baseball gods productions

Thoughts about baseball, from the perspective of sports psychology and the role of sports in society. It includes team and player analysis, predictions, and what I think needs to be changed in Major League Baseball. Brought to you from the heart of baseball, Brooklyn, by baseball gods productions.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Why Do Home Teams Win So Often?

Tom Verducci asked why the home team winning percentage is so much higher this year than in the past, and I sent him my answer to the Sports Illustrated website. My theory is that amphetamine testing is the reason.

Think about it: road players are taking long flights, sleeping in hotel rooms, and otherwise less comfortable and refreshed than home players. In the old days, players dealt with issues like fatigue by taking amphetamines like candy. Now, they are getting tested, and after a second positive test, they get suspended.

I've thought that it would take a while for the effects of this to be noticed, because it would take awhile for all amphetamine users to test positive the first time (results of which are not announced). There would be no reason to stop until after the first positive test, so it all makes sense that there was a bit of a delayed reaction.

I would say that amphetamine testing has also had an effect on the rise of pitchers and the fall of hitters these days. Pitchers are pumped up when they are pitching, and probably rely less on amphetamines to keep their focus. Most pitchers are pitching no more than six innings at a time, so fatigue is less of a factor.

Hitters, on the other hand, need to focus on seeing pitches every 30 minutes or so, which is much harder to do than focusing on pitching one pitch after another; in other words, pitchers get into a rhythm, while hitters have to kick it into gear a few times a day, with no chance to get into a real groove.

Maybe this sounds totally crazy, but I really believe that amphetamines have had a tremendous impact on baseball, and people have not started to examine it systematically.

© Judy Kamilhor 2010



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