Bats are going boom so far this season:
Entering Tuesday, teams were averaging 4.88 runs a game, the highest rate through the same number of games since 5.39 were scored nine years ago, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. This season's figure is an 8.2% increase from last year when the average was 4.51 runs a game.
Home runs are on the rise too, from each team averaging .90 a game in 2008 to 1.04 this season.
The article makes some oblique references to baseball's steroids policy. It strikes me, however, that unless you're the world's biggest cynic and believe that drug use is as rampant today as it was seven or eight years ago that this increased offense, such as it is, is evidence that steroids weren't necessarily the biggest driver when it comes to the inflated hitting stats of the past couple of decades. Granted we're dealing with a relatively small sample size for this year, but one of the biggest things that have changed since last season is the addition of two new stadiums in New York, one of which has been extremely offense friendly.
Likewise, while everyone seems to want to peg 1993 or so as the beginning of the "steroid era," calling it the "new stadium era" may be more precise. We suspect that those are the years in which steroid use blossomed, but we know for a fact that Camden Yards came online in 1992, and since then bunches of parks, almost all of them hitter friendly, have sprouted up.
I've long thought that the context in which the game is being played -- the parks, the strike zone, the equipment, the depth of pitching talent -- had a far bigger impact on the rise of offense than performance enhancing drugs. I wonder if the little offensive spike we're experiencing in our putatively drug-free era isn't further evidence of that.