What’s going on with baseball’s rising home run rates?

The MLB asked scientists to get to the bottom of mysteriously rising rate of home runs. A physicist from the team explains the tests and what they found.

Home run rates in Major League Baseball have increased steadily since 2015. In 2017, the rate was 35 percent greater than it was before the All-Star Game in 2015.

To understand the reason behind this sudden surge, the organization convened a committee of 10 scientists representing various fields to dig into pitching and batting behavior as well as physical features of the balls themselves.

Their final report, which you can read here, ruled out nearly every explanation the group was able to study. The scientists did present evidence for a change in the aerodynamic properties of the baseball itself, but have yet to find its origin.

Roger Blandford, professor of physics and of particle physics and astrophysics at Stanford University, was part of this committee. Here, he explains the committee’s findings and the future work that might be done to understand this ongoing mystery.

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