Why MLB needed the Mark McGwire-Sammy Sosa home run race then — and must celebrate it now

first_imgMcGwire vs. Sosa came at a time when baseball was getting lost on the map, and re-established the game as a capital city. While the franchises with bigger fan bases dominate the landscape in 2020, it’s been hard to make baseball as cross-country compelling. Like college football is to the northeast, baseball can become a sports blind spot for much of America without one unifying national storyline involving the same scale of individual magnetism.For those who think McGwire and Sosa committed the ultimate Cardinal and Cub sin with their PEDs, consider that issues involving owner vs. player, diversification, adaptation and marketing are obstacles toward increasing the popularity of the game in 2020, well removed from the steroid era.McGwire vs. Sosa wasn’t just a band aid that created a bandwagon. It was the type of rare phenomenon baseball desperately needed then and could use much of now. Keeping with what those two guys and those home runs meant, maybe a different kind of work stoppage will lead to a similar revitalization. https://images.daznservices.com/di/library/sporting_news/6/38/mcgwire-sosa-sncoverjpg_sp2ac8chsold1kfydm8uh0m7g.jpg?t=-1452195478&w=500&quality=80McGwire vs. Sosa were the right superstars, despite their wrongsWhen the steroid revelations came to light, there was major irreparable damage to the reputations of McGwire and Sosa. When the collective ignorance went away, it also revoked all of the innocence involved with the dreamlike state of their home run race.As flawed as they were as players, it’s their personalities which explain why McGwire vs. Sosa still conjures fond memories, in St. Louis, Chicago or elsewhere. A long 22 years later, there are few times when those strong feelings toward baseball resurface, most recently with Giancarlo Stanton vs. Aaron Judge trying to re-created some of that magic in 2017.Mike Trout, Christian Yelich, Cody Bellinger and Mookie Betts are considered the best position players in the game in 2020. But consider that in ESPN’s World Fame 100, ranking the biggest, most famous names in sports worldwide in 2019, only one MLB player, Bryce Harper, made the list at No. 99. MORE: Ranking the top 10 unbreakable baseball recordsMcGwire ended up edging Sosa 70-66 as both shot past Maris in the record books before Barry Bonds reset the mark to 73 just three years later. ESPN’s latest “30 for 30” sports documentary “Long Gone Summer” couldn’t come at a better time (8 p.m. ET, Sunday), during a summer of longing for baseball.Here’s why McGwire vs. Sosa was so important to baseball then and what lessons the game could still learn from it now.McGwire vs. Sosa made baseball larger than lifeWhen the players’ strike put an end to the final two months and postseason in 1994, it soured many of the game’s most loyal fans. The Yankees’ return to dominance as a World Series dynasty and the Red Sox starting to rise were key to helping the healing with two storied franchises having budding success at the same time. That was great for big American League markets on the East Coast, but MLB needed something the entire country could embrace, too.Enter the National League, and the ultimate rivals in America’s heartland, McGwire’s Cardinals and Sosa’s Cubs. That it was St. Louis vs. Chicago as well as McGwire vs. Sosa made it extra special.  It didn’t matter that the Cardinals and Cubs finished well behind the Astros in the then NL Central and the latter limped into the playoffs as a wild card. Baseball had the equivalent of October drama play out from March through September, with McGwire and Sosa trading majestic bomb after majestic bomb. At some point, they stopped becoming very good power hitters and turned into part classic mythical figures, part comic-book superheroes enjoying their own version of a summer blockbuster MLB or Hollywood couldn’t have written a better script in an attempt to erase all the negative vibes from four years earlier. Consider that in ’98 the NBA had its “Last Dance” with Michael Jordan’s Bulls and the NFL had yet to see its great modern QB era ushered in by Peyton Manning and Tom Brady.The stars aligned for baseball to get back to being “America’s Pastime,” a status it has struggled to maintain since. No stars were built to be better or brighter for the moment than McGwire and Sosa. (SN cover) Sammy Sosa, Mark McGwire https://images.daznservices.com/di/library/sporting_news/d6/5b/19981007sosamcgwire-sn-embedjpg_1g4fj4qtdfy8211kkffoaddq25.jpg?t=-1219585739&w=500&quality=80McGwire vs. Sosa challenged our thoughts and discussions on raceFor Cardinals and Cubs fans, there wasn’t much conflict for whom to root to break Maris’ mark. But for some, there was taking sides on their favorite hero or villain between McGwire and Sosa. Unfortunately, some of that was related to McGwire being a white Californian and Sosa being a black Dominican.For some, McGwire, at 6-5, 215 pounds, represented the ideal image, often associated with baseball’s past, to replace Maris atop the list. For others, Sosa, with his energy and more flamboyant home run trots, was indicative of baseball future’s with the Latin influx about to change the faces of the sport.What helped is that McGwire and Sosa genuinely liked each other, laughing and smiling all the way through their heated but friendly competition. They were making baseball fun for others and, unlike Maris, who had a tough grind to 61 while being overshadowed, personality- and stature-wise by teammate Mickey Mantle, McGwire and Sosa were having a blast while blasting balls into the stands.Two guys with very different backgrounds found their common ground and that did help to make the race less about race. Many of those tracking their daily exploits may have thought otherwise, but McGwire and Sosa also played an important role in bringing many together and working to break some stereotypes.MORE: 10 single-season MLB feats we’ll never see againMcGwire vs. Sosa delivered must-see TV for casual fansA few years before there were “Survivor,” “American Idol,” and “The Bachelor” leading the boom of intense, popular reality competition series, television had a natural such program play out like never before in sports, often in prime time. Every time McGwire and Sosa came up to the plate, they were drop-everything-and-just-watch moments. Incredibly, McGwire and Sosa often lived up to the tension, with line-drive beauties and tape-measure shots to victimize many intimidated pitchers.The biggest highlight came when the Cardinals and Cubs started a two-game set at Busch Stadium on Labor Day. McGwire, up 60-58 on Sosa, hit the Maris-tying home run on the holiday afternoon, following by the record-breaker Tuesday night in front of a national audience on Fox. Sosa was right there after McGwire circled the bases to join in the rejoicing.Baseball is more about numbers than any of the other major North American team sports, and there can be paralysis and overanalysis. But the basic emotions that come with the game are what truly make it a great, and nothing still does that better than a home run.McGwire vs. Sosa was like two NFL QBs or two NBA scorers dueling with the backdrop of team, but also with the direct individual athletic appeal of boxing, tennis, golf or the Olympics. At the time, the home run race was the best of all sports, including baseball, which is what allowed it to transcend sports. McGwire vs. Sosa both demanded and commanded or attention, and even with the aftermath, that was much more for the better than for the worse. Given what all is known now about Major League Baseball’s epic home run race between Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa in 1998, it might be hard to respect what they did together for the game for one magic season. But as time heals, it’s never been worthier of honor and celebration.Ignorance was bliss in ’98 as the nation was captivated by McGwire and Sosa’s battle to break Roger Maris’ single-season record, 36 years after he smashed 61 homers for the Yankees in 1961. While McGwire’s admission of using performance-enhancing drugs and Sosa’s adamant denial of doing the same thing have kept both sluggers out of the Baseball Hall of Fame, there’s no question MLB needed to embrace the fairytale reality of them combining for 136 homers. (SN cover)last_img read more

