'Roid Rage May Be Misplaced

J.C. Bradbury says it's expansion, not drugs, that's damaged baseball
By Greg Atwan,  Newser User
Posted Apr 2, 2007 7:33 AM CDT
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim v San Francisco Giants    (Getty Images)

(Newser) – As opening day dawns, expect another season of home-run antics in lieu of your dad's short-ball game. But J.C. Bradbury argues in the New York Times that it's talent dilution, not steroids, that's changed the game: When the league expanded in the 90s, so did the number of hittable pitchers. "It allowed elite players, especially hitters, to excel."

Last year's crackdown on steroids did little to reverse the recent trend, Bradbury, of Sabernomics fame, points out.  He also points to the number of hit batters, which has shot up "a whopping 70 percent" during the expansion era. "It could be 'roid rage,'" he admits, "but it's more likely inferior pitchers, missing the strike zone way inside."