After over a decade of chemical-fueled insanity, baseball is back to normal, writes Thomas Boswell in the Washington Post. Home run totals are down 10.4% this spring, after an 8% drop last year. The sport is on pace to return to the century-old statistical norms ripped to shreds by the steroid era. “I think this is a good thing,” said Orioles prez Andy MacPhail. “It’s more like baseball.”
Since 1997, the average home run champ has hit 53 dingers, a feat matched by only three players in the preceding 35 years. This year’s AL leaders are on pace for 38. “A ‘cold spring’ doesn’t account for an almost 20% drop in two years,” says MacPhail. Increased steroid testing is taming some once ludicrous numbers. “Just say that guys look like ballplayers again,” said a Nationals coach.