SALT LAKE CITY — All-Star pitcher Justin Verlander recently accused Major League Baseball — and specifically, its commissioner — of juicing baseballs, which might account for the record number of balls that are flying over outfield fences. The league did it, he said, to produce more offense.

Well, maybe the reasoning goes that if players put “juice” in their bodies (steroids), MLB can put juice in their baseballs. They’re both backroom deceptions that have the same effect — more offense, more home runs, more fan attention.

Have you noticed? Everything is about scoring these days, not just in baseball but also football and basketball. Offense is in; defense is out, as passe as home phones and maps. Do you think it’s a coincidence that scoring in baseball, football and basketball have risen steadily for years?

This has been accomplished by tweaking the rules — and maybe baseballs — to favor the offense. Baseball saw the effect of offense after the 1994 player strike killed the game’s popularity. Under Worst Commissioner Ever Bud Selig, baseball looked the other way while large men on steroids destroyed the major league record book with home runs — and revived the game’s popularity.

Give the consumer what he wants. The consumers respond to offense; they have been heard. The NBA and NFL have pretty much banned defense, and perhaps baseball is serving up juiced baseballs to the same end.

We’re a country of instant gratification and immediacy. Everything can be delivered in an instant. We can call anyone, anytime, anywhere. We can find information, read a book, watch a movie immediately. We can shop without leaving the house — groceries, clothes, even dates. No one has to wait for anything and maybe this carries over to sports. Fans don’t want to wait for scoring; they want scoring and they want it now, like an order from Amazon.

So sports are all about offense, except of course soccer. Earlier this month, USA Today reported that the major leagues are on pace for 6,668 home runs this season, which would top last year’s total by more than 1,100 dingers and annihilate the record of 6,105 set in 2017.

Sixteen teams are on pace to break franchise records for homers. They’re hitting an average of 2.74 home runs per game. Per USA Today: “The Minnesota Twins hit more home runs in the first half than any team in history, eclipsing their total from all of last season. They’re on pace to hit 307 homers — 82 more than their franchise record.” There were also a record 22,582 runs scored in the majors last season.

We should probably mention that when Rob Manfred became baseball commissioner in 2015 he said the game needed more offense. We should also mention that Major League Baseball bought Rawlings — the company that makes the major league ball — last summer. Verlander believes Manfred ordered up juiced baseballs.

“Major League Baseball’s turning this game into a joke,” Verlander said recently. “They own Rawlings. … If any other $40 billion company bought out a $400 million company and the product changed dramatically, it’s not a guess as to what happened. ... Manfred the first time he came in, what’d he say? He said we want more offense. All of a sudden he comes in, the balls are juiced?”

Meanwhile, the NFL and NBA have almost made defense illegal. Both leagues tweaked rules to give a big advantage to the offense, which already enjoys a built-in advantage.

Scoring has climbed steadily in the NBA for years. Last season teams averaged a record 110.4 points per game. The league has done a lot of things to help the offense — strict adherence to the hand-check rule, the 3-point line that spreads the defense, the change to get the ball across midcourt from 10 seconds to eight, resetting the clock after an offensive rebound from 24 seconds to 14. Combine all that with the failure to call traveling violations and the rule of verticality, and you have an offensive free-for-all — more shots, more possessions, more points.

Like the MLB and NBA, the NFL set a scoring record last season, when teams averaged 23.3 points per game. It’s no accident. The league has created rules that favor offenses — more specifically, quarterbacks and receivers. There are myriad rules to protect quarterbacks in the pocket, giving them more time to find open receivers. Receivers can’t be touched after five yards and they’re free to roam the secondary without fear of getting hit, thanks to a new set of rules designed to prevent injuries. The new targeting rules, which prevent players from striking with the crown of their helmet, tend to be called against defensive players rather than offensive players, even though the latter often lead with a lowered head.

A few months ago the NFL decided to expand video reviews of pass interference — both called and uncalled by the referees on the field — making a defensive back’s job all but impossible. As cornerback Richard Sherman tweeted, “Sounds about right. One-sided game. One sided review.” He later tweeted, “Every defendable pass looks like PI in slow motion.”

Receivers already have an inherent advantage over defenders — simply put, they know where they’re going and defenders do not — and now the game gave them more advantages. No wonder the NFL has become a video game flag league.

So what’s wrong with more offense, you’re wondering? It’s too much of a good thing. It devalues scoring. Look at the Pro Bowl and NBA All-Star Game. There’s a tacit agreement not to play defense and to produce high scores — and they’re boring. When it comes to rules — and even baseballs — let’s make it a fair fight between the offense and defense.