runners get on base and have a chance to run home on a hit rather than just jog home on a homer. (My most feared opposition team was the 1985 St. Louis Cardinals, who won 102 games and beat the Dodgers 4-2 in the NLCS despite hitting only 87 home runs. Here are the 1984 Cards playing the Cubs in the epic Sandberg-McGee game.)
Baseball in 2017 is turning into pro softball where all the runs score on homers.
Why? One theory is that the seams on the baseball were tightened so that breaking balls don’t break as much, while fly balls are more likely to carry out of the park.
Is that true? I don’t know.
Perhaps it’s not. Another theory is that new launch angle data encouraged hitters to retools their swings over the offseason for homers or strikeouts.
Or maybe they have a new PED.
One way to make baseball less of a feat of strength would be to speed up the outfield grass by, say, mowing it away from home plate so that line drives would be more likely to roll past the outfielders for extra bases.