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Getafe is trading higher

first_imgWhile Sevilla has lost condition (down from third place to fifth), Getafe has risen like foam and has positioned itself almost at its height.Today, the team of Bordalás is the sixth favorite, beating classics like Rome, Leverkusen, Benfica, Celtic …The Spanish is lost at the bottom of the forecasts after 4-0 against the Wolverhampton and has the highest share of all (2,501 / 1), next to Apoel Nicosia and the Ludogorets.At the beginning of the round of 16 and knowing their match with Ajax, Getafe had a 34/1 share and Ajax was 8/1. After 2-0, the Dutch are now granted half the options to the Blues: 26/1 versus 13/1. The Basel, a Swiss team that won Getafe in both games of the group stage, trades well above: 67/1.These data support the growth of the Bordalás team and their recognition. The second leg is missing in Amsterdam but, for now, Getafe has won the hand of Ajax. And tomorrow, Getafe-Seville, third and fifth in the League and sixth and fifth among the favorites to win the Europa League. The bookmakers surrender to the blue phenomenon. No team of the 32 that remain in the round of 16 of the Europa League has experienced a rise in its price for a hypothetical final triumph like that of Getafe, that one day before facing the Ajax It was 34 to 1 and at the end of the game it went to 13/1. When more perspective is taken, the value increase is more appreciated, since in September its quota was around 100/1.When the competition began, Getafe did not appear among the best forecasts to lift the trophy in the final to be held on May 27 at the Gdansk Arena (Poland). So the favorites were the Manchester United (5/1), Arsenal (6/1) and Sevila (9/1), the club that has won the Europa League the most times: five. When the first day of the group stage was held on September 19, Getafe was far from them. To that forecast it was necessary to add that the 8 teams that arrived bounced from the Champions League they also entered ahead of Getafe in the prices of betting houses.last_img read more

