Monday, September 08, 2008

Now that's a GRAND slam!

Congratulations to Gary Sheffield of the Detroit Tigers, who tonight hit the 250,000th home run in Major League Baseball history — a base-loaded shot off Gio Gonzalez of the Oakland Athletics.

How fitting, that the quarter-millionth homer should be a grand slam. And how equally fitting that it was struck by Sheffield, a player with more than a soupçon of flair for the dramatic. (Not always in a good way.)

Considering how long baseball has been the national pastime, it seems odd to me that it's taken until almost the end of the 2008 season to reach this milestone. Then again, baseball's current love affair with the long ball is still only a few decades old. When I was watching the game as a kid, a guy who hit 20 home runs a year was viewed as a power hitter. That same slugger would be a lightweight today, in an era when 40- and 50-homer seasons are not unusual.

Wonder whether the game will survive to reach the half-million mark.

I'm pretty sure that I won't.

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