MLB League Notes: Teams On Pace To Smash HR Record
In Minneapolis, Michael Rand notes MLB teams are "on pace to combine for 6,440 home runs" this season, which would "smash the record of 6,105" hit in '17, a year in which analysis suggested changes to the baseball may have been responsible for the increase. The sample size for the league-wide trend "this season is pretty small," but it "bears watching" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 4/22).
STAR POWER HITTERS: YAHOO SPORTS writes much is made about Angels CF Mike Trout "not being the type of household name he should be, but that marketing deficiency extends to guys" like Dodgers 1B Cody Bellinger and Brewers RF Christian Yelich. Through the first month of the season, Bellinger, 23, is hitting .424 and has 11 home runs, while Yelich, 27, is hitting .353 with 13 home runs. If MLB "can't sell the starts these guys are off to -- plus personalities that seem a little more outgoing than Trout -- what can you sell?" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 4/22).
INT'L LEAGUE RELATIONS: U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.), in a special to SI.com, wrote President Trump's "decision to block Cuban baseball players from joining MLB is a major setback for both of our nations and a great disappointment." Trump will "expose more Cuban baseball players to exploitation by human trafficking rings in their desperation to come" to the U.S. Trump should instead "put America first by strengthening relations with Cuba to benefit American baseball, American business, and America's image abroad" (SI.com, 4/18).