The Continuing Non-story of Barry Bonds Still Topping Albert Pujols in the Headlines

You would have thought that the media’s fascination with the Barry Bonds saga would have started to wane after Bonds hit number 715, but that was not the case. I was watching ESPN when I noticed that the little graphic on the sportsticker (the scrolling scores on the bottom of the screen) that had once said “CHASING RUTH” now said “CHASING AARON”. “You’ve got to me kidding me”, that’s what the sportsticker of my mind was scrolling . Are they really going to make a huge deal over every one of the 41 homeruns (if Barry Bonds’ steroid mangled body even has that many in it- frankly, I don’t think that it does) Bonds needs to catch Hank Aaron’s 755. What’s next? “CHASING 800”. The whole thing’s extremely ridiculous and I think that the media is overestimating this country’s attraction to the Barry Bonds story. It’s not history even if, technically, it is. Let me tell you what I mean.

714, 715, 721, 733, 755, 756, and any number in between; these are figures that America doesn’t care about. Bonds fans don’t really embrace these would be historic moments out of shame and even Bonds-haters don’t really give a crap because they’re so sick of the whole thing. Nobody cares because everyone assumes he cheated anyway. Asterisks or not, these records aren’t that big a deal; everybody knows this. But now that the system is supposedly fixed, most fans of Major League Baseball are willing to let Bonds parade out there each day with his wobbly knees, Army grade elbow pad and that stupid reality show; they’re willing to do this because it’s meaningless (and in a sick way, watching Bonds struggle kind of brings some sick satisfaction). All these records are just numbers, meaningless numbers. So why is the Bonds story still topping Albert Pujols on a regular basis? That’s the real question.

Albert Pujols is batting .315 with 25 homeruns and 65 RBI in a little less than 1/3 of a Major League Baseball season; he’s a legitimate triple crown winner (they might as well just give him the MVP Award right now). The last time MLB has seen a triple crown was in 1967, when Carl Yastrzemski hit .326 with 44 homers and 121 RBI (the last National League triple crown winner was Joe Medwick all the way back in 1937) . Albert Pujols needs to work on his average, but his power pace is simply astounded. If you extrapolated his numbers right now for the course of an entire season (and I realize it doesn’t work this way, but it’s fun to think about it), Pujols would wind up with 75 homeruns and 195 RBI; both figures, of course, would be all time records for any league- the standing RBI record is seventy five years old (Hack Wilson had 195 in 1930 season). All told, Albert Pujols could be on the prefaces of one of the greatest seasons in the history of Major League Baseball.

Obviously, that last paragraph was a little bit bloated with statistics and I’m not so naÃ?¯ve to think that Pujols’ hot start could be nothing more than that. Any number of things could happen; an injury, an extended slump, anything could happen. It’s just fun to imagine things in the context of a sport’s history (there is no better sport, as far as all time statistics go, then Major League Baseball). But that’s not really what this article is about. I want to know why the media doesn’t care about Albert Pujols (or at least why they still put a loser like Bonds over him).

I think a big reason for the lack of attention is the fact that Pujols plays in St. Louis. St. Louis isn’t exactly a major market, although it’s a large city with fervent fans. It’s kind of in the middle of nowhere (one could argue that San Francisco is a bit out of the way, but it’s not really the same thing). It does seem sometimes (in the world of sports at least) that if it’s not happening in New York or California, then it’s not happening at all.

I also thought (for a while, at least) that it had something to do with Albert Pujols as a person. I don’t know why, but I always thought that Pujols couldn’t speak English. I realize how ignorant and just plain dumb this makes me look but I’m not trying to impress anyone. He just looked like he couldn’t speak English and because (it seemed) that nobody ever interviewed him, how would one know that he could. Well, for the record, he can speak English (and quite nicely I might add); so that rules that one out.

The bottom line is I just don’t know why his (maybe) epic season is going under the radar. I want to see a Pujols sportsticker icon (“CHASING BONDS” or “CHASING WILSON”). I want to turn on ESPN and I want to see if Albert Pujols hit anymore homers or drove in anymore runs; I want this information immediately and I want it in a special Cardinal red color.
Is that too much to ask?

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