Editorial: Judge, Pujols should be household names

Published 11:43 pm Wednesday, September 21, 2022

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Sometimes, it is difficult to decide what to write in this space. Sometimes, the mind goes blank – or to everything in my life other than writing and editorial or a column. You know the difference: an editorial is commentary on real events; a column is commentary on life. Both are made up.

Just so you know.

Regular readers know that most of the time, my mind goes from here to yonder and back again, kind of like a squirrel on the highway.

The topic of discussion this week started with the last thing I heard on the radio before heading into the office at the absolute last second I had to pen this rambling diatribe. The morning radio bozos I listen to (I’ll not give the station or name of the show, the word bozos should be enough.), were talking about how football crazy Americans have become.

They’re right. And as they pointed out, baseball is going by the wayside.

I like a good football game, especially those college guys, and we’ve had some doozies this year. Being an Appalachian fan is like having a heart test every week.

But baseball has always been my favorite sport as a fan. I love college basketball, especially when the games are close, but I don’t plan my day to watch a game as I do with baseball. The thing is, I’m a one-team baseball fan.

It brings me to the point of what those radio bozos were saying. Baseball and baseball players don’t get the credit they deserve.

Even I don’t like to watch a baseball game on TV that doesn’t involve my team. A close game in any other sport can get my attention. I’m a baseball fan, but only a fan of one team. I really don’t have favorite teams in other sports, including college, although I find it fun to root for a particular team on a certain day.

So what is the problem with baseball? It’s too slow for TV. Exciting and fun in person, but too slow for TV. And although Major League Baseball is taking steps to speed up the game and make it more TV exciting, it won’t work. An inning will still be able to last an hour (For those who don’t know, a baseball game includes 9 innings, pack a pillow.)

Baseball should be the top news in sports publications and on sports TV right now, but it isn’t. Pennant and playoff races are in full swing. The New York Yankees’ (Wait a few seconds while I get a bad taste out of my mouth.) Aaron Judge is on the verge of breaking one of the greatest records of all time – Roger Maris’ 61 home runs in a single season (Without performance enhancing substances, as far as we know.). That’s pretty big, but I’ll bet there’s not many people who aren’t baseball fans who even know who Aaron Judge is, much less what he’s about to accomplish.

The name LeBron James, on the other hand, is recognized everywhere. I read earlier this year that LeBron James has more Twitter followers than all Major League Baseball players combined. That says it all.

Albert Pujols, who most thought would have retired years ago, is on a tear. He’s hot. Most of you probably didn’t know, but he’s a baseball player – way beyond his prime but still hitting homeruns – and is nearing 700 of them for his career – most of which was for the St. Louis Cardinals. That’s a lot of homeruns.

Remember Babe Ruth (Of course you don’t, but you do know who he is and what he did.) hit 714 homeruns. That’s a feat that will never be repeated. It’s the greatest baseball statistic of all time, because Babe Ruth hit his homeruns while getting his fill of beer, hotdogs and cigars. Now that’s an accomplishment. Maybe they should put an asterik beside his name in the Hall of Fame to let the world know. Imagine what he would have accomplished if he had the luxuries today’s players enjoy. My guess is he would have failed. He did what made him happy, what’s wrong with that?

Is it the media’s fault that baseball and baseball players don’t get the credit they deserve? Maybe it is, or maybe it isn’t. (You fans of all 3 million sports that also don’t get the credit they deserve please stay quiet, I’m only writing about these 3.).

But I do know that on Saturday, I’ll be looking for the best college football games on TV.

– Mike Barnhardt

P.S. This is a column. Or at least I think it is.