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Thread: Will Ryan Howard break Roger Maris' single-season home run record?

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    Just The Big Picture macro's Avatar
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    Will Ryan Howard break Roger Maris' single-season home run record?

    No love for the supplement guys in this article. Under the guise of writing an article about Ryan Howard's chase to 61, the author dredges up the "asterisk" debate once again.

    For what it's worth, though, I still regard Maris as the record-holder, although his criticism of MLB for hanging onto the records of McGwire, Sosa, Bonds, and Co. is unfair. I'm not sure what MLB can do about the record books at this point. Yes, they blew it, but there's no fixing the past.

    As Howard Gives Chase, Maris Is Still The Man
    By Dan Wetzel, Yahoo! Sports
    September 5, 2006

    If Ryan Howard clubs nine more home runs this season, giving him 62, then the Philadelphia Phillies first baseman should be recognized as the single-season, 162-game home run champion.It's as simple as that.

    Maybe not for Major League Baseball, which is not planning on commemorating such a feat because, technically, three other players Barry Bonds (73), Mark McGwire (70) and Sammy Sosa (66, 64 and 63) have posted bigger numbers, surpassing the long-standing record of Roger Maris, who hit 61 in 1961.

    But since when has MLB been correct about things, particularly when it comes to the use of performance-enhancing drugs?

    Baseball is loath to admit that it blew it during the late 1990s and early 2000s when Bonds, McGwire and Sosa – each as juiced as a glass of squeezed oranges – made a mockery of the record book and spit in the face of Maris' accomplishment.

    But every reasonable, intelligent and rational person knows otherwise. Those three's numbers were achieved not with natural skill but with superior chemistry.

    And that is why people – if not the powers that be – should recognize Maris' 61 homer mark as the rightful record.

    And it's why if Howard, the big-swinging second-year player, can drill nine more dingers in his final 24 games, then he takes over.

    "If he breaks it, it's legit," Roger Maris' son, Rich, told Yahoo! Sports on Tuesday.

    Yes, the sudden rise of this 26-year-old causes pause. As I wrote earlier this week, the fact that MLB does not test for human growth hormone or many other favored drugs means declaring any player 100 percent clean is a leap of faith. And after a summer of scandal courtesy of Floyd Landis, Marion Jones and others, it is natural to be skeptical.

    But this is what we have. This is the new reality. We can either take each performance on a case-by-case basis or write off the entire operation and no longer believe any accomplishment ever again.

    What we have is this: Baseball is testing for some performance-enhancing drugs and Ryan Howard has not failed any tests. Moreover, with his big frame – 6-foot-4, 250 pounds – that doesn't look bloated or strained like the previous three, and his history of being a power hitter back to high school, he at least looks clean.

    Maybe he winds up burning us, but at this stage he passes both the drug test and the sniff test.

    "In my mind," said Rich Maris, "I feel Ryan Howard's clean. If baseball's doing what they're supposed to be doing and say they're doing – I feel bad for people bashing him.

    "Right now people should be looking at baseball saying it's cleaned up. I know if I were a baseball player, there would be no way I'd come close to touching that stuff. Look at Rafael Palmeiro. He had first-ballot Hall of Fame statistics. And then that stuff comes out."

    If Rich Maris is for it, then that is good enough for me. This is a painful subject for the Maris family, who were burned by the steroid boys. They rightfully consider their father the single-season record holder and, truth be told, aren't that interested in seeing someone else break it.

    Worse, they had a front row seat to watch the McGwire fraud show back in 1998, an empty uniform trying to pretend he was their dad's equal. He certainly was not.

    "At the time, it was quite a feat," said Rich Maris. "We were in awe. It seemed to happen so fast. We were along for the ride like the rest of the country. Every time McGwire hit one, it was like, ‘Wow, he did it again.' And now you just look at that and laugh."

    I wouldn't blame them for crying.

    The truth is Roger Maris is the home run champion right now and nothing the official MLB record book says changes that.

    Which is why baseball fans should flock to Howard's historic pursuit. If MLB lacks the courage and conviction to do what's right, then the people should, out of respect for Ryan Howard and out of respect for Roger Maris.

    ESPN should be cutting in for each at bat, newspapers should chronicle the count down, the honest should be celebrated, the cheats ignored.

    Anything less is to reward the crooked and condemn the truth.

    Help stamp out, eliminate, and do away with redundancy.

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    Posting in Dynarama M2's Avatar
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    Re: Will Ryan Howard break Roger Maris' single-season home run record?

    Great article and I agree 100% that Howard's pursuit of Maris should be treated as major news.
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    Stat Wanker Hodiernus RedsManRick's Avatar
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    Re: Will Ryan Howard break Roger Maris' single-season home run record?