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Medical exemption rule worked

first_imgIt’s hard to argue with the JAAA’s medical-exemption rule now. The incomparable Usain Bolt and new star Elaine Thompson rode the exemption to two gold medals apiece at the recently concluded Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. Though not at her best, Janieve Russell hurdled her way to the final of her event, the 400-metre hurdles. If not for the medical-exemption rule, the world would have been denied a last look at Bolt, who crowned his last Olympic appearance with a solid sprint double. Thompson only had exemption eligibility for the 200 metres, but she ‘proved’ her fitness with a gold-medal run in the 100m. Had a less mature approach been taken, she might have been ruled out of both sprints. Bolt ran his fastest times of the season in Rio. Thompson’s winning 100-metre time – 10.71 seconds – missed her recent personal best by one-hundredth of a second. In the 200m, like Bolt, she clocked her quickest time of the year, 21.78 seconds. Had Bolt been ruled ineligible, his absence might also have handed the 4×100-metre gold medal to Japan, who crossed the line in second place with a time of 37.60 seconds. Only Jamaica and the United States have ever gone faster. More importantly, non-Bolt Jamaica quartets have only beaten 37.60 twice. Russell didn’t regain the form that gave her a personal best of 53.96 seconds. However, in the absence of really fast times by her likely replacement, Kaliese Spencer, Russell’s Olympic participation isn’t too much of a talking point. Hansle Parchment, the other athlete seeking an exemption, wasn’t able to prove fitness in time and made space for Andrew Riley in the 110-metre hurdles. This was sad, as a fit Parchment might have reasonably considered himself a gold-medal candidate. Were he closer to 100 per cent, he might have benefited from a deadline closer to the start of his event as Thompson appeared to. In a nutshell, the rule allowed Jamaica to send its strongest team to Rio. It isn’t a wide open door to anyone who has an injury at the time of the National Senior Championships. That’s because only those with world top-three performances or rankings in-between 2015 or 2016 could apply. It’s hard to argue with that.last_img read more

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Reds prospect signs new Liverpool contract

first_img1 Liverpool midfielder Kevin Stewart has signed a new contract with the club.The Reds did not reveal the length of the deal when announcing it on Tuesday, but it is reported to take Stewart through to the summer of 2020, with the option of a further year.The 22-year-old has been with Liverpool since leaving Tottenham in 2014, although he only made his first-team debut for the Merseyside outfit in January.That came with a start in the FA Cup, and three other run-outs in that competition – each time as part of the first XI – have followed, as well as one appearance as a substitute in the Barclays Premier League.Stewart, currently nursing an ankle injury, told liverpoolfc.com: “It gives me more confidence, it shows (the club) believe in me and believe that I could go on to become a good player for them.“It has just given me confidence in myself and the security (gives me) time to prove myself and get better with good coaches and good players.”Prior to making his Liverpool bow, London-born Stewart had spent time on loan with Cheltenham, Burton and, earlier this season, Swindon.He never made a first-team appearance for Tottenham, but did play his maiden senior game while on loan from Spurs at Crewe. Kevin Stewart made his first-team debut in January last_img read more

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Booty return may boost the offense

