Year of the Home Run in the MLB | Bonehead Picks

Year of the Home Run did not generate greater interest in Major League Baseball

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Few athletic feats amaze people like a home run being hit in a baseball game. The power generated by a batter hitting a home run remains one of the great sights in sports. Major League Baseball had a record amount of long balls hit during the 2017 regular season. Over 6,000 home runs were hit during the 2017 regular season, which were the most in Major League Baseball history, and there were plenty of impressive performances involving home runs. Interestingly enough, there was also not a correlation between the record amount of home runs and the interest in Major League Baseball during the 2017 season.

There had never been a Major League Baseball season with more home runs than 2017. Players hit 6,105 home runs in 2017, more than 400 home runs than the previous record of the 2000 season. Of course, the year 2000 was part of the steroid era of Major League Baseball when many baseball players crushed home run records including Barry Bonds setting the single season home run record of 73 during the 2001 season. Although he fell far short of Bonds’ record, Miami Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton had 59 home runs to lead the majors this season. Those were the most home runs by a major leaguer since 2001 and Stanton’s pursuit of 61 home runs was a thrilling chase considering every Major League Baseball player to pass Roger Maris’ 61 home runs has been linked to steroids or performance-enhancing drugs. While the single season home run record wasn’t broken, the rookie record for home runs was broken by New York Yankees rookie phenom Aaron Judge, who hit 52 home runs.

There is a thought that “people dig the long ball” so this record year of home runs would draw more fans to baseball. However, the 2017 Major League Baseball regular season marked the third consecutive season of total attendance declines. MLB season attendance fell below 73 million attending games for first time since 2000. It is also important to note that attendance was affected by major hurricanes like Hurricane Harvey in Texas and Hurricane Irma in Florida. In terms of TV ratings, the 2017 season was steady for Major League Baseball as the local television ratings for the league’s 30 teams was positive. It was another example of baseball being a regional sport instead of having the national appeal of other professional sports.


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