OAKLAND -- Much has been made of the massive home run totals across Major League Baseball this year, with several teams -- including the A's -- setting franchise for most homers in a season.
In fact, the league itself set a record earlier this month, with nearly three weeks still remaining in the season.
Former A's star Mark McGwire, who hit more than a few home runs in his day, weighed in on this year's power surge across baseball.
"It's awesome," he said. "Obviously, there's a difference (with the baseballs), but I don't think that's the only thing. Guys are throwing harder and guys are getting used to hitting velo(city). Guys are getting bigger and the way they're generating bat speed, the ball's coming in and when it hits it goes. There are a lot of factors. Maybe the ball has something to do with it. Some of these games I watch, I feel like I want to put a uniform on and go out there and play."
McGwire is far from the only person who has speculated about the baseballs. Astros ace Justin Verlander has been one of the louder voices in that discussion.
While it seems clear that something is going on with the balls, the increase in power numbers also can be explained by the approach hitters are taking. Terms like "launch angle" and "exit velocity" have become commonplace in the baseball lexicon, as power hitters try to get balls in the air as often as possible.
Of course, McGwire had a similar approach at the plate, although the terms themselves had no meaning yet.
"We didn't know what that was," he laughed. "We just hit. ... You're going to create launch angle by squaring up the baseball and trying to hit it as hard as you can. That's it. I mean, I would've loved to see what mine was because that's all I did was hit fly balls. ... That was just my swing. I think a lot of people get caught up in the launch angle stuff, but the bottom line is you still have to hit the ball hard."