Hi all. Here’s how I see baseball on this Sunday, Sept. 24.
I discount all home run records set during the steroid era. That being said, Giancarlo Stanton of the Marlins has passed Hack Wilson and now has 57 home runs, which I see as the legitimate National League home run record. He also owns a team record of 125 RBIs after collecting 4 of those in a 12-6 Marlins’ win in Phoenix. His 57th home run came off the D-Backs’ Taewon Walker. The old Marlins’ record was 121 by Preston Wilson in 2000. Wilson now earns his pay as a Marlins’ TV broadcaster. Paul Goldschmidt tried to keep his team in the game by hitting a 3-run home run in the third inning, an inning before Stanton unloaded his record-breaking blast. No Marlin has been an MVP, and considering some of the names this team has had that is something of a surprise. 31 of his home runs have been belted after the All-Star break and he’s in high gear in late September when most players are running on fumes.
This isn’t unfamiliar territory for Stanton. in 2014 he was the NL home run champ. He could have done it again but for a broken hand s uffer in June 2015 that cancelled his season with 27 home runs. At 27, this Californian is coming into his prime, which ought to give National League pitchers pause to check both their unemployment and their life insurance. He’s already a veteran, having begun his career as Mike Stanton. As such he reached the bigs in June 2010, having gone pro early rather than go to Tulane in New Orleans to play baseball there. He caused a sensation in the mminors hitting 39 home runs in a 140-game season with the Greensboro Grasshoppers of the South Atlantic League. I broadcast in that league from 2000-2002 and it’s no easy league to wallop home runs in, particularly if you’re nnot used to the humidity so prevalent in South Atlantic league cities like Savannah, Columbus and Columbia. The bus rides, as much as 20 hours long are brutal for young players like Stanton was at the time. He was 18 years old in that year of 2008 when he shredded South Atlantic League pitching. His present total of 57 bombs has vaporized the old Marlins’ record of 43. What he’s doing is astonishing considering he doesn’t play at Coors Canaveral or any of the other hitter’s ballparks-Chase Field in Phoenix, or the parks in Philadelphia and Cincinnati to name a few. The air is almost palpable in Miami and hitting a home run through that miasma has been difficult, which is one part of why the Marlins have been such a woeful team through their quarter-century of existence. It’s astonishing that Stanton signed a contract to be with this team until 2027. At age 30 which is still a few years away he can opt out and hopefully go to a real major league team in a city where attendance usually measures more than 10,000 a night. The Marlins are an anchor chain around Stanton’s ability and any athlete’s time is fleeting.
The pitching match of the day seems to be the game in New York where the Mets’ Jacob DeGrom battles the Nats’ Max Scherzer. One of Max’s two no-hitters has been at Citi Field at the end of the 2015 season. The Mets got out to a 3-0 lead last night, but they managed to blow it as they’ve done so many times in this historically bad season. In extra innings they lost 4-3 to the Nationals, spoiling the brief return of Noah Syndergaard. The Angels face the Astros in the ESPN Sunday night game in Houston.0