Baseball Goes Non-Green

Things That Make Me Go “Hmmm …”

Baseball fans are well-acquainted with the horrible road records of nearly every team in MLB.

As of today, July 24, there are only 3 teams in MLB playing over .500 on the road: Angels (31-18), Phillies (27-24), and Brewers (27-26). The Angels record is simply ridiculous, even better than their home record. The Brewers, meanwhile, have won 6 in a row on the road; so they might be an outlier, and until a couple of days ago, it was only two teams, the Angels and Phillies. But either way, two or three, it’s not many.

In 2007, for comparison, 8 teams finished above .500 on the road: Yankees, Red Sox, Indians, Tigers, Phillies, Mets, Cubs, Padres.

In 2006, 10 teams finished above .500 on the road: Yankees, Twins, Tigers, White Sox, A’s, Angels, Rangers, Mets, Phillies, Padres.

In 2005, 10 teams finished above .500 on the road: Yankees, Red Sox, White Sox, Indians, Angels, A’s, Phillies, Cardinals, Cubs, Diamondbacks.

That seems like a pretty big dropoff.

I’ve spent about 2 minutes thinking about this, so take it for what it’s worth, but I have to wonder if baseball’s ban against “greenies” is a factor here. I’m guessing that road trips are were a major reason players even use used them in the first place, with the jet lag and the hangovers and the arriving at 3 AM and sleeping in some crappy hotel bed.

My theory could be all wet though; the testing started in the 2006 season. But the first positive test carries no punishment other than counseling, and the player’s name is not released to the public. And with random testing, people who are using can often still avoid detection for quite awhile; it totally depends on how stringent the testing program is.

So who knows? I certainly don’t. Maybe banning amphetamines has something to do with the horrible road records this year, and maybe it doesn’t. And maybe this level of dropoff is within statistical norms, although I highly doubt that. But it sure seems like something odd is going on here.

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