    I hate how people act as if everything used to be clean, perfect, and honest, and then villify Bonds/McGwire/Sosa as this triumverate of ultimate cheaters. Do I suspect that these guys used steroids. Of course, but you don't go qualifying records on variables that don't have to do with the game. Should we put a star next to Ruth's records because he only faced whites? Maybe we should eliminate Maris' record since his name starts with an M.

    Record books record events. History provides the context for those events. The fact is that Bonds et. al did hit more than 61 homers in a season, regardless of what substances may have been in their bodies. They were not found guilty of cheating, let alone repremanded in anyway. Furthermore, while current test is a great step forward, there are still drugs both legal and illegal which can enhance performance (HGH anyone?).

    If Howard hits more than 61 it will be a great accomplishment and should be lauded. But to try to claim his is new legit HR leader is just plain stupid.
    Games are won on run differential -- scoring more than your opponent. Runs are runs, scored or prevented they all count the same. Worry about scoring more and allowing fewer, not which positions contribute to which side of the equation or how "consistent" you are at your current level of performance.

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    Making sense of it all Matt700wlw's Avatar
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    Re: Will Ryan Howard break Roger Maris' single-season home run record?

    Baseball may still say Bonds is the record holder.

    Baseball fans, as a majority, would give it to Howard.

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    Harry Chiti Fan registerthis's Avatar
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    Re: Will Ryan Howard break Roger Maris' single-season home run record?

    I think a lot of fans still view Maris as the champion.

    Unfortunately, thanks in large part to guys like McGwire, Sosa, Bonds, Palmeiro et al, any player (such as Howard) who approaches milestones such as 62 HRs will do so under a cloud of suspicion. I'd like to think that Ryan Howard is doing this cleanly, but the truth is we just don't know.
    We'll burn that bridge when we get to it.

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    Churlish Johnny Footstool's Avatar
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    Re: Will Ryan Howard break Roger Maris' single-season home run record?

    Let's hope for everyone's sake that Ryan Howard is clean.

    As for this article, it's mighty vindictive of the author to proclaim that his subjective view is "the truth." In fact, despite how much the author hates it, Sosa, McGwire, and Bonds all hit more home runs than Maris. Yes, it leaves a bad taste in your mouth to say that, but it is the truth.

    BTW - unless he has some solid, irrefutable proof that Sosa and McGwire juiced (and if he does, he should contact the courts, because they don't seem to have it), he's teetering on the edge of libeling both of those players.
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    Re: Will Ryan Howard break Roger Maris' single-season home run record?

    Quote Originally Posted by RedsManRick View Post
    I hate how people act as if everything used to be clean, perfect, and honest, and then villify Bonds/McGwire/Sosa as this triumverate of ultimate cheaters. Do I suspect that these guys used steroids. Of course, but you don't go qualifying records on variables that don't have to do with the game. Should we put a star next to Ruth's records because he only faced whites? Maybe we should eliminate Maris' record since his name starts with an M.
    And maybe we should just create any argument we want to justify people such as McGwire, Sosa and Bonds holding a place in the record books.

    Perhaps if it could be shown that Babe Ruth gained an advantage playing against an all-white league that was not enjoyed by his peers at the time, I might be able to accept your argument. But that correlation doesn't exist. IMO, viewing the records of players such as McGwire, Sosa and Bonds as illegitimate is no more stupid than equating their actions with a player such as Ruth, whose only sin was to play baseball during a period of segregation. Or to argue that those who disavow steroid users are using a distinction as arbitrary as one who would condemn a player whose name ends with the letter "M".
    We'll burn that bridge when we get to it.

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    Danger is my business! oneupper's Avatar
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    Re: Will Ryan Howard break Roger Maris' single-season home run record?

    Quote Originally Posted by Johnny Footstool View Post
    .
    BTW - unless he has some solid, irrefutable proof that Sosa and McGwire juiced (and if he does, he should contact the courts, because they don't seem to have it), he's teetering on the edge of libeling both of those players.
    Fine, let McGwire and Sosa sue. This is journalism (good, bad or whatever), the author throws it out there at his own risk.
    Frankly, I'm happy to see some of these guys embrace the obvious instead of running ends around it, like they have for the past decade.
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    Member Phhhl's Avatar
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    Re: Will Ryan Howard break Roger Maris' single-season home run record?

    Before he's done with this game, Howard might eclipse Bonds' number anyway. That guy is an incredible talent.

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    Harry Chiti Fan registerthis's Avatar
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    Re: Will Ryan Howard break Roger Maris' single-season home run record?

    Quote Originally Posted by oneupper View Post
    Fine, let McGwire and Sosa sue. This is journalism (good, bad or whatever), the author throws it out there at his own risk.
    They would NEVER sue, because they don't want to see what discovery would bring up. And neither does baseball.
    We'll burn that bridge when we get to it.

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    Danger is my business! oneupper's Avatar
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    Re: Will Ryan Howard break Roger Maris' single-season home run record?

