Gunnar Henderson's Orioles home run hot streak might have a delicious motivation

Gunnar Henderson is helping fans' wallets during his latest home run binge.
Baltimore Orioles v Tampa Bay Rays
Baltimore Orioles v Tampa Bay Rays / Julio Aguilar/GettyImages

What Gunnar Henderson is doing with the Baltimore Orioles this year is truly remarkable. Despite the fact that teams have around a season's worth of data to figure out how to beat him, Henderson is somehow performing even better in 2024 than in his Rookie of the Year campaign. That he is seeming like he is improving even more as the weather warms up is even wilder, as his 1.158 OPS so far in June is markedly better than what he did in April and May.

Henderson has a lot of things going with his game, from his ability to get on base to his defensive acumen, but it is his power that has been on full display in 2024, as his 21 homers this season trail only Aaron Judge's 24 (as of June 11) in all of baseball. Funnily enough, Henderson's home run binge is also making Papa John's regret their marketing partnership with the O's star.

Papa John's pizza is getting awfully cheap thanks to Gunnar Henderson and the Orioles

These sorts of promotions are always fun. It adds some even more stakes to an individual's or team's performance in a joyous way. The most famous recent example is Mattress Mack, who famously offered customers double their money back on a mattress purchase if the Astros won the World Series. While Henderson's beatdown of Papa John's bottom line hasn't been quite that crazy, nine days of half-off pizzas is a lot of cheap pizzas.

Fun aside, it will be curious to see how Henderson's marketing campaign with Papa John's actually turns out. Baseball has long had a marketing problem of their own making, but if Papa John's can even demonstrate a strong regional benefit of the promotion to their business, we could see more of these sorts of high-profile promotions pop up to the benefit of everyone involved in the game of baseball.

That is a thought for another day. What matters here is that Henderson is currently on pace for close to 50 home runs (depending on if he gets days off, of course), which means that he may end up giving fans close to a month's worth of additional half-off pizzas this season. That is something we can all celebrate.

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