Analysis

Conspiracy Theory: Juiced Balls Behind Yankees, Red Sox Offensive Outburst?

Could juiced balls be the reason behind the offensive show in London?

The New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox had a historic showing the first game in London. Could juiced balls be the reason behind it?

Everyone loves a good conspiracy theory. Aliens helped build the pyramids (they did). The moon landing was faked (obviously). Tupac is alive and well (absolutely). Following the historic offensive outburst between the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox in London on Saturday, there will be another theory to add to the list.

In what turned out to be a 17-13 Yankees win at London Stadium, there are many that will believe the league used “juiced” baseballs in order to avoid a pitching duel in the first-ever MLB game in overseas.

Of course, there is no proof of that. So, this would be all speculation. However, the theory is an interesting one. With 30 runs scored and 37 hits between the two teams, some have to wonder if there is some truth to the notion.

The Yankees had six players record a multi-hit game while the Red Sox had five. Between starting pitchers Masahiro Tanaka and Rick Porcello, neither made it out of the first inning before giving way to a reliever.

In total, there were 16 extra-base hits—10 by the Yankees, six by the Red Sox. There were six home runs in the game as well. That’s not a crazy number by any means but still high. Aaron Hicks, Aaron Judge, and Brett Gardner went deep for the Yankees while Michael Chavis homered twice and Jackie Bradley Jr. went oppo for the Red Sox.

It would make sense if the league did want to see more of an offensive show in the first game overseas. Maybe not to this extent where the score resembles an NFL game but at least to the point where they avoid a pitchers duel.

Though there were a lot of Yankees and Red Sox fans at the game, there were likely a lot of new viewers in London. The league would much rather have a high-scoring affair (not 17-13) rather than a low-scoring game, say a 2-1 outcome in the first-ever matchup in London. As much as great pitching is and should be appreciated, new viewers want to see offense.

Of course, this is just a theory. The offensive output could also be attributed to the poor pitching that was on display Saturday. Part of that could be due to the mound. Whether it simply be the fact that the pitchers weren’t used to it or something else, neither team had a dominant showing from their staff.

Some have suggested a lower mound could be used for the game, but that’s again simply another theory. A lower mound gives the advantage to the hitter.

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There’s also the matter of depth perception. The backstop behind home plate was much shorter than those in the United States. There was also an overhang behind home plate that could have made pitchers feel a little less comfortable when staring in for their signs.

We’ll never know if the league did anything close to juicing baseballs for the enhancement of the viewers. Regardless, there was an offensive output in London that we haven’t seen in quite some time. This will certainly lead to theories about why both teams could hardly miss a pitch on Saturday.

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