There are a lot of theories being thrown around regarding the surge of home runs in the MLB — juiced balls, steroids — but before we jump to conclusions, one Washington State professor is taking a good, long look at the science behind the ball’s flight.
In the sprawling Sports Science Laboratory at Washington State University, baseballs are everywhere. In flight, too, when they’re fired out of air cannons at up to 90 mph.
“We have balls coming from all over the place,’’ Lloyd Smith told USA TODAY Sports, and he plucked one off a table in the lab where he was sitting last week.
Smith is a 55-year-old professor of Mechanical and Materials Engineering who oversees the baseball madness inside the lab he started in 2003. For almost two years, he has been working for Major League Baseball to figure out if and why “juiced baseballs” have triggered a surge in home runs.
The mystery appears to be over.