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Saturday, June 22
The Indiana Daily Student


We're back in the home run race again

When I was a freshman I was often glued to my dorm room television during those times I should have been studying. I wasn't unique though -- most of my floormates could be found doing the same thing. The reason: we were all fascinated by the Great Home Run Race of 1998 between Mark McGwire of the St. Louis Cardinals and Sammy Sosa of the Chicago Cubs. \nBack then, the home run record was 61, set by Roger Maris way back in the day when he played for the New York Yankees. Everyone who was a baseball fan was wondering if McGwire and Sosa could break the record -- and if they did, how many they would end up hitting. Sixty-one home runs was, at that point, still seen to be a hard-to-reach number, thus making the breaking of the record all the more impressive. By the end of the season, McGwire ended up having 70 home runs, and Sosa ended with 66. When all was said and done, most people thought 70 home runs would be a long-standing record.\nThen this season came along, and the assault on the record began anew. Both Barry Bonds of the San Francisco Giants and Luis Gonzalez of the Arizona Diamondbacks started off this season on a tear, looking to break the record set a mere three seasons ago. While Gonzalez has fallen off pace quite a bit and Sosa came on in August to threaten Bonds for a little while, it has been Bonds from start to finish. Now it's not so much a question of Bonds breaking the record, but when. Saturday, Bonds hit home run No. 69 of the season, and has six games left to hit two more home runs to break the record.\nI know many out there are upset at how soon the record will be falling, pointing out the problems abounding in baseball today. While I agree that baseball does have its issues, that is not what I want to talk about. Plain and simple, what Bonds has done this season is just as remarkable as McGwire, if not maybe a little more, based on the different types of hitters they are. \nMcGwire is a pure power hitter, making it easy for him to keep up a pace for a whole season, while Bonds is more of a pure swinger, generating his power from his stroke, which means that he is more susceptible to long droughts without home runs. Yet, he has not suffered from a drought all season, which has put him in the position he's in now.\nBonds has put on a clinic this season, no matter if you like him or you don't. To belittle his accomplishments because of the lack of quality pitching or smaller ballparks does him an injustice. When Bonds breaks the record sometime this week, and whatever the mark is eventually set at, it will be an amazing feat, even if we just saw it happen a couple years ago.

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