    Quote Originally Posted by Santo Alcala View Post
    Before he's done with this game, Howard might eclipse Bonds' number anyway. That guy is an incredible talent.
    The single season, maybe. But he started too late to have a chance at 700. He's only 10 days younger than Dunn and Dunn has 120 more homers.
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    Posting in Dynarama M2's Avatar
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    Re: Will Ryan Howard break Roger Maris' single-season home run record?

    Quote Originally Posted by Johnny Footstool View Post
    Let's hope for everyone's sake that Ryan Howard is clean.

    As for this article, it's mighty vindictive of the author to proclaim that his subjective view is "the truth." In fact, despite how much the author hates it, Sosa, McGwire, and Bonds all hit more home runs than Maris. Yes, it leaves a bad taste in your mouth to say that, but it is the truth.

    BTW - unless he has some solid, irrefutable proof that Sosa and McGwire juiced (and if he does, he should contact the courts, because they don't seem to have it), he's teetering on the edge of libeling both of those players.
    The events of this summer -- Landis and Gatlin in particular -- have erased any sympathy or fairmindedness I've had on the topic. Bonds, McGwire and Sosa got paid millions and enjoyed the notoriety of the moment. The price for it is going to be that history regards them as a pestilence. No point in delaying the inevitable. If Howard beats Maris, he'll have topped the mark that matters to me. Hopefully we'll all get to see someone blow past Bonds too.

    I'm not saying the record books need to be changed, but society can make a choice on when it lends credence and credit to a given HR total. I don't see anything wrong with the media representing Howard's chase of Maris as the one that matters.
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    Churlish Johnny Footstool's Avatar
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    Re: Will Ryan Howard break Roger Maris' single-season home run record?

    Quote Originally Posted by M2 View Post
    The events of this summer -- Landis and Gatlin in particular -- have erased any sympathy or fairmindedness I've had on the topic. Bonds, McGwire and Sosa got paid millions and enjoyed the notoriety of the moment. The price for it is going to be that history regards them as a pestilence. No point in delaying the inevitable. If Howard beats Maris, he'll have topped the mark that matters to me. Hopefully we'll all get to see someone blow past Bonds too.

    I'm not saying the record books need to be changed, but society can make a choice on when it lends credence and credit to a given HR total. I don't see anything wrong with the media representing Howard's chase of Maris as the one that matters.
    I agree. I just don't like it when some wag chimes in and proclaims his version of reality to be "the truth." Taking a subjective view is fine as long as you recognize it as such.
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    Rally Onion! Chip R's Avatar
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    Re: Will Ryan Howard break Roger Maris' single-season home run record?

    Ironic how Maris is getting so much love now when his pursuit of Ruth's record, at the time, was considered by many sacrilegious.
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    Stat Wanker Hodiernus RedsManRick's Avatar
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    Re: Will Ryan Howard break Roger Maris' single-season home run record?

    Quote Originally Posted by registerthis View Post
    And maybe we should just create any argument we want to justify people such as McGwire, Sosa and Bonds holding a place in the record books.

    Perhaps if it could be shown that Babe Ruth gained an advantage playing against an all-white league that was not enjoyed by his peers at the time, I might be able to accept your argument. But that correlation doesn't exist. IMO, viewing the records of players such as McGwire, Sosa and Bonds as illegitimate is no more stupid than equating their actions with a player such as Ruth, whose only sin was to play baseball during a period of segregation. Or to argue that those who disavow steroid users are using a distinction as arbitrary as one who would condemn a player whose name ends with the letter "M".
    And yet you bring no proof that either McGwire or Sosa used a substance, not against the rules of baseball, to enhance their performance. My point is simply that players throughout the history of baseball have had relative advantages and disadvantages in every era -- far more than we can begin to list here. Again, lambast them all you want in the opinion columns or in the history books. Right chapters about how they "cheated" against the spirit of the game to accomplish what they did. But the fact is that they did hit that many homers and unless you want to completely wipe out their numbers accross the board, make their teams forfeit games, etc., then just removing certain records from the record books because they don't sit right it your gut is inconsistent and spiteful.

    I agree wholeheartedly that steroids have no place in the game of baseball. Those abusing any substance illegally or against the rules of the game should be punished to the extent of the law/rules. However, to argue that a few players whom we suspect (but cannot prove) used these substances to gain an advantage (which again, we aren't even sure that steroids = more homers), when said substances were not against the rules of baseball and thus should have their records wiped out is just a weak line of reasoning in my opinion.
    Last edited by RedsManRick; 09-06-2006 at 11:26 AM.
    Games are won on run differential -- scoring more than your opponent. Runs are runs, scored or prevented they all count the same. Worry about scoring more and allowing fewer, not which positions contribute to which side of the equation or how "consistent" you are at your current level of performance.


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