Duquette: "The Genie's Out Of The Bottle"

Rob Manfred can't explain this year's record-shattering home run pace, but what is he going to do about it?

Taz and the Moose
July 11, 2019 - 11:26 am
Rob Manfred MLB Commissioner

USA Today Images


Major League Baseball enjoyed a highly successful 2019 All-Star experience in Cleveland this week, aside from one major issue: Rob Manfred couldn’t explain this year’s record-shattering home run pace.

“He was a little bit on the defensive,” former MLB executive and current MLB Network analyst Jim Duquette said on Taz & The Moose. “I like most of what the commissioner has done, and I think in this one, it got a little ahead of him. I think they tried to address it a little bit last year, but it seemed like they were more reactive on this particular issue. Once they got to the All-Star Game and Verlander comes out and says it’s a joke and threw in an expletive on top of that, which gets everyone’s attention. He’s the best pitcher in the sport. So I think they were being a little bit reactive.”

The single-season record for home runs, set in 2017, is 6,105. This year, MLB is on pace for 6,668 – a 9.2 percent increase. Why the jump? Manfred doesn’t know.

“I believe that they weren’t intending to do this,” Duquette said. “None of the owners who he works for want this brand of baseball. I didn’t talk to all 30 of them, but I do have a feel from the general mangers that they don’t want it – and consequently the owners don’t either. So the proverbial genie’s out of the bottle. How do you bring it back? Clearly there’s an issue, but how do you address it?”

That is yet to be determined. Either way, Duquette does not believe Major League Baseball did this on purpose.

“They might have talked about making an adjustment,” he said, “but sometimes when you make adjustments, there’s that unintended consequence.”

Click below to listen to Duquette’s interview in its entirety.