Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Death of Baseball

Quick! What's the current single-season home run record in Major League Baseball? Barry Bonds holds it, but what's the number? Seriously. Do you know it?

It's 73, set in 2001, not coincidentally the same year that A-Rod claims to have begun doping. And while we're at it, do you know the career home run record? Once again it's held by Barry Bonds, but do you know how many dingers he hit over his 22-year career in the majors? Think it over, and let's see if you know the answer.

The correct answer is 762 home runs. I will admit that I got both of these numbers wrong when I first tried to remember them. And that right there is the crime of all the steroided-up players over the past 15 years or so in Major League Baseball. These guys have literally ruined the tradition of the game, the game with far and away the best tradition of all four major sports in this country. Baseball has always been the most traditional, the most historic and the most statistic-laden of the sports in America, and now these cheating a-holes have ruined that. Forever.

Try in your mind to go back 15 years or so, to the early 1990s. Did you know then what the single-season home run record was? Of course you did. Everyone did. 61 homers by Roger Maris, besting Babe Ruth's previous record of 60 homers. And let's see...did you know the career home run record? Of course! 755, Hank Aaron. 715, Babe Ruth. 660, Willie Mays. Everybody knew these hallowed numbers, the stuff of legends, literally. How could you not know these things, growing up as a baseball fan in this country? Those records were real, and they were everything. The fact that you know the best average in the past 80 years is Ted Williams' .406 in 1941, or the 61 homers hit by Roger Maris, or the 755 home runs hit by Hank Aaron in his career, that's precisely what has made baseball America's pasttime, and exactly what set it apart from all other sports in this country.

Now, all that is gone. If I don't even know Barry Bonds' 762 home run total, then lord knows that kids today won't be growing up knowing it either. Shit, when it's time I will be teaching my girls that Hank Aaron is the home run king, with 755 home runs, before a bunch of cheating losers came along and defiled the game and the richest history of any sport widely played in America. So the days of growing up with these numbers etched into our minds are dead and gone forever. All because of a bunch of tiny-dicks (literally) and their unstoppable need to cheat and to push things further into excess than they ever needed to go.

It's sad, really, how similar this all sounds to what led us to the massive financial crisis we are facing right now as a country as well, isn't it? People's greed, their insatiable appetite for excess, has led us to do innumerable stupid things in countless aspects of our existence over the past generation, from our Presidents chasing blowies from fat Jewish chicks instead of Osama Bin Laden, right down to the average joe who takes out the $350,000 "liar loan" adjustable-rate mortgage that he can't possibly afford in realistic terms. The people of this country, and the world at large, have been treated over the past 10-20 years to an absolute clinic on what unbridled, unregulated greed and excess leads to if left unchecked for long enough. One can only hope that this is a lesson that we as a people will figure out how to stop repeating in the future.

Before I go for the day, is there anybody in America (outside of Raleigh-Durham) who does not flat-out love watching Duke lose a college basketball game, any game at all? I've got plenty of people who I wouldn't talk to if we were on a plane together that was going down, but I'll be damned if Duke losing for the fourth straight time to UNC at home doesn't bring warmth to the heart and shared smiles to even the bitterest of enemies. My college basketball team may suck balls this year, but the NCAAs will always be fun and interesting for me when there are the hated Dookies and their dorkass coach to root against.

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Blogger lightning36 said...

Interesting tie-in with baseball and the financial crisis.

I moved away from baseball in the 90's because of the players' attitudes and the strike. I started coming back after the Mark/Sammy home run tour, then really came back when my White Sox won the World Series.

Now? Strangely enough, I am not bothered as much by the steroids era. Jaded? Maybe. All I know is that professional sports seemed so much better when I was young and the sporting world seemed so much more pure and innocent.

11:26 PM  
Blogger Memphis MOJO said...

Bumper sticker I've seen:

"Friends don't let friends go to Dook."

11:37 PM  
Blogger kurokitty said...

Go Heels! A win at Cameron means more than winning the ACC tournament.

10:30 AM  
Blogger Riggstad said...

Babe Ruth hit 714 in his career..

But that only furthers your point.


1:56 AM  

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