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The Bleacher Bums: June 22, 2007 Archive

Mr. 600

Posted at 12:14 PM on June 22, 2007 by David Zingler

Many casual baseball fans may not have noticed that the Rangers Sammy Sosa belted his 600th career homerun earlier this week. It didn’t receive much play in the media and Bud Selig never considered attending. Why wasn’t there more fanfare around this event? After all, Sosa is just the 5th man to reach the 600 plateau.

It is popular for people in their early 30s (like me) to say the 30s are the “new 20s” and those in their 40s to call the 40s the “new 30s”. Maybe the same should hold true for homerun milestones: 600 is the new 500 and 500 is the new 400. Interesting theory – possibly even true – but it still doesn’t explain all of the apathy surrounding Sosa’s achievement.

Maybe, it’s homerun burnout. So many long ball milestones have fallen in the past decade, they seem to have lost much of their meaning. There is probably some merit to that too, but there’s still that 800 ton gorilla in room. And you know what I am talking about.

Along with very observable physical changes in his physique during the 90s, the slugger formerly known as “Slammin’ Sammy” also gave a highly suspect denial of steroid use to Congress in 2005. They basically had to drag it out of him.

So, while the first two reasons may have played a part in the lack of interest, the real reason Sosa isn’t getting the credit he ordinarily would for reaching such rarified air is the storm cloud of steroid allegations hovering over his suddenly smaller head.

If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

Posted at 3:43 PM on June 22, 2007 by Steve Rudolph

The finals of the College World Series begin Saturday as North Carolina and Oregon State once again meet in the best-of-three series at Rosenblatt Stadium in Omaha.

The event has been held in that majestic stadium on the prairie for 57 years, made Nebraska the Mecca for college baseball fans, and is one of the toughest tickets to be had in all of sports. Unfortunately, the NCAA cares more about corporate sponsors than what’s good for the sport and is considering a move to Indianapolis or staying in Omaha but moving the CWS to a new state-of-the-art ballpark downtown.

I’ll admit that I’ve never been to the College World Series, but it’s one of my sports dreams to see the Gophers play in it one day. I’ve heard all the stories of past Minnesota teams that have played there and every person I’ve ever met that has attended a game at Rosenblatt Stadium speaks of it as if it was a religious experience.

I’m not opposed to change, for example I like interleague play, but so much of the appeal of sports is its history and tradition. The NCAA tarnished the Rose Bowl when it became part of the BCS Championship and not the game where the best in the Big Ten and Pac 10 meet each New Year’s as they did for more than a century. Maybe that's why I have little faith that they’ll do the right thing, what's right for baseball, and keep the College World Series at Rosenblatt.

June 2007
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