first_imgBy Scott Wolf Staff Writer USC coach Pete Carroll rarely offers forecasts, but he predicted big things for the Trojans’ much-maligned offense, with an expanded playbook accompanying the return of quarterback John David Booty. “I really think it will change this week,” Carroll said. “I think we can make it go.” Carroll said Booty resembled his pre-injury performances. “He looked like John always looks,” Carroll said. Backup Mark Sanchez, said the past three games were “invaluable” and said he enjoyed the Oregon game despite the fact USC lost. “It was the funnest time of my life,” Sanchez said. “It blows my mind how much your outlook changes when you get to play. Next year I won’t be so emotional like I was against Arizona.” Sanchez is resigned to losing the starting job. “I think we can see where it’s heading,” he said. The tailback rotation remains unchanged. Chauncey Washington (South Torrance High) starts with Stafon Johnson and Joe McKnight behind him. Washington averages 4.4 yards per carry but running backs coach Todd McNair said it’s a deceiving statistic. “If you take out short-yard and goal-line runs, it’s about 5.6 yards,” McNair said. “I’m happy with the way he’s running.” Offensive tackle Sam Baker (hamstring) did not practice and probably will not play although no official decision will be made before Thursday. Center Kris O’Dowd practiced but was also used at guard and tackle just in case further injuries occur during the Oregon State game. “I’ll fight back to get whatever (playing time) I can get,” O’Dowd said. Senior Matt Spanos remains the starter. “He’s not going to take Matt’s spot right away,” Carroll said. Linebacker Kaluka Maiava (wrist) will play with a hard cast on his arm. No change Baker doubtful Sudden improvement Oregon State coach Mike Riley said tailback Yvenson Bernard might be available. “We got some good news as far as the MRI. He’s got a sprained shoulder. It’s not dislocated, so it’s really going to be a day-to-day thing,” Riley said. “It’s pretty darn sore, I’ll tell you that. I’m sure he will want to play. Right now, I would say it’s just day-to-day and the news is pretty good from the reports that we got.” scott.wolf@dailynews.com160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREGame Center: Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs, Sunday, 10 a.m.USC scored only 17 points despite being inside Oregon’s 20-yard line five times during Saturday’s loss. Booty showed no effects from his broken finger and took all the snaps with the first team during Tuesday’s practice. He even got hit in the hand by a defensive lineman without further injury. “Someone came in and batted (the ball out),” Booty said. “I was kind of glad I did get hit, to see it was OK.” Booty also took extensive snaps from the shotgun, which USC finally appears ready to implement. He said he never wondered if he would return to the starting lineup. “I don’t think you can play football at this level and think that way,” Booty said. “For me, there was never any doubt in my mind.” last_img read more

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DUCHESS OF CAMBRIDGE: ‘I’D LOVE TO VISIT DONEGAL’

first_imgKATE Middleton has revealed how she’d love to visit Donegal.In an article in the “Peninsula People,” which hit the shops throughout Inishowen on Friday last, Greencastle man Paul Gill revealed how the Duchess of Cambridge informed him she would love to visit the county.Paul, a senior officer with the “Princess” group of cruise ships, was on board the “Royal Princess,” when it was launched by the Duchess. The June event received worldwide media coverage as it was her last public appearance before the birth of her son George Paul reveals: “After all the public festivities surrounding the launch she came to the bridge of ship to meet with the officers. She was really, really lovely. She noticed I was wearing a badge with the Irish Tricolour and my name on it.“She asked me what part I was from. When is told her Donegal, she said ‘I hear it is lovely, I would love to visit there some day.”   DUCHESS OF CAMBRIDGE: ‘I’D LOVE TO VISIT DONEGAL’ was last modified: September 10th, 2013 by John2Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:donegalDUCHESS OF CAMBRIDGE: ‘I’D LOVE TO VISIT DONEGAL’InishowenKate Middletonvisitlast_img read more

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DONEGAL SPORTS STAR AWARDS ARE A SELL-OUT!

first_imgFianna Cllrs Seamus O’Domhnaill, Ciaran Brogan and James Pat McDaid looking forward to Friday night’s Donegal Sports Star Awards function in the Mount Errigal Hotel.The ‘Sold Out’ signs are up at the Mount Errigal Hotel for this Friday night’s Donegal Sports Star Awards. Committee PRO Declan Kerr has just confirmed that the function is now sold out. It means a full house for the 39th annual awards ceremony.“We’re absolutely delighted with the fantastic support that we are receiving from the county’s sporting public. We’re now expecting an attendance of over 550. The ticket office at the hotel is now closed and there isn’t a single seat left for the function” said Chairperson Neil Martin. The ‘sold out’ sign is a clear demonstration of the continuing success of the Donegal Sports Star Awards.The special guest for this Friday night’s gala function is the RTE broadcaster Sean O’Rourke.   DONEGAL SPORTS STAR AWARDS ARE A SELL-OUT! was last modified: January 29th, 2015 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:DONEGAL SPORTS STAR AWARDSsell-outlast_img read more

