Cleveland (WOIO) - Terry Francona asked an interesting question on Monday, when talking with the media about the PED suspensions in Major League baseball, a question many sports fans have asked over the years: why is it bigger news when it happens in baseball, as opposed to football?
It's a good question, and I have a good answer: because baseball, from the day to day stats, to the records immortalized in history, is all about numbers. Not that stats aren't important in football; any fantasy geek can rattle off digits. But it's not the same.
56? DiMaggio. 714? Babe Ruth. 755? Hank Aaron. 60 in a season? Ruth. 61? Maris. Which caused a stir, of course, and an asterisk, because baseball had gone from 154 games to 162, in '61.
The point is, historically, baseball players are measured, and remembered, by their numbers. Want to pitch your way into the Hall of Fame? You'd better win 300.
Football, we remember the few running backs who've topped 2,000 yards in a season, but can you tell me their exact number? How about Bernie Kosar's career passing yardage?
Football stats are bigger in the short term; baseball stats are forever. And those who've cheated, to surpass those historic numbers, are unforgivable, but at the same time, forgettable, because in the end, their numbers don't matter.
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