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Circumcision campaign to boost HIV prevention

first_img2 December 2013South Africa aims to medically circumcise one-million men over the next 12 months, Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe said at the launch of the government’s medical male circumcision campaign on World Aids Day in Piet Retief, Mpumalanga province on Sunday.“Our target is to circumcise one-million men over the next 12 months and cumulatively four-million men by 2016,” Motlanthe said, adding that the launch of the campaign, coupled with the re-launch of the HIV counselling and testing campaign, would strengthen the country’s massive HIV/Aids prevention effort.Motlanthe said medical male circumcision had proven to be an effective component of the government’s HIV prevention package. Once 80 percent of South African men had been medically circumcised, half-a-million new HIV infections and 100 000 deaths over the course of the next decade would be prevented.He added, however, that medical interventions were only part of the country’s efforts to fight HIV/Aids.“We also need to ramp up our efforts to address the social determinants that fuel the HIV and Aids epidemic. These include disempowered women and children, who are often the targets of violence, poverty, the migrant labour system, intergenerational sex, transactional sex and many other structural issues.”The re-launched HIV counselling and testing campaign aims to ensure that every South African gets tested at least once annually in order to know their status and take the appropriate steps to maintain their health.Motlanthe said the starting point for preventing HIV/Aids was to know one’s status. “You may have tested in 2010 or 2011, [but] test again this year, and every year,” he said.More than 20-million South Africans have tested for HIV since President Jacob Zuma first launched the campaign in 2010.“In South Africa, the epidemic has matured and the acceleration of our response since 2009 has moved us beyond the ‘tipping point’, where the number of patients being enrolled onto treatment each year now exceeds the number of those who are newly infected,” Motlanthe said.“However, the number of new infections still remains unacceptably high, hence the importance of maintaining our focus on prevention … Our response will not succeed unless we turn off the tap of new infections.”Source: SAnews.gov.zalast_img read more

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Spredfast: How to Keep Up with the Social Web

first_imgRelated Posts That brings us to the last point – tracking and metrics. As of now, the system has already incorporated Google Analytics and is looking to work with Armature and WebTrends in the near future. But even now, it offers full reports on the effectiveness of your message. Campaigns are judged with three primary measurements – engagement, reach and activity. Put simply, these look at your interaction with your audience, the size of your audience, and how much you are pushing your message out onto the Web. Beyond these basic ranks, however, the system will give you detailed reports showing you how many “likes” you’ve gotten on a specific message on Facebook, or how many times a tweet has been retweeted. But that’s even just the tip of the metrics iceberg, as it keeps stats on each individual tweet, blog post, status update, what have you offering a full variety of data on click-throughs, impressions and whatever you would expect from a traffic analytics service. Tags:#news#web Starting today, the system is available on a monthly basis starting at $50 per month, per campaign, for a single user. The “Enterprise” plan, at $100 per month, per campaign, allows for multiple users. Social Agency plans to announce another plan in February that will allow for unlimited users and campaigns, but the details for that are not yet available. For a program with this many features at launch, we only see it getting better. Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… When we first looked at Spredfast, the social campaign management tool launched today by Austin, Texas-based Social Agency, we thought it looked like a less-flashy version of TweetDeck. Our first question to co-founders Kenneth Cho and Scott McCaskill was actually how the two programs differed and they took it in stride, given how far off the question really was. With big names like IBM, AOL, Cisco, Intel and Porter Novelli using the service, you better bet it does more than manage a handful of social networking accounts and microblogging services.Spredfast wants to be a new player in the field of social campaign management, and it is set to compete with other big names like Objective Marketer and Radian6.The entirely Web-based application is a full set of tools to not only manage and measure the message a company sends out among various social media, but also track the people who send the message. With fully customizable user roles and permissions, Spredfast looks like a great way to target multiple audiences on the Web from multiple directions. We think the key word here is multiple. This is a tool that can make a single person appear, to the average Web user, to be an entire community of people talking about your product.Like single-user tools of this variety, such as TweetDeck or Ping.fm, Spredfast is set up to work with any of the standard social networks. In addition to that, however, it will work with a number of content management systems, from Drupal and WordPress to Movable Type. And with its user-role management, you can not only say who can post to what, but whether or not it can go live or needs to be reviewed by another user before being published. On-site scheduling and voice management allows a single tweet to be sent out and then be retweeted, in slightly altered forms, by any number of other accounts over time, creating the illusion of a discussion. We may never trust what we see people talking about on the web again.In addition to multiple users, roles, networks and blogging platforms, Spredfast is also set to handle multiple campaigns. So, if ReadWriteWeb were to suddenly start using the system, for example, we could track activity for ReadWriteStart and ReadWriteEnterprise separately. center_img Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting mike melanson A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Marketlast_